Wednesday, September 30, 2020


The 8-nation award diploma team of Bears International has awarded the 2020 Iolaus diploma to Aleksei Grachev of St. Petersburg for outstanding courage and bravery, with the motivation: 

"... for strong determination to defy homophobic attitudes of Russia´s political and religious leaders, a hostile media, intolerance and even violence from hooligans and homophobes, .... for the pioneering creation of SP Bears and SP Leather Club, and organizing Russian Leather Prides with both local, national and much international participation, .... for illustrating that a so-called "handicapp" -- hearing or otherwise -- need not be a hinder to great works and initiatives but can be an ignition to accomplish even more."

" -- and for confirming that Bears are a vital element of the LGBT struggle – proving that gays come in all sizes, all ages, all professions, all races and ethnic backgrounds, all nationalities, native-born and refugees and immigrants,  all religious or non-religious backgrounds."

The award diplom was presented in an usual venue -- a Moscow Bear sauna party -- by Bears International-award winning photographer Vladimir Bob Lysenko from Moscow.  

St. Petersburg Bear event, with Moscow activist Vladimir Bob Lysenko reading the motivation for the Bears International Iolaus 2020 award diploma to Bear activist, Aleksei Grachev.

The "Iolaus 2020" is shared with  Belarus LGBT Journalists for Tolerance and the Lokys Bears of Belarus.


Ancient Greek Male Lovers

The award diploma is decorated with the beautiful drawing of ancient Greek heroes, Iolaus and his lover, Hercules provided by Spanish artist, Manolo Yanes from his series "Ancient Friends" -- a series of drawings of male homosexual lovers of ancient Greek gods and heroes -- rekindling sometimes forgotten names of the past and confirming that gays not only have a proud and dignified history, but are indeed every where and every when.

  This 2020 award diploma joins the other Bears International awards: the "Calais" (the ancient Greek lover of Orpheus) for international travel and networking and the "Hyacinthus" (the ancient Greek lover of Apollo -- god of art and light) for Bear art and photography. 


2019 Iolaus Award to Bears in Moscow

As earlier reported, Bears International presented the 2019 Iolaus award to the Moscow Bear Club in connection with their 20th year anniversary.
The motivation was: "…in this their 20th anniversary year -- for strong determination, bold insistence on surviving and flourishing despite the homophobic attitudes of the nation’s political and religious leaders, despite a hostile media and despite the intolerance and even violence of Russian hooligans and neo Nazis."

"... and for confirming that the colors of the rainbow stretched over geographic and psychological borders do not grow dimmer but stronger and more brilliant."

Aleksei Grachev 
Aleksei Grachev 
Iolaus and his lover, the bearded Hercules by Spanish artist, Manolo Yanes

Iolaus and Hercules

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Swedish LGBT Delegation to Polish Embassy in Stockholm

Stockholm -- A LGBT delegation met with the head of the political and economic section, Iwona Jablonowska,  of the Polish Embassy in Stockholm recently to protest over the arrest and detention of Polish activists placing rainbow flags on statues in Warsaw and on the growing number of Polish towns, cities and provinces declaring themselves "LGBT Free" and setting up border signs to this effect.

Dr. Jablonowska promised to check on the legal proceedings against well-known Polish activist, Margot Sztowicz, which she insists was the only activist involved still jailed for the event with rainbow flags and was arrested because of violence and damages caused in the event.

EU Cities Break with Polish "LGBT-Free" Cities and Towns

She also insisted that the "LGBT Free" declarations have no legal consequences and that the civil rights of LGBT people in these some 100 zones have not been diminished, but agreed that they had serious psychological effects.  Noting that a number of European "twin cities" have broken off  relations with their partners and that the European Union has severed financial support for local projects in these "LGBT Free" areas. 

She also promised to provide the full list of the Polish "LGBT Free " areas in order to inform those 36 Swedish cities and towns with twinning projects in Poland about the possible status of the "LGBT Free" zone  there.

Several of the Swedish delegates emphasized that the concept of "LGBT Free" was reminicent of the "Juden Frei" policy of Nazi Germany in Poland and the rest of occuppied Europe, and these days promotes hatred and violence against LGBT people.

The diplomat was also informed that the once lively exchange of LGBT culture workers between Sweden and Poland supported by official institutes disappeared several years ago, and she promised to investigate how this could be re-established.

The delegate from Queer Amnesty, Réne Prada,  handed over a statement to be delivered to the Polish minister of justice to guarantee the human rights of LGBT persons in Poland, with demands for en end to anti-discrimination rhetoric in Poland encourging more violence and hatred, for the adoption of punishment for anti-LGBT hate crimes such as legislation existing in Sweden and many other European countries and pointing out that surveys show Poland as the worst place in Europe for LGBT people.

