For the fifth year in a row, it is time for the most beautiful of the beautiful to parade from Kungsholmplan’s beach next to the gas station, along the beautiful Norrmälarstrand to Gay Stockholm’s pride, The Mälar Pavilion (Mälarpaviljongen).
And in the most beautiful of beautiful hats! And an eminent jury will judge the most beautiful of beautiful at a party at the Pavilion.
But this year it’s not ”just” the now traditional event it’s all about. The Hat Parade will be this year the start of a collection for The Mälar Pavilion’s Rainbow Fund.
– We’ve had over 20 nationalities that have worked with us and we have been told many stories of their struggles that have touched and engaged us, says Arto Winter who, together with Anders Karlsson, runs the business at Norrmälarstrand. This will be their tenth season.
– Many of them come from countries where they do not have the privilege to sit in an openly gay café in the middle of town, so while we are all having a great time, we hope people will consider donating some money to those who do not have it so good and the fact that ”pink money” is being given, gives added importance.
To get things rolling, The Mälar Pavilion is giving SEK 50,000. In connection with Fund, all events and club nights will provide an opportunity for guests to contribute through the summer.
– This year we are starting with Uganda since we work closely with people who have witnessed how tough the situation is there, says Arto.
For some time, Jimmy Sserwadda has worked at The Mälar Pavilion. Jimmy, along with his husband Lawrence Kaala, received the QX Achievement Award at this year’s Gay Gala on behalf of the Ugandan LGBT movement.
Lawrence Kaala finally got his residence permit to live in Sweden after many refusals and he has also started working at The Mälar Pavilion.
– We start the collection in conjunction with The Hat Parade and finish with Stockholm Pride when we will, on the last day, Sunday, hand the money over to RFSL, says Arto.
RFSL welcomes the initiative and will ensure that the money goes to the right people through their network of contacts.
– The money will be used to support the Ugandan LGBT movement and will be delivered via RFSL’s partnerships with several organizations in Uganda, including SMUG and Sexual Minorities Uganda, says Ulrika Westerlund, RFSL chairperson.
– It may be a matter of both long-term projects and more rapid response to support different events, but all the money will be used to improve the situation for LGBT people in Uganda, she explained further.
Apart from getting Pavilion’s guests to help support the initiative, Arto Winter said they were seeking support from other actors in the “gay business world”. And next year the Rainbow Fund will be raising money for other LGBT causes.
– As The Hat Parade takes place on May Day you can say that it fits in well to start then, said Arto, adding that Leo B. is compering with sidekick Tommie X and that the parade is going to be led by the ”Swedish Barbie”.
Among the jury participants will be Josephine Craaford, Bea Szenfeld, Gaby Borglund and Stockholm Pride chairman, Peter Rimsby.
At The Mälar Pavilion, The Southern Trio will be playing, repeating their success from last Sunday when they played at the Pavilion’s first Sunday brunch with live entertainment.
This year, the store Hattbaren on Götagatan is supporting the parade, so if you can’t find a hat in your home or basement, it might be a good idea to drop by the shop as soon as possible.
Listen to Jimmy and Lawrence at the QX GayGala 2013: