• Sweden's news in English
 

Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats

Published: 29 Jul 2014 16:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Jul 2014 17:05 GMT+02:00

Stockholm Pride, the largest pride festival in Scandinavia, kicked off for the 17th year in a row on Monday. The Pride Parade, the highlight each year as a rainbow of jovial gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters march through town, will be held on Saturday, August 2nd.

A record number of ministers and party leaders - at least eight - will be in attendance, including Education Minister Jan Björklund, EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson, Equality Minister Maria Anrnholm, and Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag. The majority of party leaders will also be attending, with only two clear exceptions: Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund and Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson.

In Hägglund's case, the party leader's absence is not a snub but a matter of priorities.

"Hägglund doesn't go to demonstrations in general, and he has a lot to do," Johan Ingerö, Hägglund's press secretary, told The Local. "I'm not even sure if he'll be in Stockholm on Saturday." Hägglund will, however, be present at the party leader debates on Friday.

But when it comes to the Sweden Democrats, there appeared to be venom on both sides.

IN PICTURES: The Stockholm Pride Parade 2014

Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats party (Sverigedemokraterna, SD) have been criticised by other parties and many in the gay rights movement as homophobic and xenophobic.

When Swedish media reported on Tuesday that Åkesson was only one of two party leader's to 'snub' the festival's parade, the party's reputation for being 'traditional', racist and conservative seemed to coincide with their lack of support for the Stockholm Pride.

But even if Åkesson had wanted to go, he wouldn't have been allowed: Stockholm Pride itself has banned not just Åkesson, but the Sweden Democrat party as a whole from participating in its events.

"The management of Stockholm Pride has decided that the Sweden Democrats do not share our values and therefore are not welcome," Maria Paulsson, press secretary at Stockholm Pride, told Dagens Opinion earlier this month. She said no other organizations were banned, as far as she knew.

"It's not primarily because of their stance on family and LGBT issues, but because we see them as a racist party, and the LGBT fight and the fight against racism go hand and hand," Sandra Ehne, chairman of Stockholm Pride, told The Local. 

Ehne stressed that Stockholm Pride is a non-profit association consisting of many members, and that it aims to be a safe community for its members. 
 
"Their politics are built on racist grounds, and these grounds usually include homophobia. We do not want to give our platform to a party which works against us throughout the year. And our members need to feel safe," Ehne concluded.
 
The board of Stockholm Pride made a collective decision that "all actors who do not share our values are not welcome," Ehne said.
 
Thus far the ban has only been applied to the Sweden Democrats party, but Ehne said the same would apply to other organizations which threatened the LGBTQ community.
 
SD equality spokeswoman Paula Bieler told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that the party would have liked to participate.

"It's a remarkable approach that not all parties with political influence are represented," she said. 

However, Martin Kinnunen, director of press for the Sweden Democrats, sang a different tune when he spoke with The Local on Tuesday.

"We've got no interest in walking in the parade and we never have before. It's their demonstration and they can do what they like."

Åkesson's own press secretary, Linus Bylund, agreed:

"It is not interesting to Åkesson."

He added, however, that the Pride festival and the political debates at Pride on Friday are two different things - and that it was "unfortunate" that the party was not invited to the debate. 

The debates are held during Pride each election year by The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL).
 
Ulrika Westerlund, director of RFSL, said that the party was not invited out of consideration for festival participants.
 
"We do not want to offer SD a platform where they can normalize racist politics," Wersterlund told Svenska Dagbladet.  "We see SD as a racist party, and also trans- and homophobic."
 
She said that festival attendees who were both LBGTQ and members of a non-white race may not feel safe with SD at the event. 

The absence of Christian Democrat and Sweden Democrat party leaders coincided with a report by RFSL on Monday which claimed that the Green Party was the most gay-friendly party. The Sweden Democrats were ranked as the least gay-friendly, and the Christian Democrats were second least friendly. 

Christian Democrat spokesman Johan Ingerö  didn't give much weight to the results.
 
"It's their survey and we respect that. We stand for all people's equal worth. And then of course everyone can take their own attitude about it."
 
Sweden Democrat Martin Kinnunen was more outspoken.
 
"I don't believe that homosexuals are homogeneous in their political views," Kinnunen told The Local. 
 
"I think it's wrong to assume that all homosexuals think the same way and put them in one group like this. They can decide for themselves what politics to vote for. We don't place any importance on people's sexual preferences, but it's wrong for an organization to stamp such a large group with how they should think."

