Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Stockholm -- LGBT organizations, individuals and supporters in a number of countries -- from Canada to Estonia, Finland to Romania, USA to Norway, Sweden to Spain -- will celerate the 1st INTERNATIONAL DAY OF RAINBOW CULTURE - August 9, 2018 -- a day launched by the ILGCN (international rainbow culture network), Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) and Bears International.

Some are expecetd to honor the event with a simple "skål" (a Swedish "bottoms-up" toast) with a glass of wine on or around the day -- while others will arrange programs of poetry, music, song, art, photography and films.

The date of August 9 has been chosen as it is the birthday of Finnish-Swedish author/painter Tove Jansson of "Moomintroll" fame -- a mega figure in the Nordic region and even beyond. She was a highly respected cultural personality who "came out" late in life (Finland has traditionally been a rather macho, difficult place for LGBT people) but who gladly received a Tupilak award diploma, became a member of Tupilak, and was publically proud of her 40-year partnership with artist/ teacher/author Tuuliki Pietiläa (a relationship often "overlooked" in many books and plays and films about Tove and her work, even today!)

"The aim is to salute rainbow cultural workers of the past -- from Sappho to Pyotr Ilyich, to Oscar to Hans Christian, to Tove to Magnus, to Christopher to Tom of Finland -- and salute those of the present day -- those creating rainbow culture reflecting the lives and identity of lesbians, gays, trans, bi, interex, Bears, the differently-abled, the HIV positives/negatives, the young and the elderly and friends," says Bill Schiller of the ILGCN, Tupilak and Bears International.
Helsinki, Tallinn, Södertälje, Stockholm, Gothenburg

In the Nordic zone, we plan to celebrate August 9 in the Finnish capital -- since Tove and Tuuliki were Finnish -- with discussions, Tove's literary quotations, films, art and music, then move over the Baltic waters to the Estonian capital of Tallinn on the 10th, to Södertälje, Sweden on the 11th, Stockholm on the 12th and to Gothenburg on the 14th (helping inaugurate the EuroPride 2018 stage in this Swedish west coast city).

"Please let us know if YOU or YOUR ORGANIZATION plan any kind of "birthday celebration" on or around August 9," Schiller adds. "Photos and reports of your events are very welcome for ILGCN's web publication, 'Erato.' Beautiful quotations and poetry from Tove Jansson, films, art and photos are available on the internet!"

www.ilgcn.tupilak.org www.tupilak.org Facebook: "ILGCN" "Tupilak" "Bill Schiller"

Photos: Tove Jansson. Tove and Tuulikki on their island home, "Moomin"

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The ILGCN declares August 9 as the 


The day honors those courageous LGBT culture workers combating homophobia and intolerance over the ages, every day today and in the future.

It also marks the 1914 birthday of Swedish-Finnish writer/artist Tove Jansson -- creator of Mumintroll and his colleagues -- and honors her 40-year long relationship with her woman, art/historian Tuulikki Pietiläa. Tove was a proud member and award winner of Tupilak - Nordic rainbow culture workers.

The idea has been inspired by the Romanian Culture Institute in Stockholm celebrating Romanian Culture Day!

Tove Jansson

Friday, December 29, 2017


    Stockholm -- At this the year's last Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) and ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) Information Secretariat - Stockholm in the Swedish capital on December 16, a number of Bear award diplomas were handed out and announced.

        The ILGCN Rainbow Warrior 2017 was shared by Finnish dancers and choreographers of the prize-winning ERI dance theater of the city of Turku/Åbo  and the Helsinki Gay Theater -- strongly supported by Finnish Bears -- and celebrating its 10th anniversary. At the Stockholm event,  Joachim of the Nordic Bears-Sweden described the prize award ceremony which took place recently for the theater crew at the Bear Park Café in the Finnish capital.

    The ILGCN's "Arco Nordica 2017" for outstanding work in the Nordic zone is shared by the Icelandic Bears"Bears on Ice" -- an internatonal social and cultural event every September started in 2005 -- and Iceland's national LGBT organization Samtökin ´78.

                                                              BEARS INTERNATIONAL AWARDS IN 2018

    Meanwhile, Bears International's Stockholm office is eager to receive nominations for the annual Bears International culture diplomas for 2018. The plan is to announce the winners and hand over diplomas at the Bearty-Tallinn event in the Estonian capital in April.   Like Tupilak and ILGCN awards, Bears International awards do not contain any financial contribution but are given with golden appreciation for work well done
Photos:   Bears on Ice, Helsinki Gay Theater


    Stockholm -- At this the year's last Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) and ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) Information Secretariat - Stockholm in the Swedish capital on December 16, a number of award diplomas were handed out and announced.

