Newsletter June 2023

Dear SFQers
As I write this, West Pride is in full swing, and we are also working on preparations for SFQ’s inclusion conference and Stockholm Pride. The conference will be held in Stockholm on July 30, the day before the start of Stockholm Pride.

Sign-up form for the conference:

Beside the two pride festivals and the conference, this newsletter also mentions the congress and our new membership system. The content is deivided into the following headlines:

1. Speech about LGBTQ-students to and from Sweden
3. Fundamentalists outside of Pride Park
4. Inclusion conference
5. Congress & Föreningshuset


Speech about LGBTQ-students to and from Sweden
On Monday (the 5th of June) we had a talk and hangout at the Gothenburg City Library. The lecture was on the Trappanscenen, West Pride’s main lecture stage, and was about coming from or to Sweden as an LGBTQ student. So being raised in Sweden but studying in another country, or being raised in another country but studying in Sweden. In the hangout afterwards, we talked about, among other things, starting a resource page for where you can turn in different situations, for example that as a new LGBTQ person in Sweden you can join RFSL Newcomers.

In addition to the term “LGBTQ”, the talk also used the terms “GSRM” and “LGBTQIAPK+”. These three terms can be considered synonymous, in that the term queer includes the whole spectrum, the difference is simply in how to place the emphasis. By recognizing Intersexuals, Asexuals, Polyamorous and Kinksters (sadomasochists & fetishists) with their own letters, it is made clear that these minorities are part of the community. With the GSRM concept, you instead go in the opposite direction, to lift categories of categories instead of specific categories. GSRM thus stands for Gender/Sexual & Sensual, Romantic & Relational, Minorities & Diversity.

Fundamentalists outside of Pride Park
In Pride Park (Bältespännarparken) it was full of people and a great atmosphere last Thursday evening. There were several of us from SFQ Gothenburg who were there. Singing and dancing on stage, tents from various parties and other organizations – mostly with messages that stuck to the topic, rather than being heteronormative or completely off topic. Outside the park area, however, stood a group of counter-demonstrators who, with hatred and fanaticism in their eyes and voices, blurted out messages such as “Jesus is the light” together with various harangues in which they condemned both LGBTQ people and Muslims. However, these protesters had to remain physically calm and restrain themselves in the way they phrased their slogans, as a group of police officers had positioned themselves firmly between their gang and the park. This particular time I chose to speak only very briefly with the fundamentalists. This is because I was there together with some other SFQ activists, at least one of whom is an LGBTQ Muslim who does not have a permanent residence permit. So it was not the time to enter into any deeper conversation with the Christian fundamentalists at this particular time. Instead, I settled for a couple of well-meaning sarcasms such as bringing up Last Tuesdayism – the idea that the universe was created on Tuesday, and that we are all created with false memories of a life before Tuesday. Now with the addition that anyone who believes in these memories will be punished in the afterlife for believing in a life before Tuesday. Something that is unlikely to concern them right now, but might give them something to think about sometime in the future.

Another pride participant who spoke a little more in-depth with the protesters was however met with the same stories about serious mental illness and drug overdoses and serious crime that I myself had heard about when I spoke to a similar group that handed out Bibles outside Stockholm Pride House a few years earlier. In both cases, it was apparently about deeply unhappy people who, after a lot of tragedies and confusion, found structure and meaning in existence through a very strict variant of religious practice and spiritual worldview.

Inclusion conference
Back to the inclusion conference, as I said, we will hold it in Stockholm on Sunday, July 30. At the conference, we will discuss inclusion issues ahead of the future inclusion program that we talked about at the congress last November.

Each local branch may elect a few delegates who will be reimbursed for their expenses. All other members are also welcome and get free entry, but have to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. At the moment, we are also in dialogue with Stockholm Pride about holding some talks/conversations at Pride House this year as well. We have told them that this year we would like to have them on Monday, July 31st so that they will be in connection with the conference.

Topics that we will discuss at the conference include, for example, gender identity issues, having a gender-sexual orientation (such as heterosexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality), having a sexuality that is about something other than gender, studying in a country other than one’s country of origin, and so on. Discussion topics can also be decided on the spot, and how much time the conference spends on each topic is jointly decided during the conference.

Congress & Föreningshuset
While the conference will be an IRL event where we hope that SFQers from all over the country will meet and socialize on site, the congress will be digital as usual. We have tentatively set its date for Saturday, October 21st.

Furthermore, I am happy to announce that member registration works again. In connection with the transition to Föreningshuset that we decided on at the last congress, it was down for a while, but now it is possible to register membership again.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer, and look forward to meeting some of you at the mentioned events during the summer and fall.

Best regards,