Sunday, December 16, 2012

From Sweden with Love to Latvia and Belarus
Press Release November 29, 2012 

Riga: Swedish & Latvian Rainbow Meeting

Riga – Visiting Swedish activists and culture workers met with Latvian colleagues in Riga on November 29 to discuss rainbow cultural co-operation which also includes colleagues in neighboring Estonia, Lithuania and Belarus in a mini-festival organized by Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers), the ILGCN (international rainbow cultural network) Information Secretariat-Stockholm, the national Latvian LGBT organization Mozaika and the Golden Bar in the Latvian capital.

At the Golden Bar: Yolanta & Olga no. 1
Sabine & Olga no. 2 (photos by Peter Fröberg)

This "mini-festival included Nordic and Polish rainbow music, and art work from the Tupilak & ILGCN International Art & Photo Exhibtion with special spotlights on work from Vladik and Lily Mossan of Belarusand Alice T. of Estonia.

"We are happy to have this meeting and plan on future co-operation," says Sabine Tropa of Mozaika.

"This meeting has been very valauble and part of very imporant work" says Jolanta Cihanovica, psychologist/ actress/performer -- new ILGCN co-ordinator for Latvia and Olga Sidorenko -- artist/doll maker and new ILGCN cultural ambassador for Latvia. "We are also planning rainbow cultural events for coming international events such as the ILGA European conference -- and hope that Tupilak and the ILGCN will work together with us."

"We are pleased to give support to the Latvian LGBT community and are happy to extend this to visiting foreign delegations and visitors and international LGBT co-operation," says Anatolijs Skangalis, manager of the Golden Bar.

Pioneer Latvian Trans, Youngsters,
and the Need for Co-operation with Belarus

"Great to meet new LGBT activists and cultural workers in Riga," says Swedish singer/musican Peter Fröberg who has participated in a number of rainbow events in Riga and an earlier ILGA European conference in the Latvian capital. "Especially impressive was the meeting with Olga -- a pioneering trans person struggling for her rights in a hostile environment during the Soviet occupation. We hope she will also join us in Stockholm to meet colleagues to share dramatic experiences and history."

"I had great pleasure showing the Swedish delegates the Old Town of Riga and discussing future co-operation and exchanges -- and a visit to Stockholm which I have so far never seen," says Latvian translator Janis M., who works with Mozaika-supported web site for young LGBTs -- a web group which has meetings at the Mozaika office and joins in monthly non-alcohol rainbow youth meetings at the Golden Bar.

At the Golden Bar: Latvian participants
Czech participant (photos by Peter Fröberg)

"We noted also the hard work colleagues are doing in Estonia to the north and to the south, Lithuanian's efforts to arrange the next Baltic Pride in Vilnius, and with the importance of having mutual co-operation and exchange with our colleagues in Belarus -- facing severe homohoiba in this last dictatorship in Eastern Europe which may seem so far away but which in fact borders the Nordic region," says Bill Schiller of Tupilak and the ILGCN.

"We are also pleased that Olga Sidorenko and Jolanta Cihanovica will visit Sweden in the near future," Schiller concludes.

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