Bill Schiller of the Nordic Rainbow History and Culture Month…

Bill at Baltic Pride Tallinn

Bill at Baltic Pride Tallinn

Plans are underway for the third LGBT History Month in the Nordic zone this coming October, featuring seminars, performance, film screenings, music, dance, drama, poetry, art and photography.

The idea for a Nordic LGBT HM was long ago kindled by LGBT History Month in the UK – and much later spurred by the Hungarian incarnation – Hungary being a nation where the LGBT community are, without financial sponsors or support, fighting homophobic hooligans, hostile politicians, sensationalist media and religious leaders.

We finally concluded that if the Brits and the hard-pressed Hungarians could do it, so could we. Alas, we had few sponsors last year. That being said, there were some much appreciated appearances. The Norwegian Embassy in Finland brought a Norwegian gay activist to Helsinki and Turku, the Södertälje Art Gallery brought a Danish photographer and her work, while two members of the Russian collective Pussy Riot temporarily sought asylum in a far northern Swedish village.

We were extraordinarily grateful that Sue Sanders of the UK LGBT HM came to our Stockholm and Södertälje stages, and Tony Fenwick from the UK organisation Schools OUT joined us in Riga and Vilnius – both at their own expense.

Bill We’ve added to the 12 cities we had last year and have furthered our aim of reaching out beyond capital cities. We also hope to emphasise contacts with rainbow colleagues on the eastern shores of the Baltic where homophobia is rampant and the legacy of Stalin’s draconian and discriminatory laws live on in the memory of many, preventing the elderly from coming out.

Another of our goals is to reach more immigrants and refugees who are regularly overlooked. Also often left on the sidelines are other members of our community: the differently abled, trans, intersex and bears. We were overjoyed that the Bears on Ice joined together with Iceland’s national LGBT organisation Samtökin 78 to stage last year’s events in Reykjavik.

We are also working on our pledge to co-operate this year with the LGBT HMs in the UK and Hungary as well as with colleagues in Belarus who are not able to arrange a Pride or Rainbow History Month due to its dictatorship. At least for the time being, the Nordic and other LGBT HMs will have to salute rainbow history and culture for themselves and on behalf of those who can’t.

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