Sunday, May 1, 2016

Greetings from the ILGCN (rainbow culture international) and Bears International on May 1, 2016!

It was great meeting some of you at the smashing Nordic Bear session arranged by Bearty-Tallinn in the Estonian capital April 15-16, 2016!

Thanks for the fine support and interest in the Bears International! We are still looking for more contact persons and "international secretaries" to answer eventual questions from those in your region. Interested..?

Below, the preliminary 2016 Bear International calendar:

If you can't join us in person, send us a few lines and we will be happy to read them out at our events!

Hugs, Bill Schiller, IB international secretary

Stockholm - May 18th
Post-IDAHO (May 17th, international day against homophobia) Day event arranged together with the ILGCN Information Secretariat.

Palanga - June 10-12
IB presentation at the ILGCN World Rainbow Culture Conference 2016 in this Lithuanian port town.

Vilnius - June 13-18
IB participation in Baltic Pride

Kiev - July 9-10
1st Year Anniversary Celebrations for Ukrainian Bears

Warsaw - July 21-23
Tolerance School with LGBT Belarus journalists

Stockholm - July 25-30
IB presentation at Stockholm Pride

St. Petersburg/Moscow - August 19-21
International Queer Theater Festival

Stockholm - September
Polish Bear Night, Estonian Bear Night (2017: Ukrainian Bear Night, Russian Bear Night)

Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg - October 1st
Nordic Rainbow Art & History Month

Visby - November 10-12
IB at memorial ceremony at the only LGBT Monument in the Nordic zone.

Maspalomas - March, 2017
BI culture program at the International Bear Carnival - Spain

Bears International, supporting Bear culture and international solidarity. Open to Ursula and other women Bears, trans Bears and Bi-sexual Bears, assisting LGBT refugees. No membership fee. Based at the ILGCN Information Secretariat, Stockholm.


Tallinn -- The second Nordic Rainbow Bear award of 2016 from Stockholm's Viking Bears has been handed over to Bearty-Tallinn at the Nordic Bear session in the Estonian capital April 15-17, 2016.

At the award ceremony held at the Estonian LGBT Center, the chairman of Viking Bears- Stockholm, Cha Wallentheim,read out the diploma's motivation which honored Bearty-Tallinn "..... for organizing this year's Nordic Bear session - the first such meeting on former Soviet territory, .....for underlining the fact that Bears everywhere are valuable and necessary warriors on the LGBT human rights barricades -- helping shatter stereotypes both within and outside of the rainbow community... for outstanding efforts to promote international contacts ... and for giving Bear culture an outstanding place to confirm that rainbow culture is a strong weapon against homophobia, intolerance and invisibility."

This year's Nordic Rainbow Award 2016 diploma is shared by the International Bear Carnival -- Maspalomas and this award diploma was handed over at that event in March.

"We are pleased to receive the award and to share it with our Spanish colleagues," says Alvar Ameljushenko of Bearty-Tallinn.

Bears International Impressed with the Estonian Bears

"We deeply impressed that it was the next-smallest Nordic nation to think so BIG in Nordic Bear terms -- for the first time putting this on in he digital world on the FaceBook map, making this a 3-day event so filled with Bear culture via discussions, beautiful art exhibits and music -- not just a closed-door meeting for a very few but open to all interested Bears -- not only from the Nordic nations of Sweden, Finland, Norway and Latvia but also from beyond the Nordic zone from Russia, Ukraine, Britain and Australia!,"says Bill Schiller of the newly-established Bears International. "This also confirms that Estonia and the other Baltic states are indeed part of the Nordic family!"

"We are also overjoyed that Bearty-Tallinn has also reached out beyond Bear borders by contributing crucially to the rent of the Estonian LGBT Center & Archives, the way that Bears-on-Ice contribute to Iceland's HIV/AIDS foundation and the Bears of Poland support the Warsaw LGBT Film Festival that reaches 8 other Polish cities as well!"

"We in Bears International are inspired by all of this and hope to contribute to relief assistance to LGBT refugees fleeing from persecution, imprisonment, murder and state execution," Schiller concludes.

More information:

Tallinn award ceremony: Cha Wallentheim - Viking Bears (far left),
Alvar Ameljushenko - Bearty-Tallinn Bears, Bill Schiller - Bears
International, and John Earhart - Norway's Bamse Bears (far right). 

