Stockholm -- Presentations, performances, music, song, art, photography and film screenings were part of the 5 days -- October 15-18 and 23 -- of the Stockholm stage of 3rd Nordic Rainbow History & Culture Month - October, 2018 going through Nordic cities and towns on both sides of the Baltic Sea.
At the presentations, Australian Ambassador Jonathon Kenna described the advances of LGBT rights in his country, including the recent referendum and law reform legalizing same-sex marriages. He also commented on Australia's decisions to grant asylum to LGBT people persecuted in their home countries because of their sexual orientation.
The Canadian Embassy's political counselor, Eric Petersson, spoke about the LGBT struggle in his country and presented a detailed written report of the history of LGBT culture workers -- both native Canadians and immigrants -- in the fields of art, sculpture, music, literature and film making -- adding that "queer artists have played an integral role in the movement for LGBT rights in Canada and continue to challenge not only homophobia but also colonialism, rascism and sexism."
Veteran Austrian activist Kurt Krickler related Austria's slow, years-long process for each stage of progress in LGBT history. He also described Austria's historic, pioneering co-operation with Eastern Europe helping bring these newly-established LGBT groups into the international forum.
Sidnimax, a gay refugee from Belarus, commented on the increasinly tough homophobic regime in this the last dictatorhip of Eastern Europe while Sweden's Anna-Maria Sörberg, author/journalist commenting on the role of LGBT journalism and the fears that nationalism and populism could use the LGBT movement for undemocratic gains.
Swedish gay policeman Göran Stanton described the history of the Swedish Gay Police -- which he founded -- and international contacts with police in other countries, plus his continuing work on hate crimes. He added that his next gay police conference will be in Vilnius this November with Lithuanian policemen.
Fecundo Ortiz of the Argentine Embassy spoke about the progress made in the LGBT struggle in his country, including the success of achieving Argentina's same-sex marriage law -- which he described as being the "most liberal and inclusive in the world."
Victor Adeniran, artist/dancer and new ILGCN cultural ambassador from Colorado, USA, commented on his colorful art work often including black Americans and native Americans as well as his support for the ILGCN. He also participated in the Stockholm session's LGBT art exhibit at the Gallery Mellanrum in a near-by Stockholm suburb.
John Earhart, head of the Bamses Norweign Bears, commented on the growing importance and visibility of Bear culture and co-operation and exchange with Russia and Ukraine -- part of the 2nd Bears International 4-day Festival included in the 3rd Nordic Month -- and concentrating on Bear culture and co-operation with Eastern Europe. Written Bear messages of Bear solidarity from Moscow, Minsk,Tallinn and Kiev were read aloud.
Invitation from Budapest
The ILGCN co-secretariat for Eastern Europe in Budapest also sent greetings to the Stockholm stage, emphasizing that the homophobic and anti-immigrant regime in Hungary is increasing its threats against human rights and the LGBT community. They added that they hope that future ILGCN and Bear cultural festivals will soon come to Budapest.
Another message of support came from Eddy Kalyanga, ILGCN's "Uganda ambassador in exile" living in northern Sweden but still working with political support and handicraft cultural fundraising for his organizaation, RADO (Rainbow and Diversity Organistion Uganda). He also aimed sharp criticism at Swedish and other embassies abroad refusing to grant visas to Ugandan LGBT activists and culture workers to come to such events at the 3rd Nordic Month.
Rolf Solheim, Norwegian LGBT activist and veteran of the Norwegian Humanists described his nation's history and progress in the LGBT struggle and the pioneering support of the international Humanist movement for LGBT rights around the world.
Ulf Andersson, editor in chief of Amnesty Press - Sweden, described the LGBT situation in many countries such as the worsening situation in some parts of Africa and the former Soviet Union and the recent success of India's supreme court finally ripping up the colonial, British-instituted ban on homosexuality. He also reiterated his determination to continue to give ample coverage of LGBT issues in his publication.
Songs and music were provided by Sweden's Elise Johansson, Peter "Xeller8" Fröberg, Jan Hammarlund. Poetry of Tommy Åberg, Sweden and, international LGBT poetry from Iran, Greece, Finland, France, China, Spain, USA and the U.K..
Art and photography was displayed from the ILGCN/Tupilak international exhibition with works from over 50 countries.
Films screened included "LGBT Monuments" by Swedish/Austrian Willi Reichhold who has been adding new photos of the growing number of such monuments around the world," "Narcissus" -- a ballet film by award-winning, gay Canadian director, Normal Mclaren and "Frans & Hans" with music and song by Jan Hammarlund and actor Robert Fux and drawings by Bitte Andersson about two Swedish gay lovers of the turn of last century, imprisoned for their homosexuality.
Retired Swedish journalist Hans Nordh emphasized the importance of weekly social get-togethers for elderly Swedish gays. Swedish travel agent Henrik Husgafvel described the strong relationships between LGBT sports and culture -- especially at international LGBT events such as the Gay Games.
Bill Schiller of the ILGCN Information Secretariat - Stockholm asked why the Nordic region has no approved LGBT monuments except for the ILGCN/Tupilak "peoples´monument" made out of stones on the Swedish Baltic island of Gotland. He also spoke of the power of LGBT history and culture vs. homophobia, silence and invisibility.
The 3rd Nordic Month started for the third time in Umeå in the far north of Sweden, continuing to Tallinn and Rakvere in Estonia, Södertälje in Sweden and Bergen in Norway. After Stockholm, the 3rd Nordic Month continues to Helsinki (October 15-November 15) , Espo and Turku, and Oslo on October 30. Vilnius will be in November, and Riga in February, 2019.
More information from the ILGCN Information Secretariat (face book, www.ilgcn.tupilak.org) firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Festheart film festival organizers in Estonia. Victor Adeniran at Gallery Mellanrum, Stockholm