(Another day in racist Sweden)
Yesterday, the project Love No Borders, a project that aims to support young LGBT-persons of non white origin, was to conduct a workshop at Pride House under the title “Queer People of Color.” In the program description, it was clearly announced that the workshop was intended as a venue to discuss own experiences of racism and hetero normativity, and therefore was only for LGBT people of color. This is due to the fact that many LGBT-people of color feel insecurity about talking about these experiences with people who do not carry similar experiences, because they are often questioned. Even though race is a social construction we are treated on the basis that we are not classified as white.
However, When the workshop was about to begin, two very white looking men sat a little away from everyone else. Earlier that day a racist online magazine had called one of the organizers of the workshop and asked what they meant by writing that the workshop only was only for non-white people. Following, the organizers were portrayed with their photos on the website. We suspected that the men had links to the newspaper and felt a great discomfort of their presence - therefore we asked some Pride volunteers for help, explaining that the point was not to be open to everyone. The volunteers were very helpful, but the men refused to go, it got so bad that the volunteers had to call for security guards. The men later turned out to be members of the swedish democrats’ (sverigedemokraterna) youth organization.
Once we were able to start the workshop, we were unfortunately interrupted again, this time by a person who had more responsibility at the Pride who wanted to talk to the organizers. They explained that the men stood outside and that we should talk to them and explain why they could not attend. We responded with surprise that both we and the volunteers who helped us already had explained it many times in the room and that we wanted to continue with the workshop since we hadn’t much time left, instead of spending time talking with these men as we understood them as right-wing extremists and as threatening. Then we learned that we could always take the back way if we did not want to pass them on the way out, as many felt shaken by what happened. Participants responded that it should not be us who needed to take back doors and sneak at the Pride.
It should go without saying that people of color in the LGBT-community have a right to safer places and a given room at the largest LGBT event in Sweden without having to feel discomfort and fear of racists. Many of the participants feel very bad after today’s event and some do not want to come back to the area. We therefore hope that the Pride will discuss strategies for creating a safer environment even for rasified LGBT-people.
This is a translation. The original text in swedish is here.