Gay Pioneer Dead at 96


The last half of the world’s first registered gay couple, Axel Axgil, died Saturday morning at age 96.

Axel was born Axel Lundahl-Madsen, but he and his partner Eigil Eskildsen adopted the shared surname Axgil. They chose this combination of their given names as an expression of their commitment after they met in the 1940s.

They were the first gay couple to enter into a registered partnership anywhere in the world following Denmark’s legalization of same-sex partnership registration in 1989, a landmark legislation which they were instrumental in bringing about. Denmark is expected to move to marriage equality next year.

Inspired by the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, together with several friends, they 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. The couple launched a magazine, Vennen (The Friend).

In 1985, F-48 became the Danish National Association of Gays and Lesbians (Landsforeningen for BÝsser og Lesbiske, Forbundet af 1948 or LBL).

Axel’s sexuality gave him problems in the home town of Aalborg, where he was expelled from membership of the Justice Foundation, lost his job and was banished from the boarding house where he lived and ate, says journalist Bjarne Henry Lundis who has written a book about Axgil.

Said vicar Ivan Larsen, who married the couple:

“Police then would hunt for gay men and also they hit the couple, they both saw their businesses destroyed.”

“Later they started boarding at the Hotel Axelhuus at Ringsted, Copenhagen – refuge for many gay people especially from Germany, Sweden and Norway.”

On October 1, 1989, the Axgils and 10 other Danish gay couples were married by Tom Ahlberg, the deputy mayor of Copenhagen, in the city hall, accompanied by worldwide media attention and cheering crowds.

Eigil Axgil died in 1995, while Axel Axgil continued his active work for gay people into the 2000s.


Related articles:

More Progress on Gay Marriage in Brazil and…Poland?

Denmark Next for Gay Marriage?

Which States Allow Gay Marriage?

Picture of Axel and Eigil in 1940s Wikipedia


Cathy Noftz
Cathy Noftz6 years ago

~There is always someone that needs to pave the way, for others~These men paved the way did just that!~

Naomi M.
Naomi Miskimins6 years ago

I honestly never knew about these people. Thanks for sharing.

Marguerite White
Marguerite White6 years ago

Though i cannot understand how same sex couples can feel the same as a man and woman and I find it uncomfortable,but if same sex is happy then let it be,but I know that because its so legal now,one time I went with a gay male friend and some other friends in 2001 out of an evening we was going to go to a nightclub in London,when we got in there it was a mixed gay club which I didnt know before we went in,but I though oh what the hell,there were young men rubbing each other openly and going up and down each others bodies on dance floor it was like live sex,though they were fully clothed we was sitting down and near us a black man and a white man was kissing which it didnt bother me,but the black man openly said with a smirk so you virgins I thought what the hell you going on about he was laughing and he says you should try it you straights with a visciousness,what I dont like is why do gays think they can take the piss because some of us are straight but we have to accept them,though I wouldnt want to be that way have no desire too,but have never taunted or been nasty to any just talked normally,as for that black and white men I said because i hate being taken the piss out of for nothing so bloody what you seem a nasty piece of shit they just walked away flicking there hands like some do and laughing,I just had to comment on this because gays should have respect for straight people like we have for them like dont be racist to another race but they seem to think they can to us

Hayley Zacheis
Hayley Zacheis6 years ago

If there was a heaven, these men would be some of the few occupants.

Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine6 years ago


Kath R.
Kath P6 years ago

First I've heard of this person. Thanks for the article.

rene davis
irene davis6 years ago


George Roberts
George Roberts6 years ago

I am 53 yrs old in 11 days, I am happy that these Men blazed the trail for me, and generations to follow. Rest in Peace-RIP, and as some ppl might think these men would go to Hell, Sorry ppl, Heaven bound they are :)

Madeline B.
Madeline B6 years ago

Thank you to both of them for helping the justice system. May this be a start of more things to come for the gays and lesbians.