Ding dong!

As Stockholm gears up to host Eurovision 2016 next May, LGBTQ rights activists are busy making sure that everyone will feel welcome at the party. To that end RFSL Stockholm, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, is calling on the city to create an LGBTQ safe zone during Eurovision. Julle Bergenholtz, the vice-president of the organization, explains why.

Eurovision is often described as the Gay Olympics. Similarly, Stockholm is considered a very gay-friendly city, and Sweden a very gay-friendly country. Why do fans need a devoted LGBTQ space?

Although Eurovision and Stockholm both are LGBTQ-friendly environments, there is a lot of hate and discrimination growing in many parts of Europe, Sweden included, due to the rise of xenophobic political parties. Many LGBTQ people are therefore not able to be open and safe with their sexuality or gender identity in their home town or country. We therefore want Stockholm to reach out to all the Eurovision fans that will be staying in the city for Eurovision, and clearly show them that during this week, they can be their fabulous selves and make use of a space designated for LGBTQ people. This initiative is not meant to make Eurovision a Pride festival, as it would be arranged by the host city and be just one activity out of many events during the week, but we think that standing up for human rights in this fashion would be a great addition to the Eurovision experience.

julle-bergenholtz

What type of space do you propose? Would this be a designated building, or something larger like an entire city block or park with tents?

When I envision the space, I see a space outside, maybe a park, maybe a field, with tents, stages and different kinds of interactive activities (perhaps quizzes, meet and greets, karaoke and so on). Here, people could meet up with old friends and hang out, or find new contacts within the LGBTQ community, all within the spirit of the Eurovision Song Contest.

What types of events will go on there? 

Apart from the things mentioned above, my hope is that there would be performances by past and present Eurovision acts. I also think it would be great to have a big screen and show the different parts of the contest within the area, for those that haven’t gotten tickets. The space could also provide a way of contact with Swedish organizations and companies working with LGBTQ issues in some way.

Krista Siegfrids Ding Dong Marry Me Kiss Gif

The last time Sweden hosted Eurovision, we got this same-sex kiss

What would the benefits be for the city of Stockholm and for Eurovision?

For Stockholm, it would be a way of strengthening its image as a LGBTQ-friendly city. Depending on how this space is executed and marketed though, I think the biggest gain could be for the Eurovision community, as Stockholm has the opportunity to send a message to future host cities. Hopefully, it can set the standard for upcoming events and change attitudes against LGBTQ people in countries where discrimination and hate are more prevalent.

Have city officials expressed a willingness to cooperate with you?

Since about a month back, I have been in talks with the Liberal Party in Stockholm, where several local politicians has started to work within the Stockholm City Council to make this a reality. We have a great cooperation and are consulting each other on the next steps to take to ensure that Stockholm will make this happen. The next step will probably be within the Stockholm City Council, as the question about the LGBTQ space in Eurovision probably will be brought up in city hall in November. So we are hopeful!

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22 Comments
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Pastora Soler haha!
Pastora Soler haha!
5 years ago

I feel shame reading this, gay people in NORMAL countries don’t need a “safe” area.

Just pathetic, can’t believe this from Sweden… ¬¬

Noah
Noah
5 years ago

I wonder whether they’ll try to organize a:

– “Jewish only” zone,
– “Muslims only” zone,
– “Feminists only” zone,
– “As*holes only” zone, etc.

It would be fun. And make them wear signs, like the old good year 1939-45. Pathetic.

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
5 years ago

oh wait other than Max’s

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
5 years ago

agree agree agree with all these comments

Österrike
Österrike
5 years ago

I am happy Eurovision fan who happens to be gay, but actually the gay factor of the song contest should be toned down a bit and not further raised. Given how corrupt EBU is, I think it is no coincidence that in recent years the 5 most politically correct countries were winning and among them Sweden receives a constant push. Because these countries together with EBU are capitalizing on the gay fandom of Eurovision massively and exploit the gays with their merchandise and events. The gay extras in this years ESC were massive, but the prices as well. Tickets were… Read more »

Max
Max
5 years ago

“here is a lot of hate and discrimination growing in many parts of Europe, Sweden included, due to the rise of xenophobic political parties.”