Nordic Rainbow Bear award to Maspalomas: Bill Schiller (left)
Sweden, Lobo - Carnival Chief (center) and Peter Fröberg - Sweden,
(photo by Angelo of Italy)

​Calling Bear colleagues:

ILGCN's (international rainbow cultural network) newly-established Bears International aims at promoting Bear culture and international solidarity.

BI has no membership fee , does not compete with the important social events of local and national Bear organizations, and welcomes all interested -- especially Ursula and other women Bears, Trans Bears, Bear immigrants and refugees, the differently abled and HIV positives. (misogamists, transphobes, racists and intolerants are NOT welcome!)

BI aims at following the Bears-on-Ice, Reykjavik initiative to become involved beyond the Bear borders (with their major financial contribution to HIV work on Iceland) BI plans on promoting fund-raising to help LGBT refugees fleeing from persecution, violence, imprisonment and murder threats.

Bears International is located at the ILGCN Information Secretariat in Stockholm via our webmaster in Canada:

Bears International Calendar:

Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers)-hosted round-table "Bear Culture & Aging" on Friday, April 15, 2016 at the Nordic Bear session in Tallinn April 15-17 event arranged by Bearty-Tallinn of Estonia.

Warsaw LGBT Film Festival featuring Bear films and working with Polish Bears for Bear events April 17-22.

May 17 in Stockholm for IDAHO (International Day against Homophobia) together with Tupilak other LGBT organizations in Sweden and/or on May 18th -- a special post-IDAHO Day hosted by BI and the ILGCN Information Secretariat-Stockholm.

1st Rainbow Art Fair (hosted by Tupilak) -- Stockholm May 28.

ILGCN (international rainbow cultural network) World Rainbow Culture Conference in Palanga, Lithuania June 10-12.

Baltic Pride 2016 -- Vilnius June 13-17.

1st Nordic Art & History Month -- Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg, October 2016.

Bears International culture program --at the International Bear Carnival - Maspalomas, Spain March, 2017.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the BI international secretary for the appropriate geographic region:

East, West, South, Belarus-Russia-Ukraine, and North America.

Bill Schiller, BI international secretary-East

NOTE: Do NOT ask for any travel grants to the above: There are none!

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Tallinn - A number of Swedish LGBT organizations visited Tallinn on November 30th on a cruise to the Estonian capital --  meeting at the offices of the Estonian LGBT Association and OMA  (broaden your mind) meeting with their representatives and also the Trans-Estonian group for mutual discussions and future planning.

Discussions also focused on the Estonian movement's continued battle to get final approval of the Partnership bill -- blocked in some committee work by homophoic members of parliament.  This would be the first ex-Soviet nation to achieve partnership status. 

The Swedes included representatives of Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural organization), ILGCN (international rainbow cultural network) Information Secretariat-Stockholm, the Viking BearsGay Seniors, the Nordic Rainbow Humanists and the International Rainbow Seniors of Stockholm.

The activists of  Estonian LGBT Association and OMA also received the 2015 ILGCN Misha Rainbow Warrior Award for their outstanding work for LGBT rights in Estonia, their international links with the rotating Baltic Pride and other events, and work on the Partnership Bill.  

(The award is named after the late gay Belarus cultural worker, Misha, savagely beaten in a homophobic attack and dying after a year-long period in a coma.

(The award this year is shared with the openly-gay politician and Budapest LGBT rights activist, Lászlo Sebi-Petrovszki of the Hungarian Democratic Party and the Scandinavian Leather Men in Stockholm celebrating their 40th anniversary.)

Tupilak and Viking Bears promised to renew contacts with the Estonian activists when they returned to Tallin for the April 15-17, 2016 meeting of the Bearty-Tallinn Bears and the Nordic Bear annual session.  


More information: | |

Photos by Peter Fröberg  

Sunday, November 22, 2015


StockholmNovember 10, 2015


Stockholm -- Poetry, presentations, photography and art work characterized the rainbow November 9 "Kristallnacht" -- international day against fascism event in the Swedish capital on November 9, 2015 at the Secret Garden pub o the Old Town island.   

