Today is my last full day in Sweden. Off to Scotland tomorow morning. I spoke with Alex and Noa, a queer Christian couple I met on-line before coming here, about the myths many of us in the USA carry about Sweden. While conservatives point to it as an example of gays gone wild and evidence of the fall of Western cilivilation, many of us queer folks think of it as some sort of gay paradise where Swedish society fully embracies LGBT people.
Not so simple as that. Turns out the state of Connecticut, where I live, has much more progressive laws protecting the rights of transgender individuals then here in Sweden. Hate crimes happen all too often in Sweden. Far too many parents and churches reject transgender, lesbian, bisexual and gay loved ones. Extreme Right Wing activists say many dreadful lies about LGBT individuals. Yes, they have made some amazing advances here in Sweden. But it is no gay paradise. Intolerance, fear, hate can not be legislated away. That takes time and relationships and sitting together and hearing each other’s stories.
The pictures you see here come from the beach area in Malmö. The amazing building is the Turning Torso designed by Spanish architect and sculptor, Santiago Calatrava. It stands as Europe’s tallest apartment building. And as you can see, it is very photogenic. And below you will see the fine art that inspired the structure.
Also, I bumped into a lovely standard poodle, whose owner was thrilled when I asked to take a photo of her dog. The dog was uncertain at first, but after I took the first shot, began to pose like a pro. They get an awful lot of America’s Next Top Model here. In fact, I’ve seen more American TV programs here in one week than I had seen for three months in the States!