“It’s a lot more political, lacks a bit of the humour, but also seems more inclusive” was how I described the differences and similarities between Stockholm Pride and Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to an Australian living in Stockholm, but who has now been living abroad for 12 years.
“That’s not to say Sydney isn’t political. It is political, but usually with a bit of humour and satire”, I went on to say.
Stockholm Pride is more overtly political. Most of the major political parties have people marching, and I even spotted former Prime Minister, Mona Sahlin amongst those taking part. There’s also a greater awareness of broader political issues beyond Swedish borders which I like very much. There’s recognition that people in some parts of the world don’t enjoy the freedoms enjoyed by gays and lesbians living in Sweden. My favourite “float” is the group which features people with gaffer tape over their mouths marching with the sign “Marching for those who can’t”. Great stuff!
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.