Monday, August 4, 2008

11th Year in 2008: First ILGCN conference stages in North America

World Rainbow Culture:
Helsinki, Minneapolis, Toronto

Stockholm – Rainbow Culture from China to Belarus, North America to Iran to the Nordic region, LGBT refugees and global LGBT history – will be some of the topics of seminars, music, photo, art, exhibitions and performances at the three stages of this year’s world cultural conferences of the ILGCN (International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network).

“We are proud to include the ILGCN conference stage in Helsinki in the annual Tribade Day & Night Festival,” says Anne Jaaskelainen , festival co-ordinator. This event has also been extended to September 13 and 14th.

“We are pleased to have the first ILGCN conference in North America – September 19-21, 2008,” explains Nick Tretter, secretary general of the ILGCN History Secretariat . “We’ll have seminars on Chinese gay poetry, LGBT life in the United States and battles on the Eastern European barricades -- as well as exhibitions looking at LGBT history around the globe.”

The event will be held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul and will include a performance of the symphony orchestra – a first in ILGCN conferences.

“At the Toronto stage in November, we want to give a special focus on LGBT refugees around the world and the situation of the rainbow struggle in Iran and on LGBT Iranians forced to flee from that country,” says Michael Gfroerer, secretary general of the ILGCN North America Secretariat . This will be carried out together with the LGBT group at the University of Toronto.

Free Entrance, No Travel Grants

As usual, all three conference stages are free of charge, although some cultural events requiring the rental of locales may make entrance fees necessary. ILGCN world conferences are often divided between different cities to make accessibility more possible even for those without much travel funds, since the network survives only through donations and has no possibility of providing travel scholarships.

“At these stages, we’ll also announce this year’s ILGCN awards honoring special contributions to the LGBT world of culture – and also approve next year’s and future conference sites – which we hope will be in Budapest, Bucharest and Istanbul,” says Bill Schiller, secretary general of the ILGCN Information Secretariat in Stockholm . “We welcome any future candidates as well in this global effort to promote the international use of LGBT culture to combate homophobia, silence, provincialism and pink dollar commercialism that puts profit higher than solidarity.”

Interested ILGCN cultural ambassadors and national co-ordinators – and other rainbow cultural workers -- are especially welcome to participate in the conference stages. The ILGCN is supported by Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers), the Nordic Rainbow Council and the Nordic Rainbow Humanists.