Skeive Sørlandsdager celebrated in Kristiansand.
With the weather changing from heatwaves to rainstorms every twenty minutes during the month of August, the rainbow was starting to become an almost permanent figure up in the sky. It was only fitting that near the end of August the streets would also be outfitted with rainbows. In the form of flags, stickers, banners and posters as the city prepared to celebrate the pride festival Skeive Sørlandsdager.
Skeive Sørlandsdager is an LGBT event created by LLH (the national union of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people), it is an annual event hosted in Kristiansand that features seminars, show nights, debates, parties and a fantastic parade.
The opening of this year’s Skeive Sørlandsdager consisted of musical performances and speeches from a variety of members of LLH, Amnesty and other guests. Among them was the famous author Amal Aden who told of the hardships she had faced in order to be herself in order to live her life with a double minority in Norway, as a gay Muslim.
This year Skeive Sørlandsdager also did the honor of handing out the 14th annual homofryds award, which is awarded to a person or organization that have done an outstanding job of supporting the LGBT community that year. In 2014 it turned out to be no other than Kristiansand’s very own Heidi A Solaas, one of Kristiansand’s Christian residents. For having apologized on the behalf of the church for neglecting the right homosexual couples have to marry their partner. After that, the weekend was filled with celebrations and activities. With special visits from both entertainers and figureheads who wanted to come and show both their support and spread their message.
However, Skeive Sørlandsdager is not complete without its main event: The parade. 300 people had gathered to march in it while countless other had come to watch the parade and cheer, as the big, bright rainbow banner passed them by. Among the marching people was Skeive Ungdom Sør (Queer Youth South, that sounds better in Norwegian. I swear), who is a youth organization that deals with gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans people under the age of 30. They offer a supportive and nurturing environment regardless of religious background or political stance. They have numerous biweekly events set up, they do have a strict no alcohol policy at their events since the group also has members below the legal drinking age. Whereas LLH’s events is aimed more towards adults, though minors are welcome to join. Their events do unfortunately cost a few kroner to get in to but you can get in for free by getting a membership to LLH for almost the same price as an entry ticket to one of their events. The membership is paid once a year and it lasts up until January 1st the following year. In other words, it’s cheaper to become a member.
Now. If you do want a LGBT group that is even closer to you, you can always turn to the newly established LGBT group right here in good, old UiA. Lead by Madeleine Dolby (25). Who tells us that the group is a place for UiA’s gay, lesbian, trans and bi student who just want to meet and have some fun in the company of other LGBT people. The group is mainly based around socializing, “it is meant to be a way for people to get to know each other and to gather those of us who are queer and give us sort of a presence.”
The group will be going to do different activities and events based solely on what the members want to do rather than a schedule monthly. The group is of course exclusive to UiA students and is one of the few major secrets UiA have that we in Unikum tell you. Because due to the fact that not everyone is comfortable announcing their sexuality, the student group has done some adjustments to be able to help those of its members who do require some discretion. Keep it secret. Thereby making themselves fly below the radar and avoid being too open about their student group.
If you are interested in joining the group, you can send a text message to 0047 40646956 saying “UiA LGBT: [your name]” to become a member, they will get in contact with you and give you updates on upcoming LGBT events. Straight people are just as welcome as any queer person. All we ask is that everyone is discreet, polite and open to others.
She also mentions that despite of popular belief, Kristiansand actually do have an active gay community. There is always something planed you can check out. We also have a thing called Skeiv idrett which is a weekly sporting event for everyone who may want to join. We do a variety of activities, most of which are ball games.
Sidenote: If you have any questions related to sexuality or similar topics. Ungdomstelefonen might be able to help, just dial 0047 81000277. Their operators are waiting to answer any questions you may have.
Tekst: Mats Sauro Høimyr – firstname.lastname@example.org
Foto: Francesca Gavotti & Helen Mehammer – email@example.com