“Stockholm Pride is more political and less humorous than Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, but it also seems more inclusive,” I explained to an Australian friend who has lived in Stockholm for 12 years.
“That’s not to say Sydney’s Mardi Gras isn’t political,” I added. “It is, but it’s usually expressed with humor and satire.”
Stockholm Pride is more explicitly political than many other Pride events. Most of the major political parties participate, and I even saw former Swedish Prime Minister Mona Sahlin marching. There is also a greater awareness of broader political issues beyond Sweden’s borders, which I appreciate. Organizers recognize that people in some parts of the world do not enjoy the same freedoms as LGBTQ+ people in Sweden.
It’s not only political, though, and there’s a fair bit of cross dressing and fun, colourful costumes.
Having seen a fair few of these types of parades over the years there’s not a lot that can shock or surprise any more. That said, the sight of a heavily tanned and reasonably overweight completely naked 60-something woman did kind of shock me. In the midst of all the glitter, there was someone completely naked walking down the street! After the shock wore off I was left with a feeling “good on her”, knowing I could never do anything like that myself.
I especially loved being able to watch the show with my friend Graeme who is here right now, along with Sandra and Robert.
Sandra is my “pen pal”, as we might have said thirty years ago before the internet. We’ve been following each other’s blogs for a couple of years now. We met last year in Sweden, and this year in Sydney. And once again now in Stockholm.
“They’re a really great couple”, I said to Graeme, as we bid Sandra and Robert a fond farwell later in the afternoon.