fredag 29 augusti 2014

‘The Best Anti-Discrimination
Journalist in Belarus-2014’
TUPILAK (Queer Cultural Workers in the Nordic Region, in cooperation with the Belarusian LGBT journalists ( announces a professional contest for the Belarusian journalists on the best anti-discrimination reporting. The best authors of articles and/or photo-audio-video reports, fostering equality of different social groups in the Belarusian society will be announced by TUPILAK during a round table discussion on ‘Equal Rights for LGBT. The Role of Mass Media and Civil Society’ in Vilnius on October 11, 2014. The winners will receive special awards from TUPILAK.
It is suggested that the contest materials have to appear in the media within the period since January 1, 2014 till August 31, 2014. The contest materials have to be submitted to the e-mail address ( for consideration no later than on September 30, 2014.

“Найлепшы журналіст-барацьбіт з
дыскрымінацыяй у Беларусі-2014”
Культурніцкая ЛГБТ арганізацыя паўночных краінаў ТУПІЛАК у супрацоўніцтве з беларускімі журналістамі, якія ўваходзяць або падтрымліваюць ЛГБТ супольнасці ( абвяшчае прафесійны конкурс на найлепшы журналісцкі матэрыял на антыдыскрымінацыйную праблематыку.
Аўтары найлепшых друкаваных і Інтэрнэт-артыкулаў і/ці фота-аўдыё-відэа рэпартажаў, якія прасоўваюць ідэю роўнасці розных сацыяльных групаў у беларускім грамадстве, будуць абвешчаныя падчас круглага стала на тэму “Роўныя правы для ЛГБТ. Роля СМІ і грамадзянскай супольнасці”, які адбудзецца ў Вільні 11 кастрычніка 2014 года. Пераможцы конкурсу атрымаюць адмысловыя ўзнагароды ад ТУПІЛАКУ.
Чакаецца, што конкурсныя матэрыялы павінны з’явіцца ў прэсе ў перыяд з 1 студзеня па 31 жніўня 2014 года. Матэрыялы конкурсу маюць быць скіраваныя на разгляд журы на электронны адрас не пазней за 30 верасня 2014 года.

Stockholm Meetings at Culture Center, Gay Bar:

Stockholm -- "This was our way of saluting this year's IDAHO -- international day against homophobia on May 17 -- and its 2014 theme "Freedom of Expression," says Bill Schiller of Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers) and ILGCN (international rainbow cultural network) Information Secretariat-Stockholm of the event taking place on May 14 at the Folklore Centrum and the award-winning gay bar Side Track -- both on this city's southern island.

"We not only meet for social get-togethers but also to inform local politicians, administrators of homes for the elderly and medical workers -- people sometimes totally unaware of the existence and needs of LGBT elderly," said Agneta Wirén of the Gothenberg Senior Group from this west coast city.

Another special guest at this event, Frank Lee of Taiwan-- a participant of the first-ever Stockholm "Gay Photographers Exhibit"-- displayed his work and mentioned that he will be creating giant-sized photos of LGBT people at Stockholm's international airport Arlanda during the coming Stockholm Pride this July. "I would also be pleased to have my work included in the Tupilak/ILGCN international art and photo exhibit."

Examples of the collection's Belarus art and photography were displayed, along with the presentation of the plan for "Swedish-Belarus Queer Cultural Days" 2014 for Belarus and Swedish cities -- an idea originated by Maksim Haikou of Minsk.

Also in the spirit of IDAHO'S "Freedom of Expression," plans were presented for a boat trip from Stockholm to St. Petersburg waiving the rainbow flag in ports of call including Tallin, Helsinki and St. Petersburg -- to challenge the Russian ban an "homo propaganda." Also, a salute to the rotating Baltic Pride -- this year taking place in Tallinn and starting on June 2.

"Combating freedom of expression of LGBT people all over the world by all the major religions," said Carl Johan Kleberg of the Nordic Rainbow Humanists.

Poetry with a Chinese theme was presented by Swedish Tupilak member Tomas Åberg and the Folk Lore Centrum owner Izzy Young read poems of his friend, the late American revolutionary gay poet, Allan Ginsburg.

Discussions also ended with a salute to the Austrian winner of the Eurovision song contest, Conchita Wurst for being an enormous contribution to tolerance and diversity in a Europe these days threatened by facist and homophobic parties in many nations.

