söndag 4 september 2005

Successful Moonbow Festival in London, October 2005

PRESS RELEASE November 1, 2005


Stockholm/London -- Plans are underway for next year’s “Moonbow Festivals in Exile for Belarus” in the southern Swedish cities of Malmö and Helsingborg in October, 2006 and Warsaw or another Polish city closer to the border of the Eastern European dictatorship of Belarus.

This follows the highly successful “festivals in exile” for colleagues in Belarus held this year in London October 7-9. and earlier in Stockholm in September

“The London event was very important for the gay and lesbian movement in my country,” says Vitali of Belarus, who told participants about the worsening situation for human rights groups and the rainbow movement there.

An effort to send a message of support to colleagues in Belarus via the Belarus Embassy in London was met by embassy staff threatening to call the police.

“We very pleased to have included seminars, art work, literary readings, music, theater performances, a visit to a London gay art gallery and a historical gay tour of London as part of our festival program,” says Ian Stewart, of the ILGCN (International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network) Literature Secretariat and the Paradise Press.

“We were also very happy to have so many groups making presentations during the festival such as gay activist organizations Outrage, CHE and Gay & Lesbian Humanists as well as the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Gay Choir, Tupilak (Nordic homo cultural workers), Nordic Homo Council and others.

ILGCN, Tuplak awards presented in London

During the London event, the ILGCN “Clio’s Silver Cup” for 2005 for outstanding contributions to homo history was presented to co-winner British teacher Sue Sanders for her launching the first U.K. Lesbian & Gay History Month (the other co-winner was the first rainbow museum exhibit in Finnish history in the city of Tampere).

This year’s ILGCN/Paradise Press “Sappho in Paradise” award for publishing and library work was presented to the Library Project of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe.

Tupilak’s “Golden Tupilak” award for outstanding international solidarity was handed over to British gay activist, Peter Tatchell – a man who has won international attention for such actions as trying to arrest Zimbabean President Mugabe for his homophobic statements.

“Because of threats from both the homophobic Belarus regime and neo Nazis forcing us to cancel recent plans to hold a rainbow event in Minsk, we’ve decided with Belarus collegues to continue our festivals in exile next year,” says Bill Schiller of the ILGCN Information Secretariat and organizer of the solidarity event in Stockholm in September.

“We hope to work with the Polish Campaign Against Homophobia and the Swedish Anti-Racist Film Days with the 2006 Moonbow “exile” festivals – a name we give to our low-budget, international solidarity events taking place every year on both sides of the Baltic Sea,” Schiller concludes.