Swedish couple struggle to find home after receiving homophobic abuse on online renting sites

'I thought somebody would mention ‘the gay stuff’ but I didn’t think we would get those kinds of comments'

A Swedish couple have revealed their struggle to find a rental property together after receiving homophobic abuse on online housing sites.

A 21-year-old nursing student, known only as Denise, posted an advert on various Facebook housing groups looking for an apartment to rent with her 23-year-old girlfriend Elin.

Their advert, however, was met with homophobic comments, with many remarking on Elin’s appearance.

“The worst comments were that they thought Elin wanted to look like a guy,” Denise told The Local.

“We got a lot of other comments like 'she looked like she was eight years old’ and that I would be better off with a man.”

 

"We got a lot of other comments like 'she looked like she was eight years old' and that I would be better off with a man," the Swedish student told The Local.

Posted by The Local Sweden on Thursday, 3 March 2016

Denise said she was “surprised” by the messages, which were sent in both public comments and private messages to the pair, due to Sweden’s reputation as one of the world’s most gender equal countries.  

“I thought somebody would mention ‘the gay stuff’ but I didn’t think we would get those kinds of comments. I was surprised that people could sit behind their laptops and say such bad stuff to people.”

Denise told the Local they did manage secure a lead on one apartment prior to speaking out about the homophobia they received, and other people have been in touch since.

In May, campaign group ILGA-Europe ranked Sweden number one in Scandinavia and fourth in Europe in a review of how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) experience human rights across the continent.

Sweden scored 72 per cent on the group’s annual Rainbow Map, which is based on issues such as marriage equality, employment, adoption and medical treatment.

Last year Sweden introduced the gender-neutral pronoun “hen” to its dictionary, which can be used where gender is unknown. In the same year the country distributed a copy of the feminist manifesto We Should All Be Feminists to every 16-year-old in the country.

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