The guests all wore headphones, dancing in silence on the roof of the concrete and glass monolith Kulturhuset (Culture House) in central Stockholm as a storm swept in over Sweden. These “silent block parties” allow those craving to dance to tune in and turn up the music without disturbing any neighbours. Out of earshot does not mean out of sight or mind, however.
“Here in Sweden we can party, but let’s not forget what it looks like in other countries,” festival-goer Sebastian Olsson told the TT news agency. It is his tenth time at the festival, which has run for 34 years.
Stockholm Pride Week – the biggest in Scandinavia – thus came to a sodden start following a week of controversy among Sweden’s Baltic neighbours. Not only did gay haters in Lithuania pelt the pro-LGBT rights Swedish politician Birgitta Ohlsson with eggs, but her ministerial colleague Carl Bildt slammed the Russians for their increasingly dire record on respecting sexual diversity.
Hate-mongering against LGBT persons on the rise in Russia after recent law. Repulsive. Inhuman. http://t.co/xjRKtrRp8R
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) July 29, 2013
This year’s festival theme is “We Are Family”, meant to celebrate queer families and same-sex marriages.
The annual pride parade will take place on Saturday through central Stockholm. It is customary for many of Sweden’s top politicians to walk with the community along the route.