Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ILGCN Information Secretariat - Stockholm (International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network)
Press Release September 30, 2008

Including Salutes to Uganda, Iran, LGBT Exiles Around the World:
2008 World Cultural Conferences:
Finland, USA

Helsinki/Minneapolis-St. Paul/Stockholm—Art, photos, exhibitions, films, musical performances, seminars and discussions characterized the 1st stage of the 2008 ILGCN world rainbow cultural conference in the Finnish capital – November 14-16, part of the annual Tribade Day & Night Festival.

“We hope that the ILGCN input will also be part of our 10th jubilee festival next year,” says Anne Jaaskelainen, festival director and singer/song-writer, who also received the 2008 “Sowelu” award (for outstanding contributions from women in the Nordic sphere) from the Nordic rainbow cultural workers’ organization, Tupilak -- especially honoring her solidarity performances in Eastern Europe.

“We are really pleased to have our new Russian organization participating in the ILGCN conference, says Polina Savchenko from “Coming Out” –
St. Petersburg, and we hope that a future stage of the ILGCN conference can come to our city.”

The conference also approved a project linking the near-by cities of Stockholm-Helsinki-St- Petersburg for future rainbow cultural events, providing mutual co-operation and solidarity.

Also at the conference, the special ILGCN Nordic award “Arco Nordica” was presented to thenational Finnish LGBT organization, SETA for its support for Tribade festivals and ILGCN activities.
Willi Reichhold, Austria-Sweden
1st ILGCN World Cultural Conference in North America

The 2nd stage of this year’s ILGCN world conference took place at University of Minnesota venues in Minneapolis/St. PaulSeptember 19-21, the first ILGCN event ever in the United States. “We are also pleased to put a brighter spotlight on LGBT history and show the first work of our brand new travelling exhibition on this theme,” says Jean Tretter, secretary general of the ILGCN History Secretariat in Minneapolis/St.Paul.

“We are also proud of the conference’s well-attended, special performance of the LGBT Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra—which also gives great emphasis to playing the works of lesbian and gay classical composers,” Tretter adds.

“Our valuable discussions with the leading organizers of Minneapolis Pride and other activists here convince me that there is a real desire to increase American involvement in our battles on the rainbow barricaded in Eastern Europe and the possibilities that more American Prides will invite some of the courageous representatives from Belarus and other nations where the rainbow is still in chains or under siege,” says Bill Schiller, secretary general of the ILGCN Information Secretariat - Stockholm.

Salute to gay researcher and educator, Magnus Hirschfeldt

“We are proud to announce that this year’s ILGCN “Orfeo Iris” award for essential information work about Nazi and neo Nazi persecution of homosexuals goes jointly to the Minnesota Libraries and the Magnus Hirschfeldt Society in Berlin for their outstanding exhibitions marking the 75th birthday of the pioneering Hirschfeldt’s Sexual Institute in Berlin which was destroyed by the Nazis,” adds Tretter.

“Speaking of history, we are pleased to send a salute to the coming October 31 ILGCN event in Krakow lifting a 15th century Swedish-Polish-Hungarian-Russian ruler into the rainbow spotlight – a ceremony organized by Lukasz Palucki, the secretaray general of the ILGCN Eastern European Secretariat -Warsaw, ( -- also to be attended by our ILGCN Hungarian cultural ambassadors,” says Schiller

“We are also proud to announce that the 2008 “Sappho in Paradise” award goes to Ugandan editor in exile, Kizza Musinguzi and his website -- crucial to an African LGBT community facing violent homophobia,” Schiller adds. “We hope the award diploma will be handed out in London where the Ugandan has found asylum.”

The award honors outstanding contributions to LGBT information, books, libraries and publications – and is co-ordinated both by the ILGCN Information Secretariat and the Paradise Press in London. This is the second time the award goes to Africa – earlier going to the Library Project of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe. At both world conference stages, examples from the Tupilak/ILGCN Travelling Art & Photo Exhibition were displayed -- including works from Norway to Latvia, Russia to Denmark, Sweden to Spain, Finland to Germany, and photos of the ILGCN delegation to Bucharest Pride this year.

LBGT’s in Exile & Violence in Iran Focal Points in Canada

The 3rd stage of this year’s ILGCN world conference will take place in Toronto, Canada November 14-16 – giving special attention to LGBT’s in exile and the brutal situation for homosexuals in Iran. This is the first time an ILGCN event is taking place in Canada.

“We are offering a great program of art work, seminars, films and musical performances,” says Michael Gfroerer, secretary general of the ILGCN North American Secretariat – Toronto (he is also an ILGCN “Orfeo Musica” prize winner). “And of course we welcome other ILGCN cultural ambassadors, co-ordinators as well as other rainbow cultural workers to the gathering.”

The Canadian conference also hopes to follow tradition by confirming new ILGCN ambassadors and co-ordinators as well as next year’s world conference sites. Proposals so far have come from Bucharest, Budapest, St. Petersburg and Istanbul. ILGCN world conferences are traditionally shared by different cities to make it easier for those unable to afford travelling long distances, since the ILGCN has no travel funds for participants.

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