29/08/2012 | Writer: Kaos GL
Desada Metaj, a well known journalist of Klan Television of Albania had the opportunity to participate at the latest gay pride in Stockholm.
Desada Metaj, a well known journalist of Klan Television of Albania had the opportunity to participate at the latest gay pride in Stockholm. She wrote her experience for “My Story” in a detailed article about this pride, and explained why this was considered to be one of the most distinguished happy manifestations in Sweden.
Please find her article below:
For Christer Wennerholm, the Vice Mayor of Stockholm is difficult to hide the emotions when he stands up in front of us and shares the story of his life, being divorced from a 12 years marriage and living normally after that, his homosexual love and relationship. He tries to look calm, though. His son is a grown up student now, while Christer is one of the persons in charge for organizing the Stockholm’s Pride. This is the first meeting between him and us, the journalists from 12 foreigner countries, including Albania and myself who traveled there in order to document this kind of event, that has never happened in our cities or countries.
While Christer shares sincerely with us his life story, some of the journalist could not hide their astonishment. They often look stunned to each other just to confirm that what they think and feel is common through the other journalists. It can be understandable though: we all come from countries where a Gay Pride is still a taboo.
This astonishing moment passes though, after at least half an hour and the journalists start to feel Ok, the situation looks more relaxed. We finally start to ask and by the answers we realize that this untold story has not been easy for no one. Even for Christer himself, the vice mayor who has decided to put an awareness banner with LGBT flag on each bus that belongs to the public transportation system in Stockholm, was not easy at all.
Was he strongly opposed for his choice to come out? Of course! But it lookls like no one can oppose in such a democratic country a decision made upon one of the principles of human rights: sexual freedom!
But obviously, a huge effort was needed to achieve this. Most of the journalists, coming from countries with problems in applying democratic values, were convinced that this huge step should be merited the politicians. Christer does not fully agree. He adds: At the end, don’t forget that these politicians are elected by the people! This people might look strange to most of us, but they are tolerant without any doubt!
According to e special department only for tourism at the MUnicipilaty of Stockholm, the Pride days attract a huge number of people, more than every other major event in the city. In order to accommodate everyone, the logistic preparations are made weeks ahead.
The participants will have the entire central part of the city for their march. Everything looks ready: spaces for food, for souvenirs and of course, an important space for music, for different bands has been prepared ahead.
We were told and later on we were testimonies of the fact that this pride goes on until the morning. These are the hours though, when the journalists feel more relaxed and more sincere towards each other, we are able to know each other more, and better. We share with each other our local stories regarding gay prides. We all think the same: it is still a taboo in our countries to have an event like that, although necessary!
But this was only the beginning. For our surprise, this event gathered a huge number of people even during an early morning on a Saturday hot day. The participants were members of different religion belongings. They were together with family members, with young children and others, while positioning themselves on both sides of the main street were the pride was going to be held and waited.
I could not stand without noticing this calm and so patient Sweden culture of waiting without being nervous, waiting in calm and in that organized way, in completely contrast of what might have happened in my country. I recall the years of communism, when we all were forced to participate during those gray and sad military parades on the accession of May 1st. Saluting our leaders who were standing in fronts of us and trying to smile, to be happy and to wait… Wait to see a ridiculous march of military pride against an imaginary enemy… You could not even think how tired people were feeling afterwards, in those specific military and national pride events. But what is happening in Stockholm is completely different of my memories.
But when the gay pride with at least 50 thousand people starts,the music, the joy and that atmosphere have nothing in common with our gray memories…
You could feel the missing freedom, during tens and tens of years. You could also feel the joy of not being discriminated, like everyone trhere was feeling. You could see the joy and the freedom of the people who could express themselves without the fear that everything in their lives was going to be demolished and destroy!
This is a fantastic experience!
This celebration is our celebration as well, in every sense!
But as this pride might be our celebration as well, unfortunately it can be ours and lasts only for this day…! For sure, we as journalist will face the same old discrimination when we will go back in our countries. A sort of discrimination that often is supported by journalists themselves…
What I saw and experienced was a march of joy, a big celebration of different genders, sexual orientations, of different professions, of different religious people as well (a Sweden church has as spiritual leader a lesbian women married with her partner).
I thought I was going to spend much more time for my favorite writer in Sweden, Stieg Larson, but believe me, the pride and everything around it occupied my all time!
I feel more open minded here… I can understand more and I hope I will bring this feeling in my country.
I have used often the word discrimination when I had to cover many issues for LGBT in my country. But do you know what? I never heard that word in Sweden! Because, I believe that a civilized nation has more respect for itself when it fights with dignity, rather than when it cries showing so lack of possibilities to change itself! I might feel fed up with words, rhetoric and round tables in my countries. I think it is the time to encourage grassroots and active movements, rather than sophisticated NGOs dealing with their old donors…
We need to encourage grassroots activists who co-work with each other in order to change the rhetoric of discrimination into tolerance...
By: Desada Metaj