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Homophobic Violence in Immigrant Communities

in SWEDEN, 24/09/2004

Even in the Tolerant Nordic Countries Young Gay People Face Violence

Stockholm - Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish and immigrant
researchers, parliamentarians, journalists, human rights activists and culture workers will gather in Stockholm October 15-16 to discuss "honor" violence against lesbian and gay immigrants and refugees in the Nordic nations.

"We chose the theme 'Honored to Silence, Honored to Death' after seeing this spring's many demonstrations and appeals condemning the honor killings of immigrant women here in Sweden - but the almost total silence over the oppression of young lesbians and gays in the immigrant communities," says Bill Schiller, of the Nordic Homo Council and Tupilak - the Nordic organization of lesbian and gay cultural workers.

"We are convinced that a Nordic interchange of experience,
research and ideas can be extremely beneficial," says Stefan
Vilbergsson, an Icelander working with the Nordic Council's information office in Stockholm, Norden i Fokus -- co-organizer of the conference. "And we hope that this can be the beginning of a series of Nordic discussions in other Nordic cities as well."

"Verbal and physical violence against homosexuals occurs all
over the world - from neo Nazis, politicians, church leaders and even family members in all cultures and religions," Schiller adds. "We want to use this conference to focus special attention on those young homosexuals living both in a new Nordic culture and in the traditions of another culture. And we want to see how homo culture can help put a spotlight on an often-hidden reality for many -- and help change minds and attitudes in the Nordic region."

The Stockholm conference will take place at the downtown
Mediterranean Museum on October 15 and at Rinkeby Folkets Hus in the immigrant-rich city surburb of Rinkeby on October 16. A follow-up meeting will take place in the Swedish west coast city of Gothenberg on November 6.
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