As part of the "freedom of expression" theme, we are also announcing the formation of a new group calledInternational Rainbow Seniors - Sweden promoting LGBT culture and international ties -- well aware that many nations even with a strong Pride movement still ignore the voices of the elderly LGBT people," says Schiller.

Photo/art by Vladik of Belarus
displayed at the Tupilak/ILGCN
May 14 salute to IDAHO 2014 

2014 Award Shared with Stockholm Queer Film Festival:

Stockholm - Tupilak's Polar Bear prize, the annual award for outstanding support of LGBT films has gone jointly to the Swedish Film Institute's film club Cinemateket's annual "Queer Days" and to the Stockholm International Queer Film Festival.

"We are very proud to screen LGBT films mostly from earlier years in the spring to balance the festival's screening of mostly new films in the autum," said Lova Hagerfors, head of Cinemateket.

"We are very proud of this award and it means a lot to us," said the Swedish Film Institute's press chief Jan Göransson, at the prize ceremony helping inagurate this year's Queer Days." 

The motivation was read aloud by Tupilak's Peter Fröberg: --- for confirming that films are among the strongest weapons to combat homophobia, intolerance, ignorance and hatred, ... for making film programs focusing on all those on the rainbow human rights barricades -- women and men, young and old, trans and bi, straight and queer, differently abled, HIV/AIDS positive and negative, native and foreign born, racial and ethnic diversity, yesterday's battles and tomorrow's., ... and for confirming that when the rainbow is stretched over psychological and geographic barriers, the colors grow not weaker but more brilliant, more visible and more inspiring."

Born at the Teddy Bear award ceremonies at the Berlinale film festival, the Polar Bear salutes not individual films but film makers and those helping LGBT films reach wider audiences.

"The first Polar Bear went to the late German film distributor, Manfred Salzgeber, that fighting against enormous reluctance to screen films with an HIV/AIDS themes. Other awards have gone to pioneering film makers, distributors, film festivals, film critics in Sweden, the United States, Iceland, Romania and elsewhere, " said Bill Schiller of Tupilak..

Photos by Christopher Mair
of the Swedish Film Institute


Stockholm -- Tupilak's first award diploma "Loke on the Rainbow" ...? has been given to film maker Ester Martin Bergsmark, who has made a prize- winning short film "Pojktanten" (She Male Snails) about a young person's search for dignity and sexual identity.

Ester's first and brand new feature film "Någon Ting Måste Gå Sönder" -- "Something has to Break" has also received wide acclaim both in Sweden and outside the country, and has earned the film maker the label of being one of Sweden's finest young and coming film makers. 

Note: Tupilak's Golden Tupilak was given to the late, internationally-famous German transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who moved her famous turn-of the-last-century museum to Sweden after repeated neo-Nazi attacks on the museum on the outskirts of Berlin.

ILGCN/Tupilak joint co-opration with Eastern European colleagues:
Swedish Belarus Ukrainian LGBT Solidarity Project May 2013-2014

Stockholm/Minsk/Gomel/Kiev -- The aim was to increase contact and exchange between LGBT cultural workers and activists in these three countries by attending Prides and other events. Also to meet members of other LGBT organizations and not only the "hosts" in each country, visit other human rights organizations as allies to the LGBT rights struggle. Also to involve where possible members of LGBT organizations in Latvia and Lithuania lying geographically between Sweden and Belarus as important partners in ongoing and future co-operation and solidarity. The project was made possible through a grant by the Swedish Institute.

Also to ensure that delegates or individual travellers reflected both men and women, new- comers and long-time veterans and people coming not only from the capital cities but also from organizations in provincial areas.

Planning was made difficult by the uncertainty of dates and events, the repeated postponement of Minsk Pride right up to December 2013, forcing a Swedish women's delegation to Minsk an Gomel to wait until February and the planned final evaluation of representatives of all three nations taking place in February. Visa difficulties also caused troubles and some economic losses -- with one UKrainian woman loosing her flight and one Swedish woman already in Vilnius refused entry to Belarus.

Coordination of finances had to be delegated fully to Tupilak since GayBelarus has been denied registration by the government twice and it doesn’t have an official bank account. It was also decided by the coordinators to change a project partner from Insight to Gay Alliance of Ukraine, because Insight was busy with other projects and wasn’t able to participate in our project -- although members of Insight participated in the Kiev stage of the project.