The Swedish LGBT delegates came from Amnesty InternationalTupilak (Norddic rainbow culture workers) and the ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) Information Secretariat.
Photos: Warsaw mermaid statue with rainbow flag, Polish town sign "LGBT-Free"

Saturday, September 19, 2020


Stockholm -- Representatives of Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) and the ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) Information Secretariat-Stockholm joined with Dr. Anna Hájková, Czech/UK from her home in England with a Zoom connection, presenting some of her research into "Queer History in the Holocaust" -- describing the challenges and the difficulties in finding materials and working in areas not always supported by universities and other institutions.

The September 15, 2020 event also included the award to Dr. Hájková of the ILGCN's "Orfeo Iris 2020" award honoring "outstanding contributions to research on LGBT people in Nazi and neo Nazi times."

The motivation reads: "for the crucial, often ignored research -- also with books and numberous articles -- on the fate of LGBT people in the Nazi death camps."

The award is named after "iris" -- the rainbow, and the ancient Greek musician, Orpheus, whose powerful music could calm elven the demons of the underworld and who was proud of his male lovers, including Calais -- a fellow sailor on the Argos.

Earlier winners of the Orfeo Iris include the U.S. Holocaust Museum which had a gay researcher stationed in Europe to carry out work on homosexuals in the Holocaust, the Malmö City Museum in southern Sweden -- for arranging an exhbition on neo Nazi attacks and murders of homosexuals and immigrants, a controversial German ex-priest and author - revealing discrimination of LGBT people in the Catholoic Church, German and Austrian university students carrying out research on homophobic atrocities by the Nazis -- defying professors who insisted such work was unimportant, and the Museum of Auschwitz in Poland -- for including homosexuals in the list of those imprisoned and murdered there -- unlike many other museums, exhibitions, documentaries, news programs and anniversary events leaving out LGBT people in their lists of victims of the Nazis.
One of the important paricipants in the Zoom was Barbara Frölich of the Anti-Fascist organization in Vienna -- who will meet Dr. Hájková during her October visit to the Austrian capital.
The Zoom event was arranged since the virus has made planned travel to Sweden impossible at this time, but Dr. Hájková will come to Stockholm next year -- for more discussions and face-to-face questioning.
The Tupilak/ILGCN presentations planned for September 16 as part of the "Holocaust" event -- including comments on the Swedish-led LGBT official visit to Auschwitz 20 years ago, Franco's gay concentration camp Tefiá on Fuerteventura 10 years after Auschwitz was liberated, and the recent gay concentration camps in Checnya -- will be delivered in Stockholm on October 17 -- as part of the 5th National Rainbow History & Culture Month.
More information: facebooks "Tupilak" "ILGCN"

Photos/art: Orpheo and his Calais, Anna Hájkova, award dip

Monday, August 17, 2020



Stockholm -- August 9, the ILGCN (international rainbow culture network)-initiated International Day of Rainbow Culture -- was marked in the Swedish capital, in the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Denmark, Canada, Spain, Italy and other places.

The date was chosen also as the birthday of well-loved Finnish painter and author, Tove Jansson, creator of the internationally-known figure of Mumintroll. The event in Stockholm included literary quotations from Tove Jansson read by Swedish singer and musician, Jan Hammarlund, also singing some of his own songs. And Christine Zawall reading her own poetry -- both members of Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers).

"We had the keep the events on line or small gatherings in the days of the virus, but we are pleased a few of us could get together to salute the day and to honor Tove Jansson, who received a Tupilak award diploma and was a member of Tupilak in the last years of her life," says Bill Schiller of Tupilak and the ILGCN Information Secretariat-Stockholm.


"We are also very proud that the Gay Authors Workshop in London chose this date for its reading of works from its members in a session chaired by Rosemary J.! Based in London, the group has members all over the United Kingdom and in Canada and New Zealand. The GAW has also created the Paradise Press publishing books and poetry from LGBT authors.

Together with the ILGCN, the Paradise Press has created the "Sappho in Paradise" award diploma -- honoring authors, poets, publishers, libraries and archives -- this year going to the Skeivt Arkiv -- the LGBT Archive -- of the University of Bergen, Norway."

The Stockholm event also saluted the 100th year anniversary of the birth of internationally-known Finnish artist, Tuuoko Lakssonen, (Tom of Finland,) whose internationally-known art work has changed the way gays looked at themselves and how the world looked at gays.


