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‘Tradition is important to us’: Swedish town rebels against LGBT rainbow flag on city hall

‘Tradition is important to us’: Swedish town rebels against LGBT rainbow flag on city hall
A municipality in Sweden decided to quit flying LGBT pride flags on public buildings, after conservative parties took over the city council.

The town of Solvesborg in southeastern Sweden has voted to stop hoisting the rainbow-colored flag on the city hall every August during Stockholm Pride, the annual LGBT-themed festival held in the nation’s capital. From now on, only local and national flags are allowed on public buildings.

The idea of flying the Pride colors was introduced in 2013, when the city council