Sunday, November 22, 2015


StockholmNovember 10, 2015


Stockholm -- Poetry, presentations, photography and art work characterized the rainbow November 9 "Kristallnacht" -- international day against fascism event in the Swedish capital on November 9, 2015 at the Secret Garden pub o the Old Town island.   

The event was dedicated to "Rainbow Refugees" -- noting that LGBT refugees flee not only at time from warfare and destruction, but also sometimes from homophobic communities, neighbors and even family members.  The event also expressed sharp criticism of Swedish migration authorities at times denying asylum to LGBT refugees by doubting their sexual orientation or arguing that they can return to their homelands safely without persecution or execution as long as they "hide their homosexuality."

A passionate declaration from the northern Swedish city of Umeå was read out load on behalf of 19-year-old Somalian gay, Ahmed Abdi -- repeatedly denied asylum in Sweden and to be sent back home -- facing intolerance and betrayal  from his own family and possible death.

Other presentations were made by activists in the Swedish LGBT group and the editor of Amnesty Press -- comparing growing intolerance in Europe today to the violence of the 1930's as well as the burning of refugee centers in Sweden.  Other presentations came from a Swedish author looking at the torture, imprisonment and execution of opponents to the Franco regime in Spain, and also about the long-forgotten gay concentration camp set up by Franco in the Canary Islands 10 years after the liberation of Auschwitz.

Poetry was dedicated to memories of Kristallnacht and reflecting on attitudes of intolerance in Europe today, and an appeal was made for contributions to the refugee fund of the national Swedish LGBT organization, RFSL -- dealing with a rising flood of LGBT refugees coming to Sweden.

Shattering Stereotypes, Broadening Rainbow Culture

The photography-filled presentation by the Viking Bears illustrated not only the aim of providing space for gays who don't necessarily fit the standard  stereotypes but also the importance of participating in international as well as local events, and for emphasizing Bear culture as a valid part of LGBT culture today.

The Stockholm event was organized by the ILGCN (international rainbow cultural workers)Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers)Nordic Rainbow Humanists, and the Viking Bears-Stockholm .

"We are very pleased to have participated in this event organized by the Amsterdam-based United, linking many other organizations all over the world to commemorate this day all at the same time," says Bill Schiller of Tupillak and the ILGCN.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Budapest -- The 2nd stage of the 2015 ILGCN (international rainbow cultural network) World Rainbow Culture Conference took place in the Hungarian capital between November 16-18, 2015 -- with presentations on LGBT life and culture in Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Belarus, Canada, Russia, China, Lithuania and Iran. This followed the first stage of this year's conference in Stockholm on May 4-6, 2015.

"This was an important meeting of Hungarians and international cultural workers and activists and we hope this will be followed by more such gatherings here," say Maria Santa and Thomas Lovas, Hungarian conference co-organizers.

Special presentations also focused on the support of the international humanist movement for LGBT rights, the international anti-fascist movement's support of LGBT people, the role of the Bear community in the international struggle for LGBT rights, identity and culture, and the persecution of Nazi and neo Nazi of LGBT people.

Conference participants visited the offices of the national LGBT organization, the Háttér Society, to hear about its 20-year-long work for LGBT rights and culture, and the impressive collection of books, magazines, posters, articles, CD's and films in the Háttér Archives as well as a history of the ILGCN movement in Hungary. The conference also adopted a sharply-worded protest declaration against the right-wing Hungarian government's negative attitude towards refugees, immigrants, Jews, Roma and LGBT people. (see below)

"We are especially grateful to receive facilities free of charge for this 0-budget conference," says Bill Schiller of the ILGCN International Secretariat-Stockholm, saluting the Hungarian Liberal Party, the Democratic Coalition Party, the International Anti-Fascist Office and the Budapest gay bar, Habroló.

Live music and song was provided by the Continuo Trio of Budapest -- the ILGCN cultural ambassadors of Hungary -- and former Swedish ILGCN ambassador, Peter Fröberg. Art and photos from the ILGCN/Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers) International Art Collection were also displayed.

Film screenings included "Out of Iran" by Canadian/Iranian Farid Haerinejad, "We Can be Gay Today" about Lithuania's 1st Pride march by Frenchman Francoise Message, "Hunted" on the persecution of gays in Russia by Britain's Ben Steele, "Mama Rainbow" about parents of gays by China's Popo Fan, "Rainbow's Song" about elderly LGBT's by Sweden's Nasrin Pakkho and "LGBT Monuments" by Sweden's Willi Reichhold.

The 2015 ILGCN Rainbow Warrior award was announced at the conference, honoring openly gay Hungarian politician and LGBT rights activist, László Sebián-Petrovszki of the Democratic Party. (this year's award is shared with the SLM Leather Men in Stockholm celebrating their 40th anniversary.)

Conference greetings were received and sent to ILGCN organizers in Lithuania, planning next year's world rainbow culture conference (stage 1) in Vilnius and the Baltic beach town of Palanga between June 10-13, 2016 -- right before the rotating Baltic Pride taking place in 2016 in the Lithuanian capital.


Also part of the ILGCN conference, the 1st European Rainbow Humanist meeting took place in Budapest to help combat religious intolerance towards LGBT communities, approving plans to try to host future LGBT humanist seminars at Prides and other LGBT events in Europe -- and approving the first ERH chairman, Dávid Veres of Budapest and international secretary Andrus K. of Belarus. "We are proud to head this first European-wide humanist organization and see this as a good tool to combat religious and political persecution and homophobia," they say.

Nordic Rainbow Humanist chairman, Rolf Solheim, and international secretary, Bill Schiller, also announced the winner of the 2015 Nordic Rainbow Humanist award diploma -- going to the Bangladesh humanist and free-thinker Dr. Aviji Roy, recently murdered by religious fanatics, and his organization Mukto Mona "fighting against violent intolerance and persecution and for writing the country's first book on homosexuality."


"Participants at this ILGCN Cultural Conference in Budapest mindful of the long struggle of the Hungarian People for freedom and independence against the Ottoman and Austrian Empires nevertheless urge the Hungarian people and authorities to recognize the damage done to Hungarian society by policies which suppress or discriminate against minorities such as homosexuals, Jews, Roma and refugees. Gay and Jewish personalities have played a substantial role in world cultural development. As evidence of this we mention only Einstein (Science), Tchaikovsky (Music) and Leonard Bernstein (Music) as well as Michelangelo (Science & Art). We call on the Hungarian people to take steps to change the backward-looking anti-minority policies."