Tag Archives: Sweden

What Is It Like To Grow Up Without The Rigid Gender Roles (Video)

In Vice’s newest documentary Raised Without Gender, host Amelia Abraham goes to Sweden – the world’s most forward thinking country when it comes to questioning gender – to find out what it’s like to grow up without the gender binary.

The documentary comes at a time when transgender issues are at the forefront of liberation debate across the world and more young people than ever before are defining as something other than simply “male” or “female.”

In Sweden, the gender neutral pronoun “hen” has been in the national dictionary since 2015 and is now commonly used by most Swedes, the Swedish government’s school plan has since 1998 forbidden enforcing gender stereotypes, and government funded gender neutral kindergartens with gender aware teachers has made it possible for families to raise their children without a set gender identity, something that often sparks controversy in the foreign press.

In the film, Abraham spends time with one of these gender non-conforming families, mapa (mom and dad) Del LaGrace Volcano who was born intersex (both male and female), the children Mika (5) and Nico (3) and their grandma Margareta.

She visits Mika and Nico’s gender aware kindergarten to find out what the teachers and the other kids make of Mika’s gender expression.

She also meets the founder of Sweden’s gender-neutral kindergartens, Lotta Rajalin, to learn how they go about deleting gender norms from education, as well as psychiatrist Dr Eberhard who is against Sweden’s attitude to gender in kindergartens.

Lesbian Singer Zhala Makes Ethereal Queer-Pop

Zhala’s performances look more like an art installation than a concert.

The singer, often called “Kurdish Lady Gaga,” drapes herself in Kurdish and Swedish flags. Tie-dye sheets adorn the stage, flowers line the walls, and a hookah steams near the microphone. She sprays the audience with rose water before the first song’s track clicks into place.

This fiery, queer singer does not look like your average Swiss person – she’s not tall, blonde or blue-eyed. Both of her parents are Kurdish, and her mother even spent five years in the mountains fighting in the Iraqi Kurdi military Peshmerga. Her father still lives in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Zhala was raised Muslim in a predominantly atheist country, and although she was born in Stockholm, other Swedish people question her identity frequently.

The young artist decided to blend Kurdish dance music with Swedish pop in order to create a unique, otherworldly sound. She creates a different type of Swedish songs: She discusses identity politics without being “prepackaged,” she said.

She discusses her experiences growing up in Sweden which, through no fault of her own, have always been closely tied to Middle Eastern and European politics. For example, due to the war in Syria and Sweden’s rising nationalist parties, Zhala has experienced greater xenophobia and physical threats in the past few years.

She says,

If you’re not white, you always lose. There is a lot of racism and it is growing in Sweden.”

She creates music for people who, like her, have struggled to define their own identities. She says about her music:

It’s anti-nationalism. I don’t even care about the nations. It’s simplifying something complicated, but it’s [also] about having no borders. That’s how I see it. Having a lot of flags is not making it nationalistic, other people are doing that. They think the world needs to be that. I’m not going to change my opinion, I’m not a nationalist. People mirror themselves when they look at someone when they perform. I am trying to be transparent when I perform. I’m trying to be me. Here I am, whether you like it or not.”

On top of being the child of non-white immigrants, Zhala is also queer, which adds another layer of complexity to her assimilation into Swedish culture. In response, she has created what she describes as a “maximalist” musical aesthetic. She says, “To take the energy off me being Kurdish as an identity, I dress more extreme. It takes the pressure off of your nationality, which can be a nice break.”

Her genre is hard to pin down, although you could describe it as cosmic electropop or perhaps spiritual electroshine. Spirituality has always played a major role in Zhala’s life; even after converting from Islam, she remains close to her spirituality through crystals and meditation.

Check out her ethereal music at her official website.

Check Out A New Album from Swedish Lesbian Rapper Silvana

Silvana Imam is a fiery lesbian Swedish rapper who rhymes about feminism, immigration and sexuality. Her motto? “I just write the truth of me.”

Rap helped her define her identity. Half-Lithuanian and half-Syrian, she often felt like an outsider as a child even though she looked white. Because her parents spoke only Lithuanian and Arabic at home, Silvana’s Swedish suffered.