    The ILGCN "Orfeo Musica -- Vadim Kozin"** award was presented to gay, veteran Swedish singer and songwriter, Jan Hammarlund, for outstanding contributions to LGBT music. Hammarlund,  who thanked the organizers for the diploma, had several years earlier received Tupilak's "Thor's Hammar" award diploma.  The 2017 music award is shared with Swedish lesbian singer and song writer, Christina Kjellsson of the west coast city of Gothenburg.

    Other awards announced during the event included the ILGCN Rainbow Warrior 2017 going to Finnish dancers and choreographers Tiina LindforsEeva Soini and Lassi Sairela of the prize-winning ERI dance theater of the city of Turku/Åbo for years-long work often including LGBT elements in their dance and theater performances.  The 2017 award is shared with the for the Nordic zone unique Helsinki Gay Theater celebrating its 10th anniversary. At the Stockholm event,  Joachimof the Nordic Bears-Sweden described the prize award ceremony which took place recently for the theater crew at the Bear Park Café in the Finnish capital.

    The ILGCN's "Arco Nordica 2017" for outstanding work in the Nordic zone is shared by the Icelandic Bears, "Bears on Ice" and the national LGBT organizationSamtökin ´78 of Iceland.
                                                                                Salute to Swedish Singer/Actor Rikkard Wolff

   The evening included a moment of silence for the last Swedish gay singer/actor Rikard Wolff with the playing of one of his songs. Wolff, who died after a years-long lung disease, earlier received Tupilak's "Thors Hammar" award.

       The photo exibition displayed that evening honored some of the performances and Pride events by Swedish singer and song writer, Peter Fröberg, celebrating his 50th birthday year, including Pride events in a number of Swedish cities, in Minsk, Warsaw, Berlin, Oslo, Copenhagen and elsewhere  -- as well as the historic LGBT visit to Auschwitz with the presentation of the ILGCN  "Orfeos Iris" 2000 award for information about LGBT people in Nazi and other concentration camps.


** The award is named after the ancient Greek singer/musician who charmed the demons of the underworld and after returning to the Earth, turning his love to men, and the once-famous Russian singer Vadim Kozin - "the Soviet Tango King" who came out as gay after the revolution but who was banished from public life by Stalin and exiled permanently to Siberia.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Press Release November 4, 2017 

2nd NORDIC RAINBOW HISTORY MONTH  ENDS in October 2017             
  Stockholm -- The 2nd Nordic Rainbow History & Art Month -- October, 2017 has come to an end with successful events in Umeå, Tallinn, Rakvere, Stockholm, Södertälje, Gothenburg, Riga, Vilnius, Reykjavik, Turku/Åbo and Helsinki including discussions, seminars, presentations, poetry readings, film screenings, art and photography exhibitions,  theater/dance performances, drama monologues, song and music concerts and award ceremonies.

   "We were especially proud to end our LGBT history month in Finland --  in Turku/Åbo with prize-winning Finnish dancers/choreographers Tiina Lindfors, Eeva Soine and Lassi Sairela of the prize-winning Eri dance theater company and in Helsinki at the prize-winning Bear Park Café  -- as  this Nordic nation celebrates its 100th anniversary of independence," says Bill Schiller of the ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) and Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers.)   "No nation's history is complete without LGBT history and the enormous contribution of LGBT people to a nation's culture and history!"  Eri also presented an evening performance at their theater saluting Finland´s 100 year anniversary with powerful LGBT elements. 

    "We were very pleased to have had Prof. Sue Sanders of the LGBT History Month-UK join us at the Stockholm and Södertälje stages of the Nordic Month and Tony Fenwick, CEO of Schools-Out-UK join us in Riga and Vilnius, as well as Oslo activist Rolf Solheim who made presentations about Norwegian LGBT history in Turku/Åbo and Helsinki," Schiller ads. 

        Unable to join the Vilnius stage of the Month because of the lack of funds, LGBT journalists and Lokys Bears of Belarus sent the participants a strong plea for co-operation and underlining the worsening situation for LGBT people in this the last dictatorship of Eastern Europe.

                                                   TUPILAK AND ILGCN AWARDS TO LGBT'S IN DENMARK, SWEDEN, FINLAND, ESTONIA
       Speaking at the Stockholm session about her books such as "Homonationalism," Swedish journalist/author Anna-Maria Sörberg also received the 2017 Tupilak "Sowelu" award (for outstanding LGBT cultural contributions from women).  Tupilak's  2017 "Thor's Hammer" award diplomas (for outstanding LGBT cultural contributions from men) handed out during the month went to Keio Soomelt -- organizer of the 1st LGBT Film Festival in Rakvere, Estonia -- and to Mikko Misha Autio of the Bear Park Café and the Helsinki Gay Theater.   The editor of the research blog "Femine Moments," Birthe Havmöller of Denmark, finally received her ILGCN's 2015 "Orfeo Imago" award diploma (for outstanding contributions to LGBT art and photography) in person at the Stockholm event where she also made a presentation of her international collection of art and photos of lesbian and bi-sexual woman all over the world -- a well-illustrated presentation which she also made at the Södertälje Art Gallery. 