The event was dedicated to "Rainbow Refugees" -- noting that LGBT refugees flee not only at time from warfare and destruction, but also sometimes from homophobic communities, neighbors and even family members.  The event also expressed sharp criticism of Swedish migration authorities at times denying asylum to LGBT refugees by doubting their sexual orientation or arguing that they can return to their homelands safely without persecution or execution as long as they "hide their homosexuality."

A passionate declaration from the northern Swedish city of Umeå was read out load on behalf of 19-year-old Somalian gay, Ahmed Abdi -- repeatedly denied asylum in Sweden and to be sent back home -- facing intolerance and betrayal  from his own family and possible death.

Other presentations were made by activists in the Swedish LGBT group and the editor of Amnesty Press -- comparing growing intolerance in Europe today to the violence of the 1930's as well as the burning of refugee centers in Sweden.  Other presentations came from a Swedish author looking at the torture, imprisonment and execution of opponents to the Franco regime in Spain, and also about the long-forgotten gay concentration camp set up by Franco in the Canary Islands 10 years after the liberation of Auschwitz.

Poetry was dedicated to memories of Kristallnacht and reflecting on attitudes of intolerance in Europe today, and an appeal was made for contributions to the refugee fund of the national Swedish LGBT organization, RFSL -- dealing with a rising flood of LGBT refugees coming to Sweden.

Shattering Stereotypes, Broadening Rainbow Culture

The photography-filled presentation by the Viking Bears illustrated not only the aim of providing space for gays who don't necessarily fit the standard  stereotypes but also the importance of participating in international as well as local events, and for emphasizing Bear culture as a valid part of LGBT culture today.

The Stockholm event was organized by the ILGCN (international rainbow cultural workers)Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers)Nordic Rainbow Humanists, and the Viking Bears-Stockholm .

"We are very pleased to have participated in this event organized by the Amsterdam-based United, linking many other organizations all over the world to commemorate this day all at the same time," says Bill Schiller of Tupillak and the ILGCN.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Budapest -- The 2nd stage of the 2015 ILGCN (international rainbow cultural network) World Rainbow Culture Conference took place in the Hungarian capital between November 16-18, 2015 -- with presentations on LGBT life and culture in Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Belarus, Canada, Russia, China, Lithuania and Iran. This followed the first stage of this year's conference in Stockholm on May 4-6, 2015.

"This was an important meeting of Hungarians and international cultural workers and activists and we hope this will be followed by more such gatherings here," say Maria Santa and Thomas Lovas, Hungarian conference co-organizers.

Special presentations also focused on the support of the international humanist movement for LGBT rights, the international anti-fascist movement's support of LGBT people, the role of the Bear community in the international struggle for LGBT rights, identity and culture, and the persecution of Nazi and neo Nazi of LGBT people.

Conference participants visited the offices of the national LGBT organization, the Háttér Society, to hear about its 20-year-long work for LGBT rights and culture, and the impressive collection of books, magazines, posters, articles, CD's and films in the Háttér Archives as well as a history of the ILGCN movement in Hungary. The conference also adopted a sharply-worded protest declaration against the right-wing Hungarian government's negative attitude towards refugees, immigrants, Jews, Roma and LGBT people. (see below)

"We are especially grateful to receive facilities free of charge for this 0-budget conference," says Bill Schiller of the ILGCN International Secretariat-Stockholm, saluting the Hungarian Liberal Party, the Democratic Coalition Party, the International Anti-Fascist Office and the Budapest gay bar, Habroló.

Live music and song was provided by the Continuo Trio of Budapest -- the ILGCN cultural ambassadors of Hungary -- and former Swedish ILGCN ambassador, Peter Fröberg. Art and photos from the ILGCN/Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers) International Art Collection were also displayed.

Film screenings included "Out of Iran" by Canadian/Iranian Farid Haerinejad, "We Can be Gay Today" about Lithuania's 1st Pride march by Frenchman Francoise Message, "Hunted" on the persecution of gays in Russia by Britain's Ben Steele, "Mama Rainbow" about parents of gays by China's Popo Fan, "Rainbow's Song" about elderly LGBT's by Sweden's Nasrin Pakkho and "LGBT Monuments" by Sweden's Willi Reichhold.