She turned, surprisingly, to American rap music. Perhaps Silvana connected with it because these artists rapped about being colored outsiders on the fringe of mainstream society, just as Silvana was. Perhaps she connected with it because African-American rap was the furthest thing from her mostly-white Swedish community and Silvana needed an escape. Or perhaps she just liked the way it sounded. She started with Xzibit, the Fugees and Nas, and only later added Swedish rappers such as Petter.

The Fugees’ music taught her about the transformative power of socially conscious rap. Silvana finally had a framework for understanding and expressing the problems of the world, which influences her work to this day.

If you think it’s too late to start your own rap career, take heart – Silvana didn’t start rapping professionally until she was in her twenties. She had to fit in rap around her difficult psychology coursework in university. Despite the scheduling difficulties, she soon finished her first mixtape, Requiem. Her first album, IMAM, followed to widespread acclaim. Her second album, Naturkraft, debuted in 2016.

Her lyrics include incendiary lines such as, “Go kiss your f—ing Swaztikas,” and “We are the new Stonewall Revolution.”

In a recent VICE interview, she discussed her relationship with rap, what it’s like to win Sweden’s Artist of the Year 2016, and the widespread success of her latest album, Naturkraft.

She told VICE,

Everything I do is political. Society made me political – I’m a lesbian, a feminist, and an immigrant. We have a saying in Sweden: once you see political structures, you can’t un-see them.”

Sweden has responded well to her political music. She’s won several Swedish Grammies, including Lyricist of the Year, Best Live Act of the Year and Artist of the Year 2016. She was the first Swedish rapper to ever win Artist of the Year.

Listen to one of her most popular songs, Tänd Alla Ljus, which discusses capitalism and depression, below.

Then read more about Silvana and pick up your own copy of Naturkraft.

Swedish Pop Star Releases Lesbian Themed Single: ‘Smoke Weed Eat P***y’

A new track by pink haired trap-hop singer Ängie has left many music listeners in a state of shook.

Titled, Smoke Weed Eat P***y, the three and a half minute track is all about getting naked and having a good time with women.


I smoke weed and eat pussy every day, and every day is kind of the same. I have fun and I feel no shame, I smoke weed and eat pussy every day.

I smoke weed eat pussy all the time, straight or gay they all stand in line. It doesn’t really matter, I don’t know what to say, they got a thing for my ass and I’m here to play.”

Explaining the meaning of the song, Ängie ventured:

The song itself is about slutting around after my first girlfriend… I thought I was gay and got really grossed out by dicks.”

And it’s great to hear that the track is currently storming the Spotify Viral Chart in Sweden, because of course it is.

Female Masturbation Had A Big Year In Sweden This Year

Sweden brought us loads of joy this year when they came up with a catchy term for female masturbation – klittra.


And how did they come up with this magical word?! Well After holding a contest, and the word comes from a combination of clitoris and glitter.

Now The Local reports klittra was the most-used word in Sweden in 2015.

The “much-anticipated” official list is worth checking out in full (any country that used “douche” and “cosplay” enough to land those words at the top of the list is worth reading about), but it’s especially exciting that klittra is number one.

Lena Lind Palicki, of the Swedish council’s new word group, said that klittra’s position on the list shows an enthusiasm and appreciation for a new linguistic focus on female pleasure.

She points out that the original male-centric word for masturbation – onanera – failed to hit the top five.

Hooray, klittra for all!

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Swedish Armed Forces Launch New Pride campaign: ‘Some Things You Should Not Have to Camouflage’

Sweden’s Armed Forces have launched a new Pride campaign, calling on its LGBT service members to be free and serve openly.


The new campaign features a woman in uniform against a camouflage background with her face painted, with a rainbow flag badged on her right arm.

In bold print and in Swedish, it says

Some things you should not have to camouflage.”

In a statement the Swedish Armed Forces siad

Equality is an essential ingredient in a democracy. In the military, we treat them with respect and see the differences of others as a fortress. We are an inclusive organisation where all the people who serve and contribute feel welcome and respected.”

The posters have been appearing throughout Sweden as part of a campaign to not only show the Armed Forces’ inclusiveness and support of its LGBTI members, but also to highlight that they welcome people of all backgrounds to sign up and serve their country.

