Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stockholm Went Rainbow Last Week

The Annual Stockholm Gay Pride Parade held for 15th time here in the capital on Saturday (August 4th, 2012) with glitter, carnival, flamboyant costumes and strong political statements. The festival which was started last week on Tuesday (July 31st 2012) and was organized by The Stockholm Pride organization fetched hundreds of thousands of local LGBT groups, merry makers, tourists, and a few LGBT activists at home and from abroad. This year's festival hosted various seminars, debates, photo exhibitions, concerts during the whole week and raised issues related to LGBT asylum seekers, sexuality and gender, HIV/Aids, violence against women etc. This year's theme was tillsamans which means together, didn't go without controversy. According to Justice Party's on-line magazine, the latest issue of the magazine QX quoted festival manager Alf Kjeller as saying "Pride will be an arena for the entire community, we should not be political," and eventually quiet a good number local disgruntled LGBTQ activists aka Anarchists (mainly working class/unemployed/low-income earners & the youth) distanced themselves from it by holding their own Parade outside the official Gay Parade House downtown at small cafe to show their protest against the inclusion of authorities which deport LGBT asylum seekers to gay hostile countries and companies that make profits out of these deportations. These local activist didn't participate in this year's Parade due to the organizers' indifference to English Defense League's rally which took place later the same afternoon. The organizers, however, rejected these allegations adding that this year's motto is 'togetherness' so everybody's value is welcomed. Even though, some critics accused this annual event's original meaning of fighting against discrimination of LGBT group was hijacked by a financial stunt for high income earners, a  rather a gross and ostentatious show of tasteless exhibitionism and not being a forum to raise awareness and understanding about the issues of LGBTQ community; there were a few activists from Iran and Russia which made a statement about the ongoing harassment and killings of LGBT groups in those respective countries.

PS. Thanks for borrowing the camera (mine is destroyed by an angry SL bus-driver last month) and RFSL's Newcomers asylum-group for offering Pride's free entrance ticket; otherwise I wouldn't be able to capture these moments in real time. 

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