     The events in Stockholm event  included song and music performances from the Swedish duo, "Weed," performing also in Södertälja at the city's Art Gallery along with veteran Swedish singer/song writer, Jan Hammarlund, asylum-seeking members of the Russian "Pussy Riot" group, Sweden's Zafire Vrba describing verbal retaliation to anti-trans insults and Sweden's Anders Ödvall, singing Brazilian songs and describing the life and songs of the late, gay Brazilian singer, Renato Russo.

                                                                    MORE NORDIC CITIES NEXT YEAR...?

   "The Nordic Month organizers really appreciate the solidarity of local, regional and national organizations supporting the event as well as many rainbow culture workers and activists. We also sincerely hope that those Nordic cities which could not be with us this year will join us in 2018 -- to help us confirm that Nordic LGBT solidarity is strong and that LGBT history and culture are an essential part of our battle for human rights and visibility -- and that although the Nordic nations and semi-independent  territories may be small, together we are a real power house!" 

     "We are also pleased that we could confirm Tupilak's founding decision 25 years ago to include the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as solid members of the Nordic family -- and that we could include all three in this year's Nordic Month.  We also want Nordic co-operation to include all of us on the rainbow barricades -- not only lesbians and gays but also trans, bi-sexuals, Bears, immigrants/refugees, the differently-abled, HIV positives and negatives, young and elderly and all others, " says Schiller.


    After discussions with British, Hungarian and Nordic organizers of the Nordic Rainbow History Month -- and with colleagues in neighboring Belarus sharing a border with Latvia and Lithuania --  we hope to work together with future LGBT History Months in  these nations to help combat invisibility and intolerance in all our countries, to promote mutual exchange, cultural input, promotion and historic relevance -- and to support  the LGBT battle for human rights, solidarity and rainbow visibility in East and West," Schiller concludes.

Bill Schiller,  Tupilak/ILGCN
1. Statement from Belarus:

 Dear Bill! dear colleagues!

Thank you very much for this wonderful and highly needed idea of starting the international LGBT history cooperation network!
On behalf of our Belarusian LGBT Journalists' Community at 'Journalists for Tolerance' human rights group, I would like to express full support to the idea!
Looking forward to closer cooperation with all of you, dear friends!

With warm regards,

Andrus K.,
Belarusian LGBT Journalists' Community, 'J4T'

2. "THANKS" to participants, supporters: 

The 2nd Nordic Rainbow Month thanks special participants and supporters:

Kjell Rindar, Swedish teacher/former RFSL; Swedish film maker Cecilia Neant-Falk;  RFSL Newcomers - Stockholm; Rakvere Heartfest Film Festival;  Estonian culture activist Keio Soomelt; Estonian film co-ordinator Tiina Teras; Alvar Ameljushenko of Bearty-Tallinn; Estonian singer Erkki Otsman, Eastonian Gay League; Turku-based Finnish dancers/choreographers Tiina Lindfors, Eeva Soini and Lassi Sairela; PositHIVa gruppen-Stockholm; Nordic Association-Stockholm; Umeå Pride; Helsinki's Bear Park Cafe's Mikko Misha Autio; Norwegian activist Rolf Solheim; Sue Sanders - LGBT History Month-UK; Tony Fenwick - Schools-Out, UK; Budapest resident Rian Chen; Belarus activist Sidnimax; Belarus journalist Andrus K.; Anna Giertz of Lesbian Front - Sweden; Swedish painter and trans activist Andrea Sjöfelt; Frosti Jonsson of Bears-on-Ice - - Reykjavik;  Daníel Arnarsson of Samtökin ´78 - Iceland; Danish photographer Birthe Havmöller; Top Club - Riga and manager Eduard Niki; Swedish music duo "Weed;"  Swedish singer/song-writer Jan Hammarlund;  Swedish journalist Anna-Maria Sörberg; Sweden's Anders Ödvall; Södertälje Art Gallery and producer Sarah Florén; Södertälje Kommun; Swedish artist/performer Zafire Vrba; Swedish poet Tomas Åberg; Swedish photographer/film maker Willi Reichhold; Swedish singer/activist Peter Fröberg, Norwegian Embassy - Helsinki; "Unchechen" by film maker Stephen Hornby, UK; Swedish film maker Alexi Carpentieri and Valand Academy Cinema - Gothenburg; Swedish author/historian Arne Nilsson, Sidetrack Pub - Stockholm;  Secret Garden Pub - Stockholm; Swedish drama performer Carl Olof Berg; works of Polish LGBT art curator Pawel Leszkowicz; Lithuanian Gay League and volunteer photographer/activist Giordano Campanelli of Italy; Augustinas and his Paviljon Café, Vilnius. 
Add Mikko Misha Autio receives the Tupilak Thor's Hammar award diploma at the Bear Park Café in Helsinki. Also standing, Bill Schiller of Tupilak/ILGCN. Sitting: Rolf Solheim of Norway.

