West Pride 2017 Does Sweden Proud
Gothenburg's vibrant LGBTQ community sends a message of acceptance in the leadup to EuroPride 2018.
photos by andre landeros michel
One of the most livable cities in Sweden, Gothenburg is also a proudly working class city with a large working harbor, modern architecture and thriving cultural scene. In similar cities in other parts of the world—think Liverpool or Melbourne—the LGBTQ community has often had to struggle to earn acceptance, blazing a vibrant rainbow trail along the way that has helped create an urban renaissance of sorts. So is the case with Gothenburg, or Göteborg, as the locals call it, and West Pride is the community organization that led the way, with activists such as EuroPride coordinator Alex Snäckerström focused on a commitment to creating a city—and a European continent—that is free from prejudice and discrimination. As the tattoo on Snäckerström's neck states proudly, "No Queers, No Glory."
West Pride is one of the unifying threads in a city that was once very homophobic. Today, the city boasts 1,000 officially displayed rainbow flags for Pride, which is June 11 through 17. The festival and parade attract all kinds of people from Gothenburg and the western parts of Sweden, including straight couples with children. Everyone is moved by a joy that unites them. At the Pride Park, during a same-sex salsa display, we saw a woman weeping openly with joy at the on-stage proof that love really is love.
The mission of West Pride is to display and promote sexual, gender and racial diversity publicly—through art, culture, and self-expression. This year in particular sent a message that was accepting of refugees and illegal immigrants. Signs implored other European and Middle Eastern countries to accept LGBTQ people. Watching the West Pride Pride Parade proves that West coast Swedes are well on the way to accomplishing their mission, and continue to spread a message of peace, joy, and acceptance—they will co-host EuroPride with Stockholm in 2018. Scroll down to see images of the parade.