Skylight

Direktlänk till inlägg 13 november 2013

#SwedenIsGay

Av Sandra - 13 november 2013 19:02

''Sweden: LGBTQ Paradise?

I’m from Singapore, one of the 70 countries in the world that have laws against gay sex. So it’s really kind of awesome coming to Sweden and seeing how progressive it is.

This is (by ILGA’s own ranking) the most gay-friendly country in Europe. It decriminalised gay sex in 1944, and became the very first nation to stop classifying homosexuality as an illness in 1979. Anti-discrimination was enacted in 1987, same-sex partnerships have been legal since 1995, and same-sex marriage has been A-OK since 2009. (Trans folks have been able to legally change their sex since 1972 – another world first for Sweden.)

What really impresses me, however, is the fact that the Swedish government’s paid for over 200 of us activists and scholars to fly in for the conference. As a result, this is the very first ILGA World Conference with such high representation from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. So this isn’t just a nation that believes in LGBT rights for its own people – it’s a place that cares about furthering these ideals across the world.

But there’s a tiny problem here. Some of us bloggers and delegates are just so bloody amazed by Sweden that we despair of our own countries. Is it even possible for us to get to this stage of liberation? Or is it something about the Nordic climate, the DNA of these people, a heritage of Vikings, Nobel Prize ceremonies and lesbian queens? (Seriously, if you haven’t heard of Queen Christina, go read about her. I’ll wait.)

Still, I’ve talked a little to my Swedish colleagues here – Lawen Mohtadi, Karin Lenke, Mahshid Rasti, Deidre Palacios – and what they’ve told me about their country is inspiring. Basically, all the progress they’ve witnessed in their lives has happened because people fought for it.

Deidre, for instance, told me about the 1979 medical declassification of homosexuality. The National Board of Health and Welfare agreed because LGBTQ activists camped out at its office in protest. Hundreds of people – including Swedish gay novelist-activist Jonas Gardell – refused to work: if homosexuality was a sickness, then they could bloody well call in sick.

Lawen recalled the day in 1994 it was announced that civil partnerships would be legal: she was a teenager in a supermarket with her mother, and the headlines in the newspaper caught their eyes. The heroes of this movement were two lesbian celebrities called Eva and Efva (how Biblical!): the pop singer Eva Dahlgren and the jewellery maker Efva Attling. They were the ones who convinced parliament and the people that their love should be recognized by the state. As a result, by 2009, the upgrade to full marriage rights wasn’t even controversial.

Mahshid revealed how struggles for freedom of speech still continue. In 1998, famed lesbian photographer Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin had to battle growing waves of religious homophobia when she exhibited her stunning photo series Ecce Homo, which combined LGBTQ imagery with Christian iconography. (Many of her works hang in the RFLS office, including a huge image from her later series, In Hate We Trust.)

And Karin explained how there are still battles being fought for Swedish LGBTQ rights. Transgender people still have to be sterilised before they are allowed to legally reassign their gender. (It was announced that this law would be overturned in February, but no further action has been taken.) HIV+ persons can be prosecuted for not letting sexual partners know about their status, regardless of virus levels, whether safer sex is practiced, and whether the virus is actually transmitted or not. And even though queer people are legally allowed to apply for refugee status on grounds of LGBTQ persecution, the Swedish immigration authorities make this almost impossible.

The truth is, this country isn’t a queer utopia. I’m told that gay and trans kids are still sometimes thrown out of their homes; that crude gay jokes are still laughed at on national TV. But there’s been so much progress in this country, all within a single person’s lifetime.

Just imagine the life of a gay man born in Sweden in 1926. When he turned 18 in 1944, he gained the legal right to make love.  When he turned 53 in 1979, he won respect as a mentally healthy person. And at the grand old age of 83 in 2009, he was able to marry his partner.

That sequence of events may sound slow to some of you, but I’m from Asia: I think of history in terms of thousands of years, not financial quarters. And remember, history is speeding up. In the last 20 years, we’ve all witnessed dramatic changes in LGBTQ rights in South Africa, Argentina, the United States. These are times of change, and we are agents of that change.

So let’s use this country as our inspiration. Give us a few decades to tip the planet, and our homes might become just as queer-friendly as Sweden – and with much better weather in the winter months.

P.S Some corrections have been made to the list of current LGBT activist causes in Sweden, thanks to Karin Lenke.'' (x)

 

''my swedish friend urged me to watch this tv series where some really religious guy meets an extremely gay guy and (i assume) ends up falling in love with him… and the series is called “never dry tears without gloves”
and he says “everyone who watches it cries at the end, we all do, no need to be afraid”. my wife and her family all sat down to watch this together on tv and all liked it.

summary:
De älskar varandra så mycket. De är så unga. Ändå ska de dö, en efter en. Filmatiseringen av Jonas Gardells berättelse om Rasmus som 1982 flyttar till Stockholm och kastar sig ut i gay-Stockholms nöjesliv ? och om Benjamin som är med i Jehovas Vittnen och en dag knackar på hos Paul, en av varmaste, roligaste och bitchigaste bögar som Gud har skapat.'' (x)


 

 

 
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