What absolute rubbish, its not political parties causing the homophobic hate crimes in Europe. It’s the Islamification of Europe that is causing more hate crimes against us. People who believe a book that says it is their duty to kill us.

reality
reality
5 years ago

@Huh don’t worry i’ll be there, bulletproof windows ain’t stopping me!

Amerivision
Amerivision
5 years ago

@Huh OMG! I was waiting for someone to bring up that South Park episode! *sing* Bully-proofed windows, troll-safe doors in my safe space….

With that said, I don’t think it’s necessary. If this was Moscow, then yeah. But instead of inclusion, this would separate them. Isn’t ESC brings everyone together, not break them into groups?

Lanti
Lanti
5 years ago

Sounds like they’re fusing Eurovision and Stockholm Pride. Time to make the traffic worse.

Huh
Huh
5 years ago

South Park’s character named “Reality” should drop by at their parade.

jr esc nl
jr esc nl
5 years ago

i don’t think any gay man/woman has ever felt unsafe at esc and it’s sweden… this is unneeded and i don’t want the show to focus on the gay part too much because that hasn’t anything to do with it.

Daniel
Daniel
5 years ago

Isnt that kind of segregation?

Callum Nowacki
Callum Nowacki
5 years ago

I really agree with RockMe – Eurovision is gay friendly but not gay pride.

I mean, if xenophobic parties are encouraging homophobic attacks, then these parties should cease to exist. To hell with democracy, get rid of facists and xenophobes – including the parties.

Tom
Tom
5 years ago

This is foolish. I do not see the point

Rock Me
Rock Me
5 years ago

This is ridiculous.Gay people are the same like everyone else, they are just attracted to the same sex.So why make boundaries? ESC is gay friendly but not a gay pride.There will always be homophobes but there were no big incidents last years, and there definitely won’t be incidents in Sweden.

jeri
jeri
5 years ago

as a part of the lgbtq community although i dont like labeling myself. I think this idea is silly. i also dont like how eurovision has become a kind of gay exclusive thing. it makes it hard for it to expand. acts take advantage of the lgbtq and do gimmicks to get lgbtq votes its kind of annoying really. i dont get the need for this i want us all to unit to be seperated for safety thats causes devision plus why put fear into peoples head.

MTD
MTD
5 years ago

The ESC was always a gay parade, now it is official. Add this to the world’s other parades.

Pitiful.

Uncalled and unnecessary. Using ESC as a platform to parade your low self-esteem is not how you may win the “battle”. It will only give arguments to the other side. You really act like a spoiled brat.

fikri
fikri
5 years ago

gay people should really stop hijacking this song contest… i mean, i’m gay and having a “space” especially for us is ridiculous. :/

Craig
Craig
5 years ago

Waste of time. If Russia or Belarus host anytime soon, this sounds like a great idea, but not necessary for Stockholm.

Charles
Charles
5 years ago

Too gay-ego-centric approach to an issue that fortunantely plays no role in a country like Sweden. Safety and danger are always present inside and outside the Eurovision world, so this whole Eurovision-Gay thing is just .. reductive. “Boxing” and “Setting people apart” in the same of safety is just BS: the true challenge is to be LGBT but integrated in the world alongside everybody, not reinforcing segregation within it. The worldwide audience that still watches Eurovision already knows “why there are so many men in t-shirts and tank tops in the front rows” therefore it just makes no sense in… Read more »

Leaf
Leaf
5 years ago

Maybe we should focus more on the refugee crisis happening now …… The entire idea is atrocious, gay people are people and creating that “safe space” is not needed and I hope this doesn’t get funded at all, especially since Eurovision is as gay friendly as it gets …… if they came up with this idea back in 2012 when Baku hosted the contest I would have been OK with it.

D
D
5 years ago

Unneeded and unnecessary