Monday, October 10, 2016

1st Nordic Rainbow History & Arts Month
October, 2016

Umeå/Stockholm -- The 1st Nordic Rainbow History & Arts Month -- October, 2016 -- has been launched in the northern Swedish city of Umeå October 1and 2, in the last two days of their annual Pride there  -- with seminars, discussions, films, art and photography.

"This was a great feeling for Umeå Pride to have launched this historical month," says Umeå Pride project leader Mio of Queerförvaltningen, the main Pride organizer. "Making LGBT questions more visible is more important than ever with the right-wing winds blowing everywhere around us!"

"The participants of this segment of this pioneering Nordic month have made history," Bill Schiller of Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) and the ILGCN (rainbow culture international)  told a cheering crowd from the Pride Park stage after the Pride parade marched through the city streets.  He jokingly added:  "We may be a bit slow sometimes in the Nordic zone -- perhaps because of the cold, northerly climate --  but we have finally caught up with LGBT-history month organizing colleagues in Budapest, Edinburgh, London and other southern cities."   

"Instead of limiting the event only to the capital city, the Nordic rainbow month follows the Umeå events by continuing in Stockholm and will end the month with the last three days in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius  -- since we regard our Baltic neighbors as solid members of the Nordic family," Schiller adds. "This month is a long-overdue focus on the history and art of the vast Nordic region -- stretching from the coast of North America in the West and to the borders of Russia and Belarus in the East."
One aim is to use rainbow culture and the history as powerful weapons in the battle against the invisibility and discrimination of those with HIV/AIDS, those with different abilities, trans, the youth, elderly, and refugees from such nations as KurdistanIranKazakhstan,  KyrgyzstanBelarusRussiaUganda.

Revitalizing Nordic LGBT Co-operation..?

The Stockholm stage will also include the 1st Tupilak  Art Fair, the birth of the 1st Nordic Rainbow Network (reviving the long-ago deceased Nordic Homo Council but this time also including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania),  stage 2 of the ILGCN World Rainbow Culture Conference 2016 (between stage 1 in Palanga, Lithuania last July and  stage 1 of  2017 in Budapest, Hungary), a Stockholm meeting of the European Rainbow Humanists, a Nordic session of Bears International and a Nordic fund-supported travelling exhibition on the devastating consequences of prostitution"Lilies of the Streets,and a photo exhibit from the international Association of Anti-Fascists.

"As a 0-budget event, we are very dependent on the generosity of rent-free locales in Stockholm offered by Nordic Association - Stockholm PositHIVagruppenSidetrack pub, Secret Garden  pub and the Folklore Centrum and such NGO organizations as the Central Asia GroupCivil Rights Defenders, as well as representatives from Swedish Amnesty Press, the Rainbow Library -- Umeå, the Canadian Embassy and the British Council," concludes Schiller.  

"In Vilnius, we are very pleased to have co-operation with colleagues in the national Lithuanian LGBT organization LGL and cultural workers in Vilnius for October 29-31, the closing days of this Nordic rainbow history month, " says Schiller.  "One of our aims in Vilnius is to include colleagues from neighboring Belarus -- eager for international contacts and support in their struggle against fierce homophobia in this last dictatorship in Eastern Europe." 



 More information:

Monday, September 5, 2016

1st ILGCN/Bears International
Nordic Rainbow History Arts Month
(Umeå October 1-2, Stockholm, Vilnius October 29-31, 2016)

Stockolm/Umeå/Vilnius -- The first Nordic Rainbow History & Arts Month will take place in these three Nordic cities in October, 2016 -- with seminars, discussions, films, art, photography, poetry and performances -- inspired by similar months in Budapest, Edinburgh, London and other cities.

"We plan a long-overdue to focus on the history and art of the vast Nordic region -- stretching from the coast of North America in the West and the borders of Russia and Belaus in the East," says Bill Schiller of the main organizers ILGCN (rainbow culture international) Information Secretariat-Stockholm and Bears International -- with the support of the Nordic Association (Förening Norden)Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers)Nordic Rainbow Humanists and other organizations.

Another aim is to focus rainbow culture and the history of the battle against the invisibility and discrimation of those with HIV/AIDS, those with different abilities, trans, the youth, elderly, and refugees from Kurdistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia, Uganda and elsewhere.  

 Revitalizing Nordic LGBT Co-operation..?

The event will also include Tupilak's 1st Art Fair, the birth of the 1st Nordic Rainbow Network(reviving the long-ago deceased Nordic Homo Council but this time also including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania),  stage 2 of the ILGCN World Rainbow Culture Conference 2016 (between stage 1 in Palanga, Lithuania last July and  stage 1-2017 in Budapest, Hungary), a Stockholm meeting of the European Rainbow Humanists, a Nordic session of Bears International and a Nordic-supported travelling exhibition on the consequences of prostitution"Lilies of the Streets."

"As a 0-budget event, we are very dependent on the generosity of rent-free locales in Stockholm offered by PositHIVagruppenNordic AssociationSidetrack pub, Secret Garden  pub and other organizations.  We are also proud to work together with Umeå Pride and with colleagues in Vilnius," adds Schiller, " and the Central Asia Group with Östgruppen for Democracy and Human Rightsworking with Belarus, Russia and Ukraine." 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Press Statement

Stockholm, August 2016

We are seriously troubled and dismayed over angry reactions, in Germany to our award to David Berger (Catholic Theologian); reactions which, however, seem to be part of the current atmosphere in much of Europe.

We strongly condemn all intolerance and discrimination from outside and from within the LGBT communities.

