- Human rights advocacy organisation
- Founded in 1974
- 24 member organisations
- Activities all over the country
- The activities also include social work and youth work
- Runs the Transgender Support Center
- Works in partnership with other non-governmental organizations and authorities in Finland and internationally
- A member of the following organizations: ILGA-Europe, Transgender Europe, IGLYO, SOSTE Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health, Finnish Youth Cooperation – Allianssi, Family Federation of Finland
- The office is located in Pasila in Helsinki
- Employs currently 10 people
- The main funders are Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY) and the Ministry of Education and Culture
Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland is a national human rights NGO. Seta aims for a society of equality and individual welfare that includes everyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Seta has 24 member organisations around the country, ranging from local branches to national thematic organizations such as the Rainbow Families and elderly LGBTI people’s organisations. The Transgender Support Center is a special unit providing free support and advice related to gender identity and expression.
Seta and its member organizations gather and share information on sexual orientation and gender identity to help and support people and to influence the society. Seta wants to eradicate prejudice and discrimination against LGBTI people in Finnish legislation as well as in all fields and structures of society.
Seta’s and its member organisations’ activities are run by a large number of volunteers and a number of employed staff. In Seta’s office at Pasila, Helsinki, several gatherings, trainings and peer group meetings are organized almost on a weekly basis. At the office we have a small library and a dressing room that is mainly used by transvestites.
Most of Seta’s funding in the national level comes from Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY) and the Ministry of Education and Culture. Member organisations receive grants from local municipalities and foundations and they collect membership fees. Member organisations can apply for small grants from Seta annually.
Seta’s work is based on solidarity, equality and accessibility. LGBTI people speak different languages, come from all ethnic, cultural, political and religious groups and have various physical abilities and impairments. Our goal is to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to take part in all activities. Seta also strengthens people’s skills and knowledge so that they are more able to promote equality in their own environment and also through Seta.
Seta’s highest decision-making body is the annual Representatives’ assembly (edustajakokous). In the assembly representatives of Seta’s member organizations adopt an action plan and budget for the upcoming year and elect a chairperson, vice-chairpersons and board members. Council meeting (valtuusto) in Spring is the second annual meeting where Seta’s annual report and financial accounts are approved.
Seta has a chairperson, two vice-chairpersons, five board members and two substitute board members. Seta’s chairperson 2015 – 2016 is Panu Mäenpää. Members of the board participate in Seta’s advocacy and act as representatives of the organization in numerous bodies and conferences. Board members also participate in Seta’s internal working groups. The board has a meeting almost every month.
Seta has committees that support the work of the board and the staff. The committees vary year to year. In 2015, Seta has committees for transgender issues, educational affairs, and international affairs, and a Youth Committee. Some of the committees are open for anyone to apply.
Seta has 24 member organisations throughout the country. Some of the organisations operate nationwide and some on a local or regional level. Seta’s member organisations had in 2013 altogether about 4,000 members. The national Seta has currently 20 supporting members that are mainly student unions and political youth organizations.
Seta makes extensive advocacy work. We advocate towards ministries, political parties, local governments and educational institutions along with our Finnish and international partners to promote the basic and human rights and welfare of LGBTI people. Seta’s political advocacy is conducted by the board, secretary general and volunteers in our committees and working groups.
Seta has wide-ranging cooperation with human rights organisations, youth and student organisations as well as social and health care actors. The aim of the cooperation is to strengthen human rights and Finnish civil society.
Seta’s Transgender Support Center offers its services to all trans and intersex persons, to those pondering their gender and to their close ones. Support is offered through counseling and therapy by the staff, peer group activities and other events organised by volunteers. Transgender Support Center provides information on gender diversity to different target groups. The services are free of charge, except for professional trainings and camps.
A significant part of Seta’s activities are professional trainings. The national Seta trains about 4,000 people each year. Seta also trains volunteers to visit schools and youth camps.
In addition Seta has special projects for a few years at a time. At the moment we are developing LGBTI senior welfare in a three-year Equal Aging project. Seta and four national student organizations are campaigning for bringing norm-critical thinking into school environment, practices and pedagogy in the Normit nurin campaign.
Seta publishes annually a positive award, the ”Apple of Good Information”. It’s given to someone who has promoted the human rights of LGBTI people. Seta also nominates “The Rat of Honor”, a title given to a person or organisation that has expressed discriminatory opinions about LGBTI people, has discriminated against them or has in some other way given LGBTI people a hard time.
By following Seta’s website, Facebook pages Seta (common information), Setan nuoret (Seta’s youth) and Transtukipiste (Transgender Support Center), Twitter (@seta_ry), Instagram (@seta_ry) and our newsletter you’ll stay in touch about what is going on. Our social media activities are run mainly in Finnish. Seta has also several publications and video materials that have to some extent been translated into other languages.
A lot of activities are organized by Seta’s member organizations. Pride events gather tens of thousands of people each year. The biggest LGBTI event in Finland is the annual Helsinki Pride. Member organizations also organise among others Vinokino Film Festival, camps and parties and offer advice to LGBTI. A significant part of the member organisations’ activities is the peer groups. Seta supports member organisations by training and coaching as well as through providing financial and fundraising support.
Seta aims for a society where everyone can live in dignity on equal basis regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We want to change legislation and make sure that human rights-based laws really have an effect on everyday life.
Our viewpoint is based on human rights and self-determination. Key issues for us in the following years are self-determination regarding gender, equal marital and family law and the wellbeing of LGBTI children and youth and elderly people. Seta’s Political Strategy 2014-2017 opens up the key issues in more depth (in Finnish).