Monday, September 11, 2017


   Stockholm -- An international gathering of Bears and Bear organizations saluted Bear culture in the Swedish capital on a two-day Bear International event September 6-7, 2017 with presentations, art work and films.

    One of the aims of the event was to illustrate some of the works of Bear International Art Diploma winners 2016 and 2017  -- this time including Charlie Hunter and Mike Wyeld of Canada/UK and Luis Loras of Spain -- whose works were highly appreciated by the audiences.

   One presentation in person came from John Earhart, chairman of Norway Bears (Den Norske Bamseklubben) focusing on exchanges  between the Norwegians and Bear organizations in Russia, Ukraine and Estonia.  He also commented on  and past and future Norwegian visits to Moscow and St. Petersburg as welcome by the Russians struggling with Putin's ban on "homosexual propaganda." 

      Andrus  K. of the new Belarus Bear group, Lokys, -- in Stockholm for a international journalist conference -- expressed a strong desire for increased LGBT contacts with Nordic Bear organizations and with other colleagues in this the last dictatorship in Eastern Europe.  He also described intensive efforts to educate Belarus journalists working in a very homophobic media to understand the importance of LGBT rights and culture.

                                                       New Nordic Bear Website Spreading Information Thoughout the Nordic zone and beyond

     Joakim J. of the Nordic Bears described their creation of a new Nordic Bear website to provide current information on Bear organizations and events in the Nordic area, eventually to include activities of colleagues in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
     Bill Schiller of Bears International explained the organizations aims to promote Bear culture and international solidarity.  The network is open not only to men but also to women, trans, bi-sexuals, immigrants, refugees, HIV positives, differently-abled and queer-minded.  "We want to break the stereotype concept -- that Bears are only interested in beers, parties and sex hidden away in underground pubs -- but to confirm that Bears are also producers of high-quality art, music and films -- and proudly take their place on the rainbow barricades such as at local Prides, Baltic Prides and other LGBT events --  especially important in Eastern Europe where political and religious leaders and a homophobic media insist that gays are only "half men" -- undeserving of human rights or protection from discrimination and violence," Schiller adds.

                                                  Bear culture Events Inspired by Colleagues in Tallinn

    "The promotion of Bear Culture was inspired by the Bearty-Tallinn Bear organization in the Estonian capital," Schiller says, noting that the Estonians sent greetings to Stockholm but were unable to participate in person as they were attending an international Bear festival in Sitges, Spain. At their annual event in Tallinn, the Estonians focused one year on Bear art and photography, the next year on music and song and in 2018 the focus will be on Bear films.

     A message from the Ukranian Bears mentioned that only a few Bears participated in Kiev Pride this year, but that the chief Pride organizer is urging the Bears to increase their  number next year and to march under the Bear flag. The Ukrainian Bears are calling on Bear colleagues in the Nordic region to join them at the event in Kiev next June.

  The two-day Bear cultural event was organized with the ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) Information Secretariat-Stockholm with the support of Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) and Nordic Bears-Stockholm. It took place at three Stockholm venues -- the PositivHIVa group local (for men having sex with men), the SLM locale and the gay-friendly Stockholm pub, Secret Garden located on the Old Town city island.

More information:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


PRESS RELEASE                                                                                       August 30, 2017 

2nd NORDIC RAINBOW HISTORY & ART MONTH -- October, 2017      ​ 

     Stockholm -- Preparations continue for this the second annual Nordic LGBT History and Art Month --  again including Nordic capitals and smaller cities on both sides of the Baltic Sea -- such as Umeå, Stockholm, Södertälje, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Vilnius, Jönköping and Rakvere, Estonia.

     The programs include presentations, seminars, art and photography, film screenings, performances, music, poetry and literature readings – part of an event inspired by other LGBT history months in London, Edinburgh, Chicago, Budapest and elsewhere.  The event is being organized by the ILGCN (international rainbow culture network) in collaboration with Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers), Nordic Rainbow HumanistsBears International and local and national LGBT organizations and festivals.

     The historic Month begins once again in northern Sweden at Umeå Pride on October 1st. The Month also joins the first-ever rainbow film festival, Hartfest, in the northern Estonian city of Rakvere October 6-8, following events in the Estonian capital of Tallinn

                                                      British, Danish Swedish Participation

    At the Stockholm and Södertälje stages of the Month, the "guest of honor" and key-note speaker will be Professor Sue Sanders -- who launched the London LGBT History Month in 2005 – and who will also provide seminars on UK rainbow cultural life and the progress of the British months.  Another special guest at the Stockholm and Södertälje events will be Birthe Havmöller of Denmark, creator of the global women's art and photography archive, "Feminine Moments,as well as Swedish film maker, Cecilia Neant-Falk, commenting on her work. Music will be provided in Stockholm by the Swedish duo, “Weed,” and in Södertälje by veteran Swedish singer and song-writer, Jan Hammarlund

     The Gothenberg stage is scheduled for October 15-16.   At the Jönköping stage October 21, Njeri Olenkere of RFSL will discribe local LGBT history and culture while Bill Schiller will cover research into Nazi and neo Nazi persecution of LGBT people and the importance of the elderly in the struggle for LGBT culture, identity and history.

     The Reykjavik stage is scheduled for October 24 in the Icelandic capital.  Another British guest at the later days of the Month will be Tony Fenwick of "Schools Out-UK. At the Vilnius stage in October 25-26, Tatiante Kovacova of the Gay Lithuanian League will describe the history of the organization and LGBT culture in this Baltic state. Also, a presentation from the LGBT Journalists Group from neighboring Belarus. – describing their work challenging the hostile, homophobic media in this the last dictatorship in Eastern Europe.

                                         Humanism, Norwegian LGBT History in Helsinki

    The Copenhagen stage is scheduled for October 28-29.  Among the guest speakers at the Helsinki stage October 30-31 will be Rolf Solheim of Oslo-- describing the rainbow history and culture of Norway and the support for LGBT rights by the international humanist movement. Mikko Misha Autio of the LGBT culture center at Bear Park Café and gay theater group in Helsinki will describe his work and the Finnish rainbow cultural scene.

   Special attention at various stages will be given to the LGBT movements in the eastern edge of the Nordic zone -- EstoniaLatvia and Lithuania -- facing fierce intolerance from political and religious leaders, mass media and homophobic hooligans and neo-nazis.  Another aim is the promotion for more LGBT co-operation and exchange between Nordic cities on both sides of the Baltic Sea.
      Yet another focus will be on growing co-operation between Bears in the Nordic region and colleagues in RussiaUkraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe – including the new Belarus Bear group, Lokys – defying homophobic statements by politicians, religious leaders and the mass media claiming that gays are “weak, feminine and only “half men” -- deserving no human rights and no protection from violent attacks.” 

    Other guest speakers will come from refugee/immigrant communities and embassies in the Nordic zone -- including LGBT activists and culture workers forced to seek asylum in Sweden and elsewhere in the Nordic region.  Others will come from the trans communities, the differently-abledHIV positives, and the elderly so often ignored in LGBT events.
More information:   Bill Schiller of the ILGCNTupilak:     

Curators at the LGBT art/film exhibitions at the Södertälje Art Gallery -- (weeks 41/42):
                           Cecilia Neant-Falk (facebook)   and Sarah Florén

Note: All stages of the Nordic Month are without entrance fees open to all interested.   Alas, the 2nd Month has no travel funds although private accommodation may be provided when possible for visiting guests.

    Some Nordic embassies are providing some support for visiting nationals.

Picture:  Golden Viking same-sex emblemsl