Pride 2019: How to celebrate in Sweden

Madeline Tersigni
Madeline Tersigni - [email protected]
Pride 2019: How to celebrate in Sweden
The Gothenburg Pride Parade in 2017. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Swedish Pride means a month or more of parades, talks, and other celebrations for the country's gay, trans and queer community and allies. Here are five things to know about Pride in one of the world's most LGBTQ-friendly countries.


1. A year of milestones

Swedes have plenty to be proud of this year, with 2019 marking multiple milestones for the LGBTQ + community.

One example is that this year is the fifth anniversary of Sápmi Pride. Sápmi Pride takes place in Northern Lapland region of Sweden to commemorate the indigenous Sami members of the LGBTQ+ community in the area. The celebration came from the initiative "Queering Sápmi," which encouraged queer Sami people to be open about their identity despite their culture’s traditionally conservative nature. 

On a national level, 2019 is the tenth anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage. On May 1st, 2009, Sweden became the seventh country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, and this year's Pride will celebrate this achievement. Looking further back, this year is also the 75th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality. This law is often seen as the beginning of a more inclusive Sweden, which is now regularly ranked as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly places in the whole world, even while there still remains progress to be made.

And this year the entire world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Pride. In November 1969, campaigners proposed the very first Pride parade in New York City, and the festivals have now spread around the world.

Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad

2. Most Prides per capita

Sweden has the most Pride festivals per capita of any place in the world, with over 30 different celebrations going on throughout the country.

From West Pride in Gothenburg to East Pride in Norrköping, no-one in Sweden should have to travel too far to find a festival. The biggest and best known is Stockholm Pride, the largest Pride celebration in Scandinavia since 1998 which this year kicks off on July 29th. The festival is jam-packed with a parade, concerts (at Pride Park) special talks with LGBTQ+ icons at their Pride House, and even a "kinky neighbourhood" to appeal to a more adventurous group. 

You can find more details on the Svenska Pride website.

Photo: Gregor Fischer/TT

3. Volunteers welcome

There are thousands of positions available for volunteers throughout all of the different festivals in Sweden. Stockholm Pride usually enlists more than 600 different volunteers to help out during the excitement, from positions ranging from event set-up to cashiers to security. Besides Stockholm, the Pride celebrations looking for volunteers are Borås, Kristianstad, Trollhättan, Helsingborg, Sundsvall, Malmö, Pite Älv, Gävle, and Hudiksvall, but be aware that in most cases there's a registration deadline of late June.

All of the above locations have promised to provide food and drinks for their volunteers and some have even offered to grant free entry into all of the other events. If you're considering volunteering, remember to bring essentials such as bandaids and drinking water as well as your rainbow flags and glitter, and make sure to take time to meet new people and experience the many varied events on offer.

Photo: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan/TT

4. Check Facebook for Updates

Most Pride organizations have their own website, filled with all of the information you need to know for the upcoming events, but the smaller Pride festivals outside of the big cities tend to rely solely on their Facebook pages, meaning these events are easily overlooked for those not in the know.

Stepping outside of the place you already know to experience Pride in a different city allows you to see more of Sweden and experiencing different ways of celebrating the LGBTQ community.

Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

5. Just be a Swede

Swedes fight for better LGBTQ+ inclusive rights both on a national and international level, acknowledging there is still a long way to go. In the past few years, the country has made tremendous strides, securing same-sex weddings in churches all around Sweden and improving healthcare for trans individuals. And on a global scale, Sweden aims to help those who have been persecuted for their sexual orientation. 

Fighting homophobia Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum 



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