The program included seven parts spread throughout the period:

May 23-27, 2013: Swedish and Belarus delegates attending Kiev Pride --attending film screenings and performances, receptions, the heavily-guarded and threatened Pride parade and number exchanges and discussions. Delegates included Tomas Näslund, Zafire Vrba, Monica Collins, Sofia Hultin, Pernilla . Bill Schiller, Slava Bortnik, Dzyatalu Vitali, Sulim Anastasya, Labusava Alena, Silchanka Alesia, Vashchanka Volha, Nestsiarovich Maryna.

Kiev queer culture events sponsored by Tupilak brought together around 50 people from Sweden, Ukraine and Belarus.

May 31-June 5, 2013: Visit by Belarus Slava Borntik to West Pride,Gothenburg , Stockholm and Visby to make presentations about the LGBT movement in Belarus, the importance of Swedish Belarus Ukrainian co-operation. Bill Schiller joined in seminars and presentations in West Pride. 

During the Gothenburg Pride weekend (West Pride), Slava Bortnik participated in numerous activities including social events, met dozens of important people and participated in the pride march as well as meeting Tupilak members from Gothenburg and Malmö. At the workshops, Bortnik described the situation for LGBT activists and cultural workers for the audiences -- made up mostly of young people.

Travelling to Visby, Bortnik met leaders of RFSL Gotland in Visby, Petra Guteskär Nidsjö and Elisabet Guteskär Nidsjö, who briefed him on the history of Gotland Pride and LGBTI activism on island. Participants at a RFSL picnic were very interested in the recent developments for LGBTI people in Belarus. They expressed a deep interest in supporting Minsk Gay Pride 2013 scheduled for October. An article about the event can be found on the website of GayBelarus. podderzhke-minskogo-praida-2013.html 
In Stockholm, Bortnik also met with Tupilak members again planning future stages of the project as well as with Maria Myhrman at the SIDA offices, describing Tupilak-Belarus cooperation over the last 14 years as well as on the situation of LGBTI persons and progress of LGBTI activism in Belarus. 

November 15-16, 2013: Swedish Tupilak members from Malmö, Monica Collins, Aytan Mammadii were brought to Stockholm for meetings and translation with a Swedish-Belarus-Russian LGBT culture and rights conference at the Swedish Parliament and at a Stockholm book shop and at private meetings of LGBT activists and culture workers. 

At a Stockholm meeting on November 22, Swedes met representatives of the Gay Alliance of Ukraine Volodymyr Naumenko and Taras Karasiichuk to discuss recent developments in Ukraine and to plan Minsk stage of the project.

December 7-11, 2013: With one would-be Swedish delegate denied a visa at the Belarus Embassy in Vilnius, Bill Schiller was the only Swedish delegate participating in Minsk Pride, joining in the only permitted event at a city cultural house and private gatherings since the authorities and owners at eight other venues closed their doors at the very last minute because of threats or warning from the authorities. Even at private gatherings, local police showed up to interrogate participants and demand passports and identification. Unfortunately, no Ukrainians arrived for the event but a small number of other nationaities attended.

Minsk queer culture events sponsored by Tupilak brought together around 40 people from Belarus, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Spain and other nations.

February 13-19, 2014: Swedish and Belarusian activists met Latvian colleagues of Mozaika in Riga for a LGBT cultural and human rights presentations. A second conference took place on board the ship leaving to Stockholm where a 2-day of meetings took place with representatives of local Swedish activists and cultural workers, a delegate from Visby Pride, leaders of the Swedish Institutere and others. Belarus delegates continued after words to meet representatives from the Civil Rights Defenders, the Swedish Institute and Unstraight Museum. 

Belarus delegates included Katerina Borsuk and Maksim Haikou of Gay Belarus/Minsk Pride, Aleh Razhkou and Zoya Navakshonava of the Belarus LGBT Journalist organization. Unfortunately, a Ukrainian delegate was unable to get a visa in time to join the event.

February 18-22, 2014: Swedish delegates Monica Collins and Sofia Hultin visited Minsk and Gomel meeting with Belarus cultural workers and activists in both cities, in a program co-ordinated by Slava Bortnik. 

In Gomel, Swedes met with members of GayBelarus, NGO “Vstrecha”, NGO “Gomel Democratic Forum”and lesbian group “Tema Vidos”. Discussion on women’s rights and Swedish feminism took place at the office of NGO “Gomel Democratic Forum”. During the meeting with NGO “Vstrecha” Swedes and Belarusians discussed HIV/AIDS prevention strategies in both countries. Activists from the group “Tema Vidos” organized a guided tour to lesbian places in Gomel. Around 40 activists participated in the events.