The ILGCN, (International Lesbian and Gay Cutural Network) was, as an idea, founded in Paris in 1992 when we suggested to ILGA (International Lesbian & Gay Association) that they should use culture in the fight for equality and justice for sexual minorities. They refused to do so. We said we will do what we can ourselves as a non-budget network.

Perhaps the silly rumour – totally without foundation – about ILGA making the award is based on a misunderstanding or mistranslation of this reference to ILGA.

Since then we have actively supported Queer groups in “Central & Eastern Europe” and occasionally outside Europe with small cultural conferences, talks, exhibitions with the intention of raising the self-confidence – pride – of members of the embattled but growing LGBT communities there by spreading knowledge of what LGBT people have contributed to world cultural heritage.

As can be imagined the conditions for some of the conferences were far from ideal. People afraid to be seen in such a context (nearly everwhere), authorities cancelling meeting places at the last minute (Belarus) or owners of clubs, galleries being threatened with a loss of tenancy (Lithuania) or semi-secret meetings in a cellar.

ILGCN decided to accept a recommendation in 2012 to give our annual “Orfeo Iris” diploma (for research and writing about oppression and discrimination of LGBT people) to Germany’s David Berger for his book “The Holy Glow” describing persecution of LGBT people in the Catholic Church.

Recommendations for ILGCN award diplomas (no monetary compensation is included) come from ILGCN secretariats, our cultural ambassadors, co-ordinators and friends.

That it can sometimes take years before the diploma is actually handed over is not unusual for us. As a 0-budget organisation with no travel funds, it can take some time for an ILGCN representative and the award winner to be at the same place at the same time. (We have a policy of NOT sending diplomas in the snail mail.)

Bill Schiller,
Secretary General, ILGCN Information Secretariat-Stockholm

Colin de la Motte-Sherman,
ILGCN History Secretariat-Berlin

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


  Palanga -- Presentations, discussions on the importance of LGBT culture, films and planning future strategies were part of theILGCN (rainbow culture international) World Rainbow Culture Conference (stage 1)  June 10-12, 2016 in this Lithuanian Baltic coastal town.

   "We had vauable exchanges and discussions on focusing especially on the tough battles for LGBT rights and cultural identity in Eastern Europe, says Andrus K. of Minsk, co-secretary general of the ILGCN Eastern European Secretariat,shared with Budapest.  "It's also important that journalists do not forget about their social responsibility for correct, non-discriminatory coverage of LGBT issues."

   Conference participants applauded the vieo message contribution from Ulrike Lunacek, open lesbian Austrian Green Party European parliamentarian, vice chair of the European Parliament and co-chair of the parliament's LGBT group, describing the progress made by the EU on LGBT issues and the serious challenges ahead for full equality.  

   "Canada is especialy eager to support the LGBT strugge for rainbow rights and culture in this part of the world," says Robert Milkovich, Canadian ILGCN co-ordinator from Toronto.  "Canada has had its share of discriminatory policies against various minorities.  But an evolution has taken place and it's important to understand how that evolution was able to happen."

                                                              Condemnation aimed at USA, Mexico, Bangalesh, Belarus

    The conference strongly condemned the recent murder of 49 at a gay disco in Orlando, Florida, the killing of 7 at a gay club in Mexico, the murder of two gay journalists in Bangladesh by machete-wielding religious fanatics and such psychological, verbal violence illustrated by  Belarussian Christian Democrat leader, Pavel Seviarynets, publically demanding the resignation of organizing committee member Marharyta Taraikevich simply because she openly defended LGBT rights.  

    "We're proud that the conference took place in Lithuania," says Arvydas Vogulis, ILGCN co-ordinator for Lithuania. "All international rainbow events here are an important support for our struggle against Lithuania's ban on information about homosexuality."  

   Also discussed were the important role of LGBT Bears on the local, national and international rainbow barricades to help shatter the homophobic concepts of what gays areally are in all their diversity.

      "The 2nd stage of the ILGCN world rainbow conference this year will take place October 10-14 as part of the ILGCN/International Bears organized  1st Nordic Rainbow History & Arts Month in Umeå, Stockholm and Vilnius," concludes Bill Schiller, secretary general of theILGCN Information Secretariat in Stockholm The Bears International session will take place in Stockholm on October 14.  The stages of the 2015 conference took place in Stockholm and Budapest.

More information:

International Bears Calling friends and contacts:

International Bears Calling friends and contacts:

"Bears on the Barricades/Bear Culture" discussed at the ILGCN World Rainbow Culture Conference (stage 1) Palanga, Lithuania June 10-12, 2016 
(see press release).

Bears International greetings to Kiev:  Ukrainian Bears' first anniversary July 9, 2016.

"Bears on the Barricades/Bear Culture" to be discussed at ILGCN presentation at the Warsaw meeting of Belarus LGBT journalists on July 22, 2016.

"Bear International/Bear Culture" -- seminar at Stockholm Pride on July 26, 2016.  

"Searching for Bears in the far north!" -- part of ILGCN seminar at Umeå Pride October 1-2, 2016  (opening 1st Nordic Rainbow History & Art Month)(Umeå/Stockholm/Vilnius).

"Bear on the Barricades/Bear Culture" -- seminar at the ILGCN World Rainbow Culture Conference (stage 2)  inStockholm October 14, 2016 (part of 1st Nordic Rainbow History & Art Month)  (Announcement of Bears International's art/photography award diploma winners 2016!)

"Searching for Bears in the Baltic zone" -- part of ILGCN presentation in Vilnius October 29-31 at the end of 1st Nordic Rainbow History & Art Month 

Join us...?

Your events to be added to the Bear calendar...?


More Bear art and Bear films have been added to our international Bear Culture Archives.  Do YOU have any contributions...?

Bear Hugs,

Bill Schiller, international secretary for Bears International  

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)