Sunday, May 31, 2015

Press Release: Stockholm, May 10, 2015

ILGCN World Rainbow Cultural Conference

takes place in Stockholm

Stockholm -- The first stage of the 2015 ILGCN (international rainbow cultural network) World Rainbow Cultural Conference has taken place in the Swedish capital May 4-6 including seminars on LGBT rights, identity and culture in China, the Philippines, Uganda, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Hungary, Canada, the Baltic states, Latin America and elsewhere.

One special seminar highlighted the homophobia and censorship in the news media controled by the dictatorship of Belarus -- a seminar presented by participating gay Belarus journalists from Minsk. Another focused on the determination of such publications as Sweden's Amnesty Press to include LGBT rights and culture in its regular human rights coverage.

Another presentations came from LGBT Amnesty working on the case of murdered South African lesbian, Noxolo Nogwas. The British documentary film by Ben Steele, "Hunted: the War against Gays in Russia" -- about vigilante groups trapping and beating up gays in Russia -- was followed by a panel discussion with visitors from Russia, Belarus and Kyrgystan thanks to assistance from Sweden's Östgruppen for human rights and democracy in Eastern Europe and Sweden's Central Asia group working with human rights in this area.

Other Swedish presentations came from the Rainbow Library in the northern city of Umeå, the Museum of Work of Norrköping on its "elderly LGBT documentation project", Gay Camps and its international program and the PositiHIVagruppen working with men having sex with men, with other seminars dealing with the cultural identity of trans persons and the differently abled and the eldery -- underlined by the documentary film "The Rainbow 's Song" on the elder LGBT's by Nasrin Pakkho, the work with HIV/AIDS in Sweden, the Swedish "Activists in Residence" program which invites in cultural workers from Eastern Europe, and the Swedish Viking Bears underlining the contribution of those breaking the sometimes narrow sterotypes of what LGBT people look like.

Seminars, Music, Art, Performances

This was the first ILGCN world conference in Stockholm since 1998. Others have been held in Warsaw/Auschwitz, Rio de Janeiro, Minneapolis and London. The conference was given crucial support by Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers) and the Nordic Rainbow Humanists -- with an important presentation by Rolf Solheim on the LGBT movement in Norway and the support of the humanist movement for LGBT rights and culture.

The conference also included music and sång performances, poetry, film screenings, art, photography and performances as well as a large exhibit of Ugandan handicraft sold to support safe houses in Uganda giving refuge to persecuted LGBT people.

Award diplomas handed out during the conference went to Swedish "Dyke Hard" film maker, Bitte Andersson, Russian Elena Klimova facing trial and prison for defyinng the Russian law banning information on homosexuality, and the LGBT organization of the Faroe Islands.,

The venutes includes the local of the PositHIVagruppen, the pub Secreta Garden, the local of Senses - human rights group, the gay pub Side Track and the gay-run café Röda Rummet -- essential co-operation for what was largely a 0-budget event..

The 2nd stage of this year's conference will be held in Palanga -- with invitations from Lithuanian collegues to the event read out at the confernce.. Contact the ILGCN Information Secretariat-Stockholm or Lithuanian ILGCN organizers, Darius or Arvydas Vogulis.