Members of the Stockholm event also united in a strong protest to the Polish Embassy here over the arrest and detention of Polish transgender activist, Margot of the "Stop Bzduron -- Stop the Nonsense" -- detained with activist lesbians for placing rainbow flags on public statues in Warsaw -- including the legendary mermaid who 'saved the city from attack.' Following violent clashes with police by those defending Margot and others defending LGBT rights has resulted in many injured and some 50 arrested.

"These arrests are an exaggerated reaction of censorship and a brutal violation of freedom of expression. A rainbow flag does not damage a statue but only gives it some well-needed color," says Schiller.


The event also announced the winners of the ILGCN "Orfeo Imago 2020" award diplomas honoring outstanding LGBT artists and photographers. They are Sarah Jane Moon, painter from New Zealand/UK, Victor Adeniran - painter from Colorado, USA and Patrick Mc Donald -- German photographer, model and publisher of the high-quality male art magazine "Juturna" -- giving space to veteran and new-coming rainbow artists and models.

The award is named after the ancient Greek musician, Orpheus, whose beautiful music could calm even the demons of the underworld and who was proud of his male lovers, including Calais -- a fellow sailor on the legendary Argo.

In Canada, the ILGCN secretary general of the Literature Secretariat, Ian Stewart, read up an apology from the Canadian government he and others received for the earlier dismissal of LGBT members from the military:

" On behalf of HER MAJESTY'S CANADIAN GOVERNMENT the Canada Pride Citation is hereby granted to you in recognition of your valuable service to Canada and the hardship you endured as a result of the historical policies and practices in connection with the LGBT Purge.

The Stockholm event also included a musical greeting from the ILGCN cultural ambassadors of Argentina -- Juliette Brizzi and Marysol del Pablo -- with a salute to ILGCN colleagues all over the world and with the song ending with a Swedish toast" - "Skål!"

More information: facebooks: "ILGCN," "Tupilak" "Bill Schiller"

Photos: Argentine singers, Swedish singer Jan Hammarlund, poet Christine Zawall, Polish rainbow flags, Work/portraits of Sarah Jane Moon, Victor Adeniran, Patrick Mc Donald. Tove Jansson, Mumin, Tuuoko Lakksonen, Tom of Finland, Ian in Canada, August 9 wine and food served in Stockholm by Willi & Shahram, Tupilak logo, ILGCN logo

Friday, July 24, 2020

ILGCN Calling -- July, 2020

Hello ILGCN cultural ambassadors, co-ordinators, secretary generals, friends and contacts:

A reminder:  August 9  International Day of Rainbow Culture/Tove Jansson's birthday.   Make a "skål" to the day and to Tove and maybe to Touko Laaksonen (Tom of Finlandis this the 100th anniversary year of his birth.   Maybe read a line from Tove ("All things are so very uncertain, and that's exactly what makes me feel reassured.")...?   A photo of you on your own (or with friends) for ILGCN facebook  and/or webpublication Erato..?

Proposal for Clios Silver Cup (for LGBT history) ´(named for Clio - ancient Green muse for historic peotry and the Warren Cup --ancient Roman silver cup decorated with male homosexual pairs.) Sam Hultin (Sweden) (she provides audioguide historical LGBT trips, guided tours and  seminars and donates profits to refugees in Sweden.)


Other, coming ILGCN awards:

"Arco Nordica" (for Nordic co-operation)  Petter Walllenberg (Sweden - for starting "Rainbow Riots" 
Uganda's first LGBT community center), Vincent Ferrigan & Side Track (Stockholm bar -- fundraising 
for Uganda's Rainbow Riot center.) (Presentation:  Stockholm.)  August.

"Sappho in Paradise" -- ILGCN/Paradise Press - London (for authors, publishers, archives) for the Skeivt Arkiv (Queer Archive - Bergen, Norway).  (Presentation in Oslo or Bergen.)

"Orpheo Iris" (for research in LGBT presence in the Holocaust, neo nazi activities)  Dr. Anna Hájková (Czech/UK) 
"Queer History of  the Holocaust."  (Presentation: Stockholm)  September 15-16  

"Orfeo/Zelim Bakeav Musica" (named after murdered gay Chechnyan singer) -- 1st Estonian LGBT
 Choir   (presentation in Tallinn during the Rakvere Heartfest LGBT Film Festival)  October

Latest additions to the ILGCN/Tupilak International Rainbow Art & Photography Exhibition:

Claude Cahun (France -- artist, anti Nazi activist)

Krisheel Othman (Fiji)

Önder Özgenc (Konya, Turkey)

appho and Erinna (by Simeon Solomon, UK)

Sarabindu (Bangladesh)

Troy Jamison (Brisbane Australia)

Troy Jobson Bolt (Kenya)

Leon Espinosa (Mexico/Norway)

Future events:

ILGCN co-operation with HOSI-Wien - solidarity salute to rainbow colleagues in Poland and Hungary.
               Vienna   September or October.   (ILGCN colleagues welcome!)