For more stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Solveig Rundquist (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spotify chief unveils Sweden innovation bash

Spotify chief unveils Sweden innovation bash

Spotify founder Daniel Ek and Avicii's manager Ash Pournouri are set to launch a major new tech and music event to reflect Stockholm's status as a lucrative hive of start-up activity, Billboard reports. READ  

The Local List
The ultimate guide to Sweden's party leaders
The outgoing leader of Sweden's Christian Democrats, Göran Hägglund, with the new leader, Ebba Busch Thor. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The ultimate guide to Sweden's party leaders

Two are pregnant, four are under 40 and nearly half are women. As the Christian Democrats elected their first female party head on Saturday, The Local's beginners' guide to Swedish political leaders reveals who has clung on to power and whose heads have rolled in the months since Sweden's general election in September 2014. READ  

Sweden Democrats boot seven in extremism row
From left, Sweden Democrat youth leaders Gustav Kasselstrand and William Hahne on Monday. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Sweden Democrats boot seven in extremism row

Seven people have been expelled from the Sweden Democrats - including the two heads of the nationalist party's youth wing - in a row over far-right extremism, the party announced on Monday afternoon. READ  

Swedish arms giant one of Europe's 'cleanest'
An Air Force pilot uses a simulator to fly a Saab Gripen fighter aircraft at the LAAD Defense and Security International Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, April 14th 2015. Photo: AP/TT

Swedish arms giant one of Europe's 'cleanest'

Swedish defence giant Saab does more than most other European arms companies to tackle corruption but should give staff better access to whistleblowing channels, according to a Transparency International report released on Monday. READ  

Taxman: Cosmetic surgery is not deductible
Winners of the Miss Plastic Hungary beauty pageant. If they lived in Sweden they would not be able to make deductions for breast implants, nose jobs or face lifts. Photo: AP/TT

Taxman: Cosmetic surgery is not deductible

With next Monday the deadline for filing tax returns, Swedes will try to get the taxman to cover the cost of everything from milk to plastic surgery, explains a tax agency worker who has seen it all. READ  

My Swedish Career
Building my Swedish lego dream brick by brick
James Gill in his lego shop. Photo: The Local/Bobbie Carlson

Building my Swedish lego dream brick by brick

James Gill was working as a chef in the UK when he one day decided to combine his two passions in life: Sweden and Lego. The Local's reporter Bobbie Carlson visited his shop in Stockholm - and discovered that there is far more to the famous children's toy than meets the eye. READ  

Head rolls in Sweden’s private jets scandal
Anders Nyrén attends SCA's annual general meeting in Stockholm on April 15th 2015. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT.

Head rolls in Sweden’s private jets scandal

A major corporate scandal involving the “excessive” use of private jets claimed a fresh victim on Monday as the main owners of investment giant Industrivärden blocked the under-fire CEO Anders Nyrén from taking over as chairman. READ  

US rap mogul Jay Z defends Tidal venture
Jay Z's got 99 problems but Tidal ain't one. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

US rap mogul Jay Z defends Tidal venture

Rapper Jay Z has defended his Tidal streaming service as viable and a boon to artists after a much-criticized start to the revamped company has given its main Swedish rivals at Spotify little cause for concern. READ  

Nepal earthquake
Swedes join earthquake rescue efforts in Nepal
Residents rescue items from the debris of a house damaged in Saturday's earthquake in Nepal. Photo: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

Swedes join earthquake rescue efforts in Nepal

An expert team from Sweden is set to travel to Nepal on Monday to help with a search and rescue operation following a devastating earthquake which is believed to have claimed 3,200 lives so far. READ  

Rush-hour chaos for Swedish rail commuters
It's not the first time train delays cause headaches for Swedish commuters. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Rush-hour chaos for Swedish rail commuters

A faulty railway switch in Stockholm was expected to cause rush-hour headaches for travellers across Sweden on Monday morning after several trains were cancelled and others diverted. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Leonore meets Pope Francis
VIDEO: How did these Swedish cops become New York heroes?
Business & Money
Five crucial things you need to know before you move to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: April 25th
National
What's on in Sweden: April 23rd - 30th
Blog updates

24 April

Editor’s blog, April 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Spring has well and truly arrived, as evidenced by the start of strawberry season. The..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
How the Stockholm School of Economics changes expat lives
National
Brits in Sweden face NHS black hole
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
Business & Money
The Swedish regions where you're least likely to stay jobless
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd
Sport
Sweden's Eriksson joins row over foreign England player quotas
National
MEP says ignoring migrant crisis like 'Sweden's Holocaust appeasement'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Swedish mining town that's being moved
National
How much would you pay for first Swedish strawberries of 2015?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Photo: TT
National
Get set for a sunny week in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Why are expats less likely to settle down with Swedes?
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Gallery
People-watching: April 1st
National
The Local's best April Fools' gags
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,338
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
?>