• Sweden's news in English

Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats

Solveig Rundquist · 29 Jul 2014, 17:05

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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."
Story continues below…
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 news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Solveig Rundquist (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available