Stockholm Pride 2012: party or politics?

"It's party, it's politics, it's energy"

5:30 min

As this year's Stockholm Pride festival begins, the media build up and heated debates that surround the festival each year are in full swing. Some critics say the festival has become too political - with activists hijacking Pride to blow their own horns- but there are also those who criticise the festival's organisers for not taking enough of a political stand.

In recent years, the discussion of who should be allowed to partake in Pride festivities ends up as a discussion about political persuasions within the LGBTQ community. Critical journalists and members of the community say that the Pride movement has been hijacked by left-wing activists who use it as a platform for their causes.

Jon Voss is head of the LGBT publishing company QX, and has been involved in Pride since the first year in 1998. He says the debate surrounding how political Pride should be reflects conflicting developments within the LGBTQ community.

"There is a new generation that are more identified with the queer identity, and they are critical of the older gay, lesbian, bisexual and even transexual identity. They think you can't have an identity based on sexuality only, but you need to combine it with other political identites and other agendas", Voss said.

The festival's manager Alf Kjeller is careful to point out that Stockholm Pride does not act as a mouthpiece for the LGBTQ community. While some say political rifts threaten to separate the community - Kjeller thinks a little political tension is healthy.

"There are LGBT people who believe in different things - we don't exclude them. Pride is an arena for discussion", he said.

Kjeller says he thinks that question of whether Pride is political or a party hasn't gotten the LGBTQ community anywhere. According to Kjeller, these kind of discussions in the media attempt to split the LGBTQ community and the Pride event into categories. And it's exactly social categories that Pride attempts to break free from. Kjeller says there is no reason you can not be have a political opinion and have fun on the dancefloor.

"Pride is everything - it's party, it's politics, it's energy. It's a way of expressing yourself, whether you like politics or whether you like parties", Kjeller said.