ILGCN/Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) 5th Nordic Rainbow History & Culture
 Month OctoberTupilak award: "Loke's Sister" (promotion of trans culture) to Nuka Carmen Bisgaard(Greenland).   

Thursday, April 30, 2020


In this time of the virus hindering get-togethers, Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) and the ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) Information Secretariat-Stockholm join the world-wide celebration digitally on facebooks, websites, etc. -- honoring IDAHO DAY on this anniversary of the World Health Organization's declaration that homosexuality is not an illness:

"Breaking the Silence! Smashing Invisibility!"

Rainbow art & photography, film, music and future events:

TOM OF FINLAND -- a special birthday salute to Touko Laaksonen, on the 100th anniversary of his birth in Finland on May 8th -- a tribute to the man who changed the way the world looked at the gay man.

Latest additions of more LGBT art and photography to the Tupilak/ILGCN International Art and Photography Exhibition -- now with works from over 70 nations. (available on request!)

Felix Garmendia (Puerto Rico), Sergei Dudik (Russia/Berlin), Tupilak award ceremony at Norwegian Embassy in Kiev, Alirezan Shojainan (Iran/Paris), Lynx Dean (Canada), Alaa Haziem (Syria/Sweden), Zelim Bakeav (Chechnya), Barbara Hammer (USA), Wenjie Ding (China).

Song: "Race Against Time" -- Peter Fröberg, former Swedish ILGCN cultural ambassador

Coming events:

August 9 -- International Day of Rainbow Culture (birthday of Finnish author Tove "Mumintroll" Jansson!).

September 15 - Stockholm, etc.:

"Queer History of the Holocaust," (often ignored by other researchers, exhibitions, media coverage) -- Dr. Anna Hajkova, Czech Republic/UK (winner of ILGCN's 2020 Orpheus Iris award for research in this field)

"1st LGBT Delegation to Auschwitz -- 20 year anniversary," An internatonal delegation led by Tupilak/ILGCN (outraging right-wing Polish parliamentarians and media and a homophobic pope demanding in vain the dismissal of the Auschwitz Museum chief). Bill Schiller - Tupilak/ILGCN

"LGBT Monuments around the world -- but none in the Nordic region. Why?"

Film: "LGBT Monuments around the World" -- Willi Reichhold, Tupilak, Sweden in this the 75th year of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

October -- 6th NORDIC MONTH of RAINBOW HISTORY & CULTURE -- in Stockholm and other Nordic cities on both sides of the Baltic Sea. Including:

-- the 2nd NORDIC PRIDE -- focusing on Nordic rainbow culture, history and solidarity often lost in other national and international Prides.



Stockholm -- The ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) 2020 ORPHEUS IRIS award diploma goes to Dr. Anna Hájková, the Czech/UK researcher looking at the victims of the Holocaust and especially the ILGCN victims of oppression and extermination.

The award diploma notes that many other film, exhibitions and other presentations of the Holocaust deliberately ignore the LGBT element . This included many media presentations even of this the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz," says Bill Schiller of the ILGCN.

"We hope to hand over the award diploma at a Stockholm seminar this September," says Schiller.

The award has gone earlier to German and Austrian historians and researchers discussing LGBT presence in the Nazi concentration camps and neo-Nazi persecution afterwards -- and the Auschwitz Museum -- receiving the first ever LGBT delegation to the outrage of right-wing Polish parliamentarians and press and even the homophobic pope demanding in vain the dismissal of the museum boss.
The award is named after "Iris" -- the rainbow -- and Orpheus, the ancient Greek hero of astounding music soothing even the demons of the underworld -- proud of his love for both women and men -- something condemned by the younger, homophobic religions both east and west.

Dr Anna Hájková is associate professor of History at the University of Warwick. She is a Holocaust historian who explores queer desire in the Holocaust. As a first one, she has suggested we explore same sex relationships between Jewish victims in the concentration camps and ghettos, and examine the wide-spread homophobia in the prisoner society.

She has introduced the topic to national newspapers and radio in Germany, US, Israel, and the Czech Republic, as well as academic articles.

Currently, she is writing a book on an enforced relationship between two women in a Hamburg concentration camp: a guard and a Jewish prisoner. Hájková also serves on board of the Czech Society for Queer Memory