Stockholm Pride celebrates its 25 years anniversary in 2023. The special occasion is a great opportunity to bring more people together and arrange extraordinary celebrations. To do this in a healthier and more inclusive way, Stockholm Pride will invest more in alcohol-free offers and environments.
LGBTQI+ people have been shown in several studies to be disproportionately exposed to alcohol harm. The alcohol industry markets their products to a large extent in arenas where LGBTQI+ people are present.

Stockholm Pride is an annual gay pride festival held in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. Since the start in 1998, Stockholm Pride has grown. For example, in 2014, some 60,000 people participated and 600,000 spectators supported the parade in the streets of Stockholm, according to Wikipedia. The celebrations also include workshops and exhibitions all over the city. In 2023, Stockholm Pride will take place during week 31 (July 31 till August 6).

The association Stockholm Pride is a non-profit and member-driven organization for everyone who shares their core values. The association’s purpose is to make LGBTQ+ issues visible and create a free zone for homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender people, queer people, intersex people and the gender expressions that exist within the LGBTQ+ movement.

For the anniversary Pride week, Stockholm Pride will invest more in and expand alcohol-free spaces and the offer of alcohol-free choices.

We have written into our new restaurant agreement that the range of non-alcoholic options should increase. We want a range that suits many visitors,” says Fredrik Saweståhl, chairperson of Stockholm Pride, according to Accent reporting.

Since we walk the streets of Stockholm, it is clear that we do not expect people to drink alcohol, and we do not want people to be intoxicated when they walk in the parade.

Fredrik Saweståhl, chairperson, Stockholm Pride

Fredrik Saweståhl expects that people stay alcohol-free during the Pride Parade itself as it passes through Stockholm during the day.

Stockholm Pride has discussed how they should relate to alcoholic beverages being marketed to a group that is especially exposed to alcohol problems.

In a widely-read opinion column for Movendi International, Amy C. Willis exposed how supposedly safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community are hijacked by Big Alcohol and thus made unsafe for already vulnerable people.

And Movendi International provides resources to shed light on alcohol harm in the LGBTQUI+ community.

In 2021, studies from the United States showed that the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated harm caused by the alcohol industry in the LGBTQI+ community. While alcohol consumption increased in the general population, it rose even more in the LGBTQI+ community, leading to much greater harm. The disruption of social connection within the community was worsening the problem.

A 2021 study found that mental health inequalities in non-heterosexuals have not narrowed, despite increasing societal acceptance of the LGBTQI+ community. Compared to heterosexuals, bisexual, and lesbian/gay people were more likely to have common mental disorder (CMD) and alcohol use problems

At the same time, alcohol companies are aggressively promoting their products among the LGBTQI+ community, exploiting an already vulnerable community for corporate profits. But as the rainbow branding is co-opted by alcohol companies, local groups and activists, such as in New York, are stepping up to protect Pride in particular and the LGBTQI+ cause in general from the alcohol industry.

What we have done is to ensure that we offer a wider range of alcohol-free options. And it shouldn’t just be soft drinks or water,” said Fredrik Saweståhl, according to Accent.

But it is completely unrealistic to run a festival without having a range of all different types of drinks.

Fredrik Saweståhl, chairperson, Stockholm Pride

Stockholm Pride has no problem with having partners or sponsors who sell alcohol products. Fredrik Saweståhl says the festival itself has not had any major problems with excesses and harm due to alcohol.

There may be some disorder, but there’s a lot going on around town and it is not just our activities.”

Fredrik Saweståhl, chairperson, Stockholm Pride

At the same time, he says Stockholm Pride was an important platform for the LGBTQI+ movement, and that they had a responsibility to reflect healthy values.

Elias Fjellander, chairperson of RFSL Ungdom (Youth), says that all their activities are free from alcohol and other drugs because they know that sober meeting places are needed.

RFSL Ungdom is the Swedish Youth Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Rights. RFSL Ungdom is one of Europe’s largest and most influential LGBTQ youth organisations with 2,000 members throughout the country.

The most health-promoting thing you can do for LGBTQ youth is to offer alcohol-free meeting places because they are extra vulnerable,” says Elias Fjellander, chairperson of RFSL Ungdom (Youth), according to Accent.

LGBTQ youth have poorer health compared to other young people. They also have lower trust in public institutions, such as healthcare, and fewer LGBTQ youth feel that they have adults around them that they can trust. Therefore, it is very important to have safe meeting places.”

Elias Fjellander, chairperson, RFSL Ungdom

RFSL Ungdom does not cooperate with alcohol producers for ethical reasons.

As long as the rights of LGBTQI+ youth do not correspond to those of other young people, we must rally for their rights. This means active work on the internet, skills development, and business choices that promote the rights of LGBTQI people in Sweden and internationally.”

Elias Fjellander, chairperson, RFSL Ungdom

It was not enough for a company to back RFSL Ungdom financially for them to become partners, explains Elias Fjellander, according to Accent.

It is also required that they take responsibility for their own activities. Then it is generally the case that the alcohol norm we have in society is destructive and causes many people, not least within the LGBTQI group, to feel bad and get hurt.”

Elias Fjellander, chairperson, RFSL Ungdom

Source Website: Accent [translated from Swedish]