In Minsk, Swedes met with activists from Gay Press project and Make Out project ( as well as lesbian poet Nasta Mantsevich to discuss creative queer culture events planned for the nearest future. Around 30 activists participated in the meetings.

February 23-25,2014: for a evaluation meeting in Vilnius. This included Slava Bortnik of Gay Belarus,Taras Karasiichuk of Gay Alliance, Ukraine and Bill Schiller of Tupilak. Both Bortnik and Karasiichuk stressed the growing need for international LGBT co-operation as the situation for LGBT rights in their countries has worsened. They add that it is more important to work with new smaller groups with limited opportunities in terms of travel and financial support. 2 years ago cooperation project with Tupilak significantly contributed to capacity building of the Gay Alliance of Ukraine and to professional development of their members -- making it now a larger and more stable organization. The use of LGBT culture for future projects was also emphasized. 

Leslie-Lohman Museum Exhibits Images

Vatican Tried to Stop

Works of Spanish-born
Gonzalo Orquin in New York.
Photos by Gonzalo Orquin.

New York -- The Leslie-Lohman Museum’s Wooster St. Window Gallery has presented "Si, quiero, (I do)" a site-specific installation of work by Rome-based artist Gonzalo Orquin. This installation re-creates the artist's images that were scheduled to be exhibited at a private gallery in Rome in late 2013. However, the exhibition never occurred because authorities at the Vatican objected to the original photographs and threatened legal action against the gallery. The Vatican claimed the images showed “expressions of affection that do not belong in a place of worship.” 

Orquin’s photographs feature same-sex couples kissing in beautiful baroque Italian churches. According to the artist, who identifies as Catholic, “If you look closely at my pictures, no one can find blasphemy  sacrilege. A kiss is a gesture of love, of tenderness between human beings.” As quoted in a recent interview in the Advocate, Orquin stated that the LGBTQ community “may be ashamed to publicly demand their rights. Politicians are busy with other things and then there is the church. Every day there is a bishop or cardinal who goes on TV to say that homosexuals are sick and the natural family needs to 
be protected. I feel deep anger and shame every time a member of the church insults me in this way. I pray that God will forgive them and I have faith that Pope Francis will help us, why not?"

However, the Vatican did not want the images displayed. As reported in the Huffington Post, Vicariate spokesman Claudio Tanturri said the photos violate the Italian constitution. “Italian constitutional law safeguards an individual’s religious feelings and the function of places of worship. Therefore photos that are not suitable and do not conform to the spirituality of the place offend and infringe upon the advancement of man in the particular place for the expression of faith." 

Leslie-Lehman Museum Director Hunter O’Hanian says, “This was a very simple decision for us. We heard that the work, these lovely images of people kissing in beautiful settings, was being denied access and we wanted to do something about it. In part, it is why this Museum exists. We offer opportunities to show work that others won’t, particularly work that speaks to the gay and lesbian community. These photographs present same-sex couples displaying the same rights that should be fundamental and basic to all.”

Born in Seville, Spain in 1982, Gonzalo Orquin studied at Fine Arts University of Seville (2000-2004) and Fine Arts Academy Pietro Vanucci at the University of Perugia, Italy (2005). Since 2004 he has lived and worked in Italy. As a painter, his work have been described as domestic, intimate, and romantic. Set in common place interiors of muted tones, his subjects include solitary men and women, as well as gay and straight couples often displaying a contemplative depth of emotion. 

Information provided by Birthe Havmoller of "Feminine Moments" - Denmark

Lithuanian "Experts" Find Tolerance Promoting
Fairy Tales Harmful to Minors

The Lithuanian Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics concluded that two fairy tales that promote tolerance for same-sex couples are harmful to minors and should be marked by the index “N-14”. According to experts, stories written by the Lithuanian author Neringa Dangvydė violate the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information by “encouraging the concept of entry into a marriage and creation of a family other than stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania”. In addition, the experts consider them to be “harmful, invasive, direct and manipulative”.

