A country open to all and a struggle for equal rights that continues. Where we do Pride Festivals for and with the whole spectrum of the LGBTIQ community

Sweden is a open country, as LGBTIQ issues are concerned. The seventeen years of Stockholm Pride so far have assisted this development by creating opportunities for many different actors in society to deal with LGBTIQ issues within their respective field of activities.

Similarly, in its years of operation, West Pride has assisted in transforming Gothenburg into the most LGBTIQ-friendly city in Sweden.

A clear voice for the rights of LGBTIQ persons

Sweden is known as a modern and progressive nation and aspires to be a clear voice for the rights of LGBTIQ persons. Pride festivals are organized annually in all larger cities in Sweden, without any of the very difficult problems facing similar events in many other parts of the world. Every year, numerous politicians from various parties visit Pride venues and take part in different activities. There is strong support from the Swedish government for Pride and the wider LGBTIQ movement. In 2014, the Swedish prime minister participated in the Stockholm Pride parade for the first time.

Politics, civil society and LGBTIQ history Sweden is not yet an immaculate paradise for LGBTIQ and queer people; such a place does not exist. There are still things to be done in order to eradicate discrimination, hate crimes and negative attitudes towards LGBTIQ people.

Much progress has been done

However, in recent years much progress has been done with regards to LGBT rights in the legislative field. In 2009, same-sex marriage was legalized after a long political debate. Before this, it had for a long time been possible to register partnership with a legally binding effect. Adoptions by same-sex couples have been legal for several years now.

Since 2009, new anti-discrimination legislation is in place that prohibits discrimination not only on the grounds of sexual orientation, but also gender identity and expressions.

The Swedish LGBTIQ community is thriving, during Pride as well as the rest of the year, especially as NGOs and activist networks, but also as entrepreneurs. Sweden has a long standing tradition of civil society playing an important role in the development of society.

Strong NGOs

RFSL (the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People) was established in 1950 and is the largest LGBTIQ organization in Sweden, with local chapters all over the country. A few years ago, RFSL was acclaimed the best “lobbyist” in the country.

Swedish NGOs are generally strong, and often belong to national and international networks. Within the LGBTIQ community, there are many specialized groups and organizations, such as sports groups, organizations for young people, for elderly people, for people of different political views and for people with interests in different cultural expressions; film, opera, theatre, etcetera. This too creates a community with potential to really make something really big out of a EuroPride.