Axel and Eigil Axgil

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Axel Axgil
Axel and Eigil Axgil.jpg
Eigil and Axel Axgil in 1950
Axel Lundahl-Madsen

3 April 1915
Died29 October 2011(2011-10-29) (aged 96)
Eigil Axgil
Eigil Eskildsen

24 April 1922
Died22 September 1995(1995-09-22) (aged 73) September 22, 1995

Axel Axgil (3 April 1915 – 29 October 2011) and Eigil Axgil (24 April 1922 – 22 September 1995) were Danish gay activists and a longtime couple. They were the first gay couple to enter into a registered partnership anywhere in the world following Denmark's legalisation of same-sex partnership registration in 1989, a landmark legislation which they were instrumental in bringing about. They adopted the shared surname, Axgil, a combination of their given names, as an expression of their commitment.


Axel, born Axel Lundahl-Madsen, and Eigil, born Eigil Eskildsen, inspired by the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, together with several friends, founded F-48 or Forbundet af 1948 (The Association of 1948), Denmark's first gay rights organization. By 1951, F-48's membership had grown to 1,339 and there were branches in Sweden and Norway. In 1985, F-48 became the Danish National Association of Gays and Lesbians (Landsforeningen for Bøsser og Lesbiske, Forbundet af 1948 or LBL). The couple launched a magazine, Vennen (The Friend).

In 1989, Denmark became the first nation in the world to recognize registered partnerships for same-sex couples, nearly equal to (opposite-sex) marriage. On 1 October 1989, the Axgils and 10 other Danish couples were married by Tom Ahlberg, the deputy mayor of Copenhagen, in the city hall, accompanied by worldwide media attention. The Axgils had been a couple for 40 years. In 2013, Axel Axgil was named by Equality Forum as one of their 31 Icons of the LGBT History Month.[1] LGBT Denmark's annual awards show, Danish Rainbow Awards – AXGIL, is named in the couple's honour.

In 2012, it was revealed that during the German occupation of Denmark during World War II, Eigil Axgil enlisted in the Waffen-SS in 1943 and served there until the end of the war.[2] Eigil Axgil was subsequently prosecuted for his membership of Waffen-SS but managed to keep it a secret until Axel Axgil reluctantly confirmed it in a 2012 biography. The revelation sparked controversy because of the Axgils' notability in the Danish LGBT community and calls were made for LGBT Denmark to strike "Axgil" from the name of the Danish Rainbow Awards – AXGIL.[3]


Eigil Axgil died on 22 September 1995 at the age of 73.[citation needed]

Axel Axgil died on 29 October 2011 at the age of 96.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "LGBT History Month 2013 Icons Announced – Equality Forum". Archived from the original on 13 January 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Homo-ikon bar på en pinlig hemmelighed" (in Danish). Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Dansk homokämpe var med i Waffen-SS under kriget" (in Swedish). Retrieved 11 November 2019.

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