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 domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. On October 1, 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.