PRESS RELEASE OCTOBER 1, 2003
.1st stage heavily policed in April in Zagreb:
Delegates to the Berlin stage of the ILGCN World Conference on Lesbian & Gay Culture meet at the historic Sontags Klub – the first homo local in the German Democratic Repubic as well as visit both the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen outside of Berlin and the pioneering Gay Museum in the German capital
Berlin -- The 2nd stage of this year's ILGCN (International Lesbian
& Gay Cultural Network) world conference took place in the German
capital at the pioneering Sontagsklubb -- the first homo establishment
in the former East Germany
-- September 25-28, 2003 following the heavily-guarded and highly successful first stage in the Croatian capital in April.
Opening the Berlin gathering, organiser Colin de la Motte-Sherman
(ILGCN, Berlin) said: "the conference had brought people together to
discuss LGBT culture, its use in the struggle for LGBT emancipation and
the building of self-confidence especially in areas where people need
support due to the homophobic conditions where they live." "I am very pleased to have taken part and to take new ideas and information back to my friends in the Czech Republic," said Jessica Jayne Maerten, who both performed and described the musical traditions
of her newly adopted country. Zvonimir Dobrovic presented the latest developments in the Croatian lesbian and gay movement, following the 1st stage of the world conference (see press release) and the highly successful Queer Zagreb event in April this year.
Other topics covered in talks and discussions also included the homo
rights struggle and culture in Bosnia-Herzogovina, Poland, Germany,
Puerto Rica, Senegal, Puerto Rica and the Nordic area. Other presentations covered homo poetry, music, art, literature
and films, as well as homo cultural work used in world Humanism and
Amnesty International as well as focusing attention on the Nazi
persecution of homosexuals and neo-nazi violence. The 3-day meeting also included film screenings including the new
Dutch Amnesty documentary, "Less than Human" and "Still they Smile"
describing the struggle of lesbians and gays in the dictatorship of
The final plenary of the conference approved new ILGCN ambassadors
and co-ordinators from Sweden, Germany and Austria. In addition, the
first "Charlotte von Mahlsdorf Award" for outstanding work perserving
homo history honored Germany's Manfred Baumgardt and the Schwules Museum of Berlin. Accepting the award, American colleague Jean-Nikolaus Tretter spoke of the "necessity of preserving documents, books and memorabilia so that the history of LGBT activity does not get lost."
AWARDS FOR MUSIC, LITERATURE
Also at the conference, the first "Sapho in Paradise"
award was announced
-- going to the first award was announced
-- going to the brand new lesbian and gay Mea Culpa library in Tallinn -- the first of its kind in Estonia. The award was established by ILGCN-Nordic and the London publishing co-operative, Paradise Press. The award is to promote pioneering work in settng up new homo libraries and promosing homo poetry and literature across national boundaries. The annual ILGCN-Nordic music award went to LEGATO -- the European
organization of gay and lesbian choirs, "for outstanding efforts to
emphasize the role of music in in the global human rights struggle."
Conference delegates also visited the near-by Nazi concentration
camp at Sachsenhausen as well as the Schwules Museum -- the gay and lesbian museum and archives in the German capital. The conference approved new ILGCN cultural ambassdors from Austria,
Germany, the US and Sweden and decided that next year's world
conference is to be shared by Sarajevo in April, Minsk-Gomel in August, San Juan,Puerto Rico in September 2004.