Keio Soomelt receives Tupilak's Thor's Hammar award diploma at Festheart Film Festival in Rakvere, Estonia


Stockholm -- The ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) will mark November 9, 2017 as "Kristallnacht" -- the international day against fascism and intolerance at the Old Town pub Secret Garden (Kornhamnstorg 59).

Report on the 11-city 2nd Nordic Rainbow History & Art Month - October, 2017 -- Bill Schiller, ILGCN Information Secretariat-Stockholm

"Kristallnacht" poem written by Tomas Åberg

Film: "LGBT Monuments" -- Willi Reichhold

ILGCN's  "Roger Casement's Black Diaries" award diploma for journalism to Ulf AnderssonAmnesty Press

Monologues:  "The Grey Ghosts of Tefía"    "The Angels of Zemaitijos"   

Photo: At the last stage of the Nordic Month, Finland's Mikko Misha Autio holding his "Thor's Hammer" (for men's cultural work) award diploma fromTupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) at his Bear Park Café  in Helsinki. Also standing: Bill Schiller - ILGCN-Stockholm. Sitting: Rolf Solheim from Norway, 

Monday, September 11, 2017


   Stockholm -- An international gathering of Bears and Bear organizations saluted Bear culture in the Swedish capital on a two-day Bear International event September 6-7, 2017 with presentations, art work and films.

    One of the aims of the event was to illustrate some of the works of Bear International Art Diploma winners 2016 and 2017  -- this time including Charlie Hunter and Mike Wyeld of Canada/UK and Luis Loras of Spain -- whose works were highly appreciated by the audiences.

   One presentation in person came from John Earhart, chairman of Norway Bears (Den Norske Bamseklubben) focusing on exchanges  between the Norwegians and Bear organizations in Russia, Ukraine and Estonia.  He also commented on  and past and future Norwegian visits to Moscow and St. Petersburg as welcome by the Russians struggling with Putin's ban on "homosexual propaganda." 

      Andrus  K. of the new Belarus Bear group, Lokys, -- in Stockholm for a international journalist conference -- expressed a strong desire for increased LGBT contacts with Nordic Bear organizations and with other colleagues in this the last dictatorship in Eastern Europe.  He also described intensive efforts to educate Belarus journalists working in a very homophobic media to understand the importance of LGBT rights and culture.

                                                       New Nordic Bear Website Spreading Information Thoughout the Nordic zone and beyond

     Joakim J. of the Nordic Bears described their creation of a new Nordic Bear website to provide current information on Bear organizations and events in the Nordic area, eventually to include activities of colleagues in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
     Bill Schiller of Bears International explained the organizations aims to promote Bear culture and international solidarity.  The network is open not only to men but also to women, trans, bi-sexuals, immigrants, refugees, HIV positives, differently-abled and queer-minded.  "We want to break the stereotype concept -- that Bears are only interested in beers, parties and sex hidden away in underground pubs -- but to confirm that Bears are also producers of high-quality art, music and films -- and proudly take their place on the rainbow barricades such as at local Prides, Baltic Prides and other LGBT events --  especially important in Eastern Europe where political and religious leaders and a homophobic media insist that gays are only "half men" -- undeserving of human rights or protection from discrimination and violence," Schiller adds.

                                                  Bear culture Events Inspired by Colleagues in Tallinn

    "The promotion of Bear Culture was inspired by the Bearty-Tallinn Bear organization in the Estonian capital," Schiller says, noting that the Estonians sent greetings to Stockholm but were unable to participate in person as they were attending an international Bear festival in Sitges, Spain. At their annual event in Tallinn, the Estonians focused one year on Bear art and photography, the next year on music and song and in 2018 the focus will be on Bear films.

     A message from the Ukranian Bears mentioned that only a few Bears participated in Kiev Pride this year, but that the chief Pride organizer is urging the Bears to increase their  number next year and to march under the Bear flag. The Ukrainian Bears are calling on Bear colleagues in the Nordic region to join them at the event in Kiev next June.

  The two-day Bear cultural event was organized with the ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) Information Secretariat-Stockholm with the support of Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) and Nordic Bears-Stockholm. It took place at three Stockholm venues -- the PositivHIVa group local (for men having sex with men), the SLM locale and the gay-friendly Stockholm pub, Secret Garden located on the Old Town city island.

More information:  bill@tupilak.org