FROM hbt-GBG TO HOMOPHOBIA THERAPY
FIRST FESTIVAL IN GOTHENBURG: HBT-GBG
The festival was founded in 2007 by Gothenburg City Theatre, Kulturhuset Blå Stället, Pustervik, Röhsska and Världskulturmuseet. At the founding the festival was given the name HBT-GBG (LGBT-GBG)
THE FESTIVAL IS GROWING
HBT-GBG grew a lot its first years, in 2009 around 30 different organization/institutions and such participated, the program included over 130 activities that contained dance, music, theatre, debates, movies, exhibitions and so on. The festival also had an international part with movie showings and panel discussions.
THE FIRST PARADE
The Rainbow Walk, today called Pride Parade, was organized for the first time. Thousands of people participated in the parade from the Opera of Gothenburg to Götaplatsen. The year after, in 2011, the festival changed its name to HBTQ-festivalen (the LGBTQ festival) in order to be more including. The same year Regnbågsparken, today called Pride Park, was held in Bältespännarparken in Gothenburg city centre, but since the festival grew massively the area became too small, which is why the festival in 2012 also used parts of Trädgårdsföreningen as a part of the park.
SEVERAL GREAT ADDITIONS
During 2014 multiple additions were made to the festival. West Pride Ung (West Pride Youth), which is West Pride’s own arrangement for young LGBTQI people, was being held for the first time, at that time at Frilagret. It became like a festival of its own inside the original festival and was very appreciated. Also, Queer Allsång (The Queer Sing-along), which is now a classic part of the finale of the Pride Parade, was in the program for the first time in 2014. Finally, Regnbågskvarteret, today known as Pride House, was established, where most of the festival’s seminars, panel discussions, debates, plays and such are held.
PUSH FOR PRIDE
West Prides theme for 2015 was called Push for Pride. A machine with a “pride button” was placed in Nordstan so bypassers could press it to show their support for human rights. All button pushes generated a petition which later was sent to multiple politicians in the parliament and the government. Push for Pride, which was created in cooperation with Dragster Kommunikation, was nominated to Swedish Design Award, for its graphical form.
ANNIVERSARY AND EDUCATIONS
West Pride had a big celebration for the tenth festival in 2016. The same year West Pride and UR (Education Radio) cooperated in order to develop West Pride’s school and educating material. Beside the development of the material, the cooperation also lead to several documentaries that were shown during the festival.
KAJ HEINO AWARD
The Kaj Heino Award is an award founded by West Pride in 2017, in memory of Kaj Heino, who was a well-known activist within refugee, human rights and antidiscrimination issues. Kaj was active within West Pride since the start of the festival and was a member of Gothenburg City’s LGBTQ-council. The award does not include any money but is an honorary award and is given to those who have worked in the spirit of Kaj Heino, as an activist within refugee, human rights and antidiscrimination issues.
In 2018 Gothenburg and West Pride had the honour to host EuroPride, that is a traveling festival founded by the organization EPOA. Each year the rights of using the title EuroPride is assigned to a European city, but in 2018 it was the first time that EuroPride was held in two different cities the same year, since also Stockholm and Stockholm Pride were hosting EuroPride 2018. In Gothenburg EuroPride was arranged simultaniously as Gothenburg Culture Festival and among other artists the icon Boy George and Culture Club, Silvana Imam and Robert Fux performed. 25 000 people joined the Pride Parade, which had 50 000 viewers – a fantastic record!
Before the festival in 2019 West Pride released Homophobia Therapy, a self–help therapy based on cognitive behavioural therapy. Homophobia Therapy is supposed to counteract trans-, bi- and homophobia. The therapy is developed together with a psychologist, has eight steps and is avaliable at Spotify.
NOTHING WENT AS PLANNED
Year 2020 was marked by the corona pandemic. Just like many other events in the cultural industry West Pride 2020 was cancelled due to restrictions and recommendations.
This was the first time ever West Pride was cancelled, which was very unfortunate. West Pride 2020 had all the preconditions to be carried out as one of the best festivals ever. Instead West Pride focused on educations on both schools and other organisations and businesses.