I haven’t been to many prides before. In fact, last year at Stockholm pride was my first ever experience of a pride event. This was not because I was ever closeted or didn’t want to be associated with the LGBT scene (I’ve been completely out since the age of 17, even earlier to some friends at school). But somehow, I never went to pride, not even London, where I was born and grew up.
The thing about Stockholm pride that really struck me is just how inclusive it was. This truly is an event for everyone, and as such the rainbow flag is a worthy representation of that diversity. This idea is really quite beautiful and moving, and Stockholm pride does a great job of crystalising it.
The parade is the biggest in Scandinavia and the largest annual event in Stockholm, but Stockholm pride is more than just the parade on Saturday.
This year, there were two further venues that house the week of celebrations: the Pride House in the cultural centre in the main city square (Sergels Torg) and the Pride Park, in a sports stadium a little to the north of the centre (IP Östermalm).
The Pride House
There were events all week leading up to the day of the parade, such as debates on international LGBT issues, talks on sex education, queer dance workshops and film screenings. However, much of this programme was in Swedish only, making it somewhat inaccessible to foreign visitors. Nonetheless, the Pride House was a cool place to hang out, people watch and get a feel for the vibe of the city as it cranked up for the parade.
The Pride Park
This essentially felt like a small music festival. There were performances on the central stage each evening of the week ranging from Eurovision tribute acts to Swedish pop icons and drag queens. Again, unfortunately, the programme of performances was not very well advertised, so it could be hard to find out what you might like to see, but the atmosphere in the park was nonetheless quite fun to experience for itself, and we did manage to catch a performance by Bucks Fizz, who won the Eurovision Song Contest for the UK in 1981!
In the park, there were stands from various organisations (political, religious, corporate) showing their support for Stockholm pride and offering free soft drinks, popcorn or other goodies as well as food trucks with several vegan options. We hung out there with the #mygaypride crew and gave each other temporary tattoos!
The parade, this year made up of over 190 groups, kicked off at 1pm at Mariatorget and made its way to the Pride Park, some 5km away. We joined (after Zab had his nails painted!) close to Humlegården in Östermalm where a drag queen in a green dress standing on a crane introduced the groups as they passed by.
We watched the dykes on bikes, the proud parents, the leather bears, people marching for those who can’t and many more groups go past. We eventually joined in, got sprayed by the fire truck dousing the crowd with water and ended up at the Pride Park.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed being in Stockholm for pride. The city was full of rainbows (both physical and metaphorical) and it truly felt like everyone was taking part in the celebration of love. If only it could be like that every day!
For more information about Stockholm pride, check out the official website, and for more recommendations for gay and lesbian Stockholm, check out the official Visit Stockholm blog and their Facebook page.
This article is part of the #mygaypride campaign, masterfully organised by Two Bad Tourists and sponsored by Gay Star News. Thanks also to Interrail for providing us with train passes and the fantastic staff at Visit Stockholm for showing us all the great things the city has to offer! All opinions are our own.
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