Proud Parents from Sweden and Russia Shared Their Experience and Support with QueerFest

Proud Parents from Sweden and Russia met on September 24. The parents got acquainted in summer, while participating in a special exchange project carried out by Coming Out (Russia) with the support of Civil Rights Defenders and the Swedish Institute: mothers of LGBT people from Saint Petersburg visited Stockholm Gay Pride and marched in a column with the members of the Proud Parents Network (Sweden). This week's event included showing a film about the trip and the parents' getting acquainted. The Russian mothers described their emotions of the pride and diversity festival, and the Swedish mothers shared their impressions of the Parents' Club from Saint Petersburg. It was also pleasantly surprising to see not only the mothers, but also two proud fathers on the meeting.

Besides sharing of the impressions and discussing the stories of the parents' organizations, the mothers and fathers were glad to answer the questions from the auditory — for example, the ones considering their own coming-outs in front of their relatives and friends. It was also interesting to know that the Proud Parents Network works differently from the way the Parents' Club of Coming Out functions: it turned out that the Swedish parents do not have meetings with LGBT community members. The mothers from Sweden said they would be happy to try to arrange such meetings.

The atmosphere of the event was very warm and friendly. All the stories were full of feelings and emotions. It was very interesting to listen to the parents, and we are grateful to them for their courage, support and love. As Lena Musolina said at the meeting, 'When the family atmosphere is serene, the person is self-confident and serene outside the family as well'. Our mothers can not be certain that their LGBT children are safe and happy, but their love and encouragement can inspire the whole generation to fight for their rights and freedom. Thank you!

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