Linköpings Regnbågsvecka 2017 – Monday: Lecture on discrimination

Posted in: Events, Learning Swedish, Life in Sweden on 16 October, 2017 by Sacha

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From 25 September to 1 October 2017 Linköpings Regnbågsvecka took place (Rainbow week). This is basically Linköpings name for pride week – the rainbow in the name is of course based on the rainbow flag, which has been an important symbol for the LGBTIQ+ movement for a long time. I already wrote a bit about the week in my previous post Why we have pride, but since that one mostly came from a place of frustration and anger, I figured it would be nice to also share the positive parts of the week. A lot of people put in a lot of work adding great content to the week, and that is absolutely also worth highlighting. I will do this in several posts, as there is a lot to cover. Here is the first one, covering the start of the week: Monday 25 September, with a lecture on the Swedish law against discrimination.

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Kanelbullar, kanelbullar, kanelbullar

Posted in: Life in Sweden on 13 October, 2017 by Sacha

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Yes, I will admit it – I do have an addiction. This addiction started when I moved to Sweden and was introduced to kanelbullar – cinnamon buns. Yes, I will also admit that I have written about these pastries many times before… but I recently came across a statistic that I just had to share! The average amount of kanelbullar that a Swede eats per year is… wait for it… 200!!! That is almost four per week! I must say that I probably do reach that average.. 😉 I thought it was worth sharing, especially since it was kanelbullens dag last week, on the 4th of October. Though I often eat one on regular days as well, it did feel a bit more special as I was working together with a good friend and I brought them to eat while we were taking a break!

 

Almost a daily occurrence when I’m studying at university…

 

They even have Kanelbulle ice cream!

 

Source for statistic (it says 230 but that is when they also count other pastries into the amount)


 

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Vadstena Pride

Posted in: Life in Sweden on 9 October, 2017 by Sacha

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Right before the start of Linköpings Regnbågsvecka, I attended another Pride festival in Östergötland (the county that Linköping is in). It was in Vadstena, a town with about 5000 people that is traditionally very Christian. Being in Sweden and seeing all these different towns having their own pride has really inspired me. In the Netherlands, the only ‘pride’ things we have are mainly celebrations. In one of our biggest cities, Rotterdam, a pride walk was held in 2015 but this pride walk has since been taken over by capitalism and gay white men. Pretty depressing.

 

In Sweden, the situation looks very different – last year, there were over 70 pride festivals all over Sweden. These have different lengths and shapes, but often include a pride parade (sometimes also called pride walk, especially in the Netherlands, were the main parade takes place on boats in the canals of Amsterdam).

 

I was quite impressed by the pride in Vadstena – it was just one day, but for a town with just 5000 inhabitants that’s already quite a lot of work. And in total there were around 900 (!!!) people who took part during the day. The parade was quite long and many organisations form all over Östergötland took part in it. After the parade there was a stage with several different performances, music and talks. The presenter, Pontus Plænge, a local theatre actor (who I saw in La Cage aux Folles where he was amazing) reminded us several times of what the origin of pride is (Stonewall riots), what things we still have to fight for and to not forget the most marginalised groups of the LGBTQ+ community. It was great that this was highlighted by him – and so important to be reminded of this constantly.

Raising the rainbow flag at the square where the main events of the pride took place

 

 


 

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Why we have pride

Posted in: Life in Sweden on 5 October, 2017 by Sacha

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As I mentioned in previous blog posts, and will probably mentioned again in future blog posts, last week was Linköpings Regnbågsvecka – Rainbow week, or Pride week. I was volunteering for some of the events that took place and I also coordinated the other volunteers together with a friend. It was a lot of work – and when you are working there is not as much time to enjoy it. But it was worth it and a lot of people showed up for the parade on Saturday. But while I was working at the pride party some person came up to me and my friends to basically mansplain us why it was not necessary to have Pride “because we already have rights anyway”. It was pretty painful, especially because we were with a friend who is a migrant from a country where LGBTIQ+ people are persecuted because of their identities. But even within Sweden (or the Netherlands for that matter) there are still a lot of reasons to keep fighting and to keep claiming space.

 

This narrative is not new to us: every time there is pride, some people feel the need to argue that “if you think it is normal, then why do you need to celebrate it?”. One, what is normal? I have always found normal a pretty useless concept. A word that I think is more useful is normative – meaning, it fits with what is the norm in a particular society. And being LGBTIQ+ is certainly not normative.

 

So, why do we have pride? What is the point? Why are we still doing this “when we have rights”? The history of pride goes back to the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969. This is something that nowadays sometimes gets forgotten, especially in the west, during pride: the first pride was a riot. Not a party, not a celebration. A riot. Nowadays, we see prides being taken over by capitalism with sponsors like, for example, telephone companies KPN (Rotterdam Pride) and Vodafone (Thessaloniki Pride). Our rights are suddenly interesting when people can make money out of it. Or when our rights can be used to improve the image of a city – then suddenly the municipality is interested in financing, in supporting. And then sometimes those same people that are just using our rights to look better complain that there ‘isn’t enough fun in the program’. Where are the parties? Why are there so many lectures? Shouldn’t pride be a celebration?

 

We will celebrate when there are things worth celebrating. And we do celebrate. Every day, we celebrate our existence simply by living. By surviving. By fighting everyday against a world that wants to kill us. That wants to destroy us. Yes, we have come a long way in some western countries. But even the rights we have gained are constantly threatened (see the USA, for example). Just because some people in the community have started to become fairly accepted doesn’t mean that we should just let the more marginalised groups drop. ‘No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us’, as trans visual artist Micah Bazant has put it. So we need to keep fighting. And we do, because we have to. Because we are ridiculed in public because of being LGBTIQ+. Because we are attacked on the streets, or while going out. Because we feel like we have to hide our partner(s) because of who they are. Because we try to conform to the norm until it kills us.

 

That is why we still have pride.

 

‘There will be no LGBTQ liberation without revolution – there will be no revolution without LGBTQ liberation.’ (Thessaloniki, Greece)

 

For anyone who is still reading, I would like to share the results of an assignment that I took part in at a youth exchange on LGBTIQ+ rights in Thessaloniki, Greece last June. We were asked to depict the situation of LGBTIQ+ people in our countries. I think most of the pictures speak for itself – I will put the countries they depict under each picture.

Sweden

 

Greece

 

Romania

 

Macedonia

 

Croatia

 

Bulgaria

 

Turkey

 

Cyprus

 

Spain

 

Italy

 

 


 

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Cinnamon buns as conversation starters?

Posted in: Life in Sweden on 2 October, 2017 by Sacha

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I have written at least a few times already about how much I like Swedish cinnamon buns, or kanelbullar. Right now, Pressbyrån, a convenience store chain that can be found all throughout Sweden, and also on the campus of Linköping university, has a little fun thing going on where the kanelbullar are on a piece of paper that has a question on them – a conversation starter, basically. I think it is quite a fun idea and I just wanted to share two of the questions I got!

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Sacha Bogaers

Sacha Bogaers
Hello everybody!
My name is Sacha, I am from the Netherlands and I recently came to Linköping to study gender studies.
I am looking forward to sharing my experiences in Linköping and Sweden. I hope that living here will give me the opportunity to see more of this beautiful country!

MSSc Gender Studies - Intersectionality and Change

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