Press Release ILGCN - Tupilak
Reykjavik/Torshavn/Stockholm – The ILGCN Information Secretariat is searching for funds for a special focus on the LGBT struggle and cultural scene in the “fringes” of the vast Nordic region which stretches close to the shores of North America to the Russian border.
“The “Nordic Rainbow Island Festival” is to include seminars and discussions, film screenings, art and photography exhibitions and music, song and dance cabarets for and about the islands in the Nordic zone. One aim is to display to neighboring islands as well as mainland organizations the rich cultural life of the very courageous people determined to raise the rainbow flags on the islands despite harsh conditions, “ says Bill Schiller, secretary general of the Stockholm-based Information Secretariat of the ILGCN (international queer cultural network).
“LGBT communities on the Nordic islands face “brain drains” as islanders flee from isolation and small population sizes to the mainland – deserting the island where “coming out” is often difficult if not dangerous, where distances are far and travel expensive which hinders travel to other island and to other Nordic nations, where LGBT cultural events, companies and venues are often few in number and where internationally-known LGBT cultural workers often skip tours to the islands – preferring the bigger events in larger, mainland cities,” Schiller adds.
From Denmark’s Greenland in the West to Finland’s Åland Islands in the East
Another aim is to bring together LGBT activists and cultural workers from Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard, the Faroese and Åland islands, Öland, Gotland and the sprawling Stockholm archipelago – as well as mainland LGBT organizations which could do much much more to support LGBT island life.
The 10 seminars already scheduled:
1. Stopping the “LGBT brain-drain” to the mainlands.
2. Boosting LGBT cultural activities in the islands.
3. Increasing cultural and activist exchanges between the islands.
4. Getting more support from mainland LGBT organizations and institutions.
5. Supporting crucial LGBT business, companies, venues on the islands.
6. Creating more LGBT-friendly and LGBT-owned facilities for the retired and the elderly – encouraging more “exiled” islanders to return home.
7. LGBT Humanists: combating religious dragons on the islands, and co-operating with the London-based international LGBT humanists in GALHA.
8. Diminishing isolation – attracting internationally-known LGBT cultural workers and performers to venues on the islands.
9. Attracting international LGBT tourists to these islands which are among the most exotic, beautiful and least-exploited spots on earth.
10. Creating more LGBT monuments – following the example of Visby in Gotland (see Tupilak website www.tupilak.org).
Nordic Rainbow Island Festival 2012
“The preliminary plan is to hold stage 1 of this year’s island festival in Visby on Gotland in October and stage 2 in Reykjavik or Torshavn in November. We hope that such an event could help combat ugly homophobia in same places in the Nordic region such as the Faroe Islands – illustrating that rainbow life in the Nordic zone is not just big parties and giant parades in the safety of big city security, but also at times a life-and-death battle between a handful of isolated activists facing arrogant, violence-prone neo-nazis and right-wing religious fanatics encouraged by an intolerant mass media,” concludes Schiller.
The plan is to discuss festival plans at the International Square in Visby during the giant, annual Almedalen politicians and human rights week on Gotland this July 1-8, and at the Nordic LGBT Workplace Forum & Career Fair in Stockholm, 2-3 August.