One year has gone by, and here we are again, dear Stockholm Pride! I’ve been able to be at the right place and right time to enjoy different Pride Parades around the World, and let me tell you something, the vibe that the Swedish Parade radiate is amazing. Sweden is a country well known for its openness and acceptance to all races and sexualities; therefore, the vibe found in its Parade is not surprisingly one of a kind. Heterosexual families cheering diversity, homosexual families walking proudly, private and public associations supporting all shades of love, and even the Swedish Church inviting everyone to love and care for one another is what you’ll be seeing in this amazing parade. So how did I spend this day? Well, BRUNCHING is the right way to kick-off!
But let’s go back in time to understand the origins and meaning of the LGBTQ+ Parade. NYC hosted this year World Pride as it is the city that gave birth to modern LGBT+ rights; moreover, this was the 49th Pride Parade in the city which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Stonewall? What’s that? Well, Stonewall is a LGBTQ+ bar located in Manhattan that dates back to the mid-60’s (formerly a straight bar); it was in 1969 that its name made history for the LGBTQ+ movement. Back in the days it was common that police officers went on a weekly basis to check their pay-offs as establishments sometime lacked of liquor licenses or hosted “illegal” events such a homosexual parties.
On June 28th 1969 around 1:20am, 4 undercover police men already inside the bar joined other policemen that arrived to the place, and performed a raid; nonetheless, it didn’t go as planned as transport wagons to take the illegal alcohol and arrested cross-dressed men took more than expected to arrive. The people who were able to leave the place didn’t actually go and started gathering outside the bar; it is said that by the time the riot began there were already between 500 to 600 people outside. Hell got loose when a woman who had been handcuffed, hit with a baton, and was being escorted to the patrol, looked at the audience and asked “why don’t you guys do something?”. As the riot began to escalate by people throwing beer cans, rocks, and everything they could weaponise, the Tactical Police Force (TPF) was called to the place being able to clear the streets somewhere 3 hours later after the riots began. Although the riots were tamed that day, more riots formed the following days.
One year after the riots took place, the first Pride Parade was held in NYC to demand LGBTQ+ equal rights. It was not until 1998 that Stockholm held its first parade; nonetheless, Sweden nowadays is one of the most progressive LGBTQ+ rights advocate in the World. Here are some milestones,
- 1944 – Same-sex sexual activity was legalized.
- 1979 – Homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness.
- 2002 – Gender discrimination is forbidden by Swedish law.
- 2003 – Same-sex adoption.
- 2009 – Same-sex marriage countrywide.
- 2017 – Transgenderism was declassified as a mental illness.
Asides from the parade, Stockholm offers talks, workshops, and many more cultural activities during “pride week”. If you seek to move to a country that will accept you no matter your religion, color, or sexual preference, then Sweden is for you! Happy pride!