The book “Gintarinė širdis” (“Amber heart”) that contains magical stories for children about people with disabilities, same-sex couples, Roma, people with a different skin colour and other socially vulnerable groups is no longer available for purchase and the information about it was removed from a database of the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences (LEU), which published the book nearly half a year ago.
In one of the stories a brother falls in love with a black male dressmaker, in another one a princess falls in love with the shoemaker's daughter. The LEU considers this to be “harmful, primitive and purposeful propaganda of homosexuality'. The book’s “negative content” was reported to the LEU and the Ministry of Culture by the “Lithuanian parents’ forum” and a group of conservative MPs.
This is the second time when experts quote the norm of the Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information as the reason for censoring the LGBT* related public information. In September 2013 the same experts found that one of the two promotional videos of the Baltic Pride 2013 March for Equality that took place in Vilnius last July were harmful to minors and should have been broadcasted only during the night hours.
Berlin --: Queeramnesty Germany with financial support from the Foundation Umverteilen has organised in the Gay Museum at the beginning in April an exhibition of photographs by the internationally recognised South African lesbian film-maker, photographer and activist, Zanele Muholi. The exhibition was to end June 9th but was extended to the end of the month because of popular demand..

To mark the opening a discussion around the theme of Violence against S. African Lesbians was held. Present were 100 people from the LGBTI communty, two LGBT representatives from S. Africa and the new general secretary of Amnesty Germany, Selmin Caleskan.

The Gay Museum is now in super new premises at Lützowstrasse 73, 10785 and is in itself well worth a visit.

Information provided by Colin de la Motte-Sherman, ILGCN co-ordinator - Berlin

ILGCN Awards:

Clio's Silver Cup -- history
Orfeo Imago -- Art & Photography
Rainbow Warrior -- international & cultural events
Grizzly Bear (work in ferocious homophobic situations)
Sappho in Paradise (publishing, libraries)
Arco Nordica (Nordic co-operation)
Orfeo Iris (research in Nazi, neo nazi persecution)
Rainbow Iceberg (outstanding international work)

söndag 17 augusti 2014

ILGCN diploma presented to World Pride -Toronto 2014

Stockholm -- The ILGCN 2014 Rainbow Warrior was presented to World Pride-Toronto 2014 (July 1xxxxx) at an ILGCN (international rainbow cultural network) and Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers) at a seminar on LGBT culture on the opening day July 30th of Stockholm Pride 2014.

"We believe this award confirms our feeling that both LGBT culture and political activism for law reform belong together int he battle for human rights," says Bill Schiller of ILGCN/Tupilak.
"In Tupilak, we feel that all culture -- art, photos, literature, drama, dance or whatever are essential for focusing on our identity and visibility," says Elinore Linén Strand of Tupilak.
"We of World Pride-Toronto are proud to receive this international recognition of our work," says Mark Smith of the World Pride-Toronto board of directors who came to Stockholm to receive the award.
"The Canadian Embassy is proud to be invited to this ceremony and believe that World Pride-Toronto was a great contributor to the struggle for human rights around the globe," says the Canadian chargé d´affiairs at the Stockholm embassy, Patric Hébert. 

The motivation for the Rainbow Warrior award going to the organizers and volunteers of World Pride-Toronto 2014 was in part:... for giving supreme emphasis to international rainbow solidarity not only with the 3-day world lgbt confererence but also for continuing the policy of bringing an International Grand Marshal each year from different parts of the world to inform on their struggles and to help lead the giant Pride Parade through the streets of Toronto.
... for giving the vital focus to LGBT culture -- not only in the seminars but also to the many happenings on the streets and in the venues -- confirming that LGBT culture is a powerful weapon against homophobia, silence and invisibility -- and is a vital part of the legislative and political battle for human rights - world wide.
... and for confirming that when the colors of the rainbow are stretched over geographic, psychological and cultural borders, they do not become weaker but instead more brilliant, more beautiful and more visible.
Both Stockholm and Toronto were candidates for World Pride 2014.

Discussing World Pride-Toronto 2014
The international Rainbow Seniors Meeting in Stockholm on August 4th

Stockholm -- The monthly meeting of the International Rainbow Seniors - Sweden met on August 4, the first Monday of the month, to discuss international LGBT co-operation, noting that the World Pride-Toronto received their award diploma in the Swedish capital and also offered an enormous array of LGBT cultural events free of charge to the participants and that the enormous parade did not end up in a fanced ghetto only for those who paid tickets but was open to all.
Also at this event at the local of the Posiv Gruppen (men having sex with men), cultural presentations were made by photographer Elinore Lindén Strand called for an artistic challenge to the Sweden Democras denouncement of any artistic portrayl of the female vagina, poetry by Tomas Åberg, photography by Taiwan-born photographer Frank Lett and a photographic journey through Iran by photographer Willi Reichhold.