After my original plans fell through at the last minute to go and visit some friends around Europe this weekend, the focus of the week and the weekend was about Stockholm Pride.
This was one of the more interesting Stockholm Pride experiences that I had. This year I decided against all-things-Pride-all-of-the-time and just decided to focus on a couple of events. This year that was Schlager night on Thursday at Pride Park, as well as my participation in the parade on Saturday, and some celebrating in the evening.
The Thursday night Schlager night was notable less for the performances, but more for the company that I was with. It was cool to be at the Cafe Opera tent with friends and acquaintences and socialise with people who were just chilled out and relaxed. After the Schlager night, we went to Cafe Opera courtesy of Micke and Daniel (THANKS!) and had a great time. I can't remember dancing so much on a Thursday in a long time.
On Saturday I joined Moderaterna in the parade. Yes that's right, the conservative political party was in the parade. I am continually grateful to be welcomed to participate by politician and personal friend Tomas Tobé. Actually, most of the political parties were in the parade directly or represented through their alliances. And it says a lot about the openness and appreciate of diversity in Sweden that the political parties actually look forward to being in the parade. Moderaterna in particular (the lead party in power) does an outstanding job of to driving the home to importance of inclusion at every level of government. Every year at least one of the high-ranking party members joins in the parade and walks. This year it was the Mrs. Filippa Reinfeldt, who is the wife of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, along with one of her daughters. Literally 1,5 meters away from me. So I considered it to be a treat and a honor march with a party who country's first lady and daughter show such open support for GLBT citizens. So participating and dancing along to great music, seeing friends in the crowd, and feeling good the whole way made for a great Saturday afternoon. I really highly recommend that everyone go in the parade - it is even more fun than watching it! And at least in Sweden, Pride is not about who get naked and acts the most outrageous. It is an fun environment where people of all ages (from children to adults) line to streets to watch and support. Some dancing along with you on the streets, clapping and cheering from windows, or just watching and wondering. It's all okay no matter what. What I like to think is that what is most important, is that people see us and visibile and comfortable with who we are. And the response from the crowds in the parade showed societal acceptance and support. I wish it could be that way in the US. We have a long long way to go.
On Saturday night I went to a pre-party and then we went to Cafe Opera (just the regular section) and Zipper and had a great time. And here I must give a shout out to Gregory for being fantastic to hang out with during the night (and for the bravery of biking back to his house from the club without killing himself...I cheated and took a taxi back to my house). Sunday was spent relaxing and recovering and as I was thinking over how my Pride week had gone, I feel like it is was one of the best Pride Weeks ever. I simultaneous look forward to the possibilities next year as well as have a little fear that I won't know how to top how great this year was :-)