The 2015 ILGCN Rainbow Warrior award was announced at the conference, honoring openly gay Hungarian politician and LGBT rights activist, László Sebián-Petrovszki of the Democratic Party. (this year's award is shared with the SLM Leather Men in Stockholm celebrating their 40th anniversary.)

Conference greetings were received and sent to ILGCN organizers in Lithuania, planning next year's world rainbow culture conference (stage 1) in Vilnius and the Baltic beach town of Palanga between June 10-13, 2016 -- right before the rotating Baltic Pride taking place in 2016 in the Lithuanian capital.


Also part of the ILGCN conference, the 1st European Rainbow Humanist meeting took place in Budapest to help combat religious intolerance towards LGBT communities, approving plans to try to host future LGBT humanist seminars at Prides and other LGBT events in Europe -- and approving the first ERH chairman, Dávid Veres of Budapest and international secretary Andrus K. of Belarus. "We are proud to head this first European-wide humanist organization and see this as a good tool to combat religious and political persecution and homophobia," they say.

Nordic Rainbow Humanist chairman, Rolf Solheim, and international secretary, Bill Schiller, also announced the winner of the 2015 Nordic Rainbow Humanist award diploma -- going to the Bangladesh humanist and free-thinker Dr. Aviji Roy, recently murdered by religious fanatics, and his organization Mukto Mona "fighting against violent intolerance and persecution and for writing the country's first book on homosexuality."


"Participants at this ILGCN Cultural Conference in Budapest mindful of the long struggle of the Hungarian People for freedom and independence against the Ottoman and Austrian Empires nevertheless urge the Hungarian people and authorities to recognize the damage done to Hungarian society by policies which suppress or discriminate against minorities such as homosexuals, Jews, Roma and refugees. Gay and Jewish personalities have played a substantial role in world cultural development. As evidence of this we mention only Einstein (Science), Tchaikovsky (Music) and Leonard Bernstein (Music) as well as Michelangelo (Science & Art). We call on the Hungarian people to take steps to change the backward-looking anti-minority policies."

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Umeå, Åland, Stockholm, Budapest — The 2nd stage of the 2015 ILGCN World Rainbow Culture Conference will take place in Budapest October 16-18 (following the 1st stage in Stockholm May 4-6.) See Budapest press releases — and the new ILGCN Face Book — for details and latest information.

Meanwhile, two of the 3 winners of the ILGCN "Rasmus Rasmussen" Arco Nordica award for outstanding and pioneering work in the Nordic region have received their diplomas in person at their events — Finland's Åland Pride in Mariahamn in June and Umeå Pride/Queer Förvaltningen in that northern Swedish city in September.

The awards honor the outstanding contributions to LGBT culture at their events and to international solidarity with rainbow colleagues in other countries and among the immigrant and refugee communities.

The third winner sharing the 2015 award is Mozaika, the Latvian LGBT organization which arranged the pioneering EuroPride/Baltic Pride in June, 2015 — the first time EuroPride took place in former Soviet territory. This award diploma is to be handed out in the spring of next year when be handed out when Mozaik celebrates its 20th birthday.

The award is named after the late, pioneering Faroes journalist/musician who outraged violent homophobes in Torshavn by being one of the first LGBT persons to come out publicly — facing brutal physical attacks and severe homophobic persecution driving him to take his own life.

NEW ILGCN Apointees

New ILGCN ambassadors and co-ordinators taking over after years of service from some of the old timers — who of course retain their titles of "ambassadors" just like the diplomatic world — and some coming from new countries are:
  • Francoise Message, film maker, ILGCN cultural ambassador for France
  • Bitte Andersson, film maker and cartoonist, cultural ambassador for Sweden
  • Popo Fan, film maker and film festival organizer, cultural ambassador for China
  • Andrus K., journalist cultural ambassador for Belarus
  • Kloi Picot, photographer, cultural ambassador for central Canada
  • Eddy Kalyango, RADO (arts and crafts) cultural ambassador for Uganda
  • John Ryan Mendoza, journalist, cultural ambassador for Philippines
  • Eddy Kalyango, RADO (arts and crafts) co-ordinator for Uganda

New ILGCN Eastern European Secretariat secretary generals:
  • Thomas Lavás, musician, Budapest 
  • Andrus K., journalist, Minsk