Sweden is one of the very few countries that allow LGBTI people to openly serve in the military, first allowing gay and lesbian people openly in 1976.

Every year the Swedish Armed Forces participate in Pride, sending a delegation of its members to march. In 2008 during the Pride celebrations in the Swedish capital, the Swedish Army Museum hosted an exhibition dedicated to presence of LGBTI people in the history of its organisation.

Sweden Adds Gender-Neutral Pronoun to Dictionary

Editors at the Swedish Academy have announced that the official dictionary of the Swedish language will introduce a gender-neutral pronoun in April, .

“Hen” will be added to “han” (he) and “hon” (she) as one of 13,000 new words in the latest edition of the Swedish Academy’s SAOL.

The pronoun is used to refer to a person without revealing their gender – either because it is unknown, because the person is transgender, or the speaker or writer deems the gender to be superfluous information.

“For those who use the pronoun, it’s obviously a strength that it is now in the dictionary.”

Sture Berg, editor

The word “hen” was coined in the 1960s when the ubiquitous use of “han” (he) became politically incorrect, and was aimed at simplifying the language and avoiding the clumsy “han/hon” (s/he) construction. It is a combination of “han” and the female pronoun “hon”. However, it never gained widespread use until recently.

The Swedish trans community began using it, and pushing for its wider use, in the early 2000s. It now can be found in use in educational and legal documents.

It can now be found in official texts, court rulings, media texts and books, and has begun to lose some of its feminist-activist connotation.

The Swedish Academy’s dictionary is updated every 10 years. New entries are determined by their frequency and relevance.

The new edition goes on sale on 15 April.

Queer Feminist Rapper Silvana Imam Is A Progressive Voice In Sweden’s Hip-Hop Scene

Originally born out of spoken word poetry where its performers would recite their words to a beat, it’s fitting that rap music is often used for far more than people rapping about how many houses they’ve got, how many bottles they ordered at the club or how many chains they have swinging around their neck. Very often it’s used to speak up and speak out about the oppression and hardships that people face.


Wise to this use of rap music, is queer feminist rapper, Silvana Imam, who is incredibly outspoken about the mistreatment of people in her home country of Sweden.

Take, for instance, her performance at a protest that called out a neo-Nazi group who had recently attacked an anti-racist demonstration. At the rally she performed her track Tystas Ner and with lyrics like “Nazis sitting in parliament” that were pointed barbs towards to the political party the Swedish Democrats, Imam says that she received…

“a lot of threats from people affiliated with SD.That shit scared me … I still receive hate on the Internet for being a feminist and anti-racist. I’m like, this is what you have to put up with for being a freedom fighter?”

Not that a few hundred hateful comments on Twitter are going to shut Imam up because as a lesbian, a feminist and as someone who regularly speaks out against racism, there’s lots on her mind that she needs to get out there. Take her EP När Du Ser Mig • Se Dig for example, where she calls out the gender binary (“gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original”), notes racial discrimination in the workplace (“15 million people in the world are called Mohammed but whose name do they want to see on the CV?”) and cries out for change like the unapologetic feminist that she so proudly is (“the patriarchy must be overthrown”).

More: ‘Sisterhood of Hip Hop’ is Back, And So Will Out Rapper Siya

Other lyrics like “take the cake and throw it back at him, Anna-Mae” where she calls out her fellow rappers (this lyric is in reference to footage of Ike Turner aggressively shoving cake into the face of Tina Turner, Anna Mae being her real name) may cause offense but Imam never treads lightly in her music and that’s part of her appeal.


On the social commentary of her lyrics, Imam also explains that:

“I’m a conscious rapper, I write songs about my life, and since I write through a lesbian-immigrant-woman’s perspective, it’s labeled as “political.” I’m letting people know how fucked up the world is through my art. This is about my life and my own survival in this patriarchal and anti-democratic world. A woman who writes love songs to other women causes immediate chaos in most peoples’ minds? That is something you should question. and not whether I’m political or not.”

We can’t argue that, as Imam’s words are more important than the question of her political leanings and we look forward to hearing more music from her when her second EP, Jag Dör För Dig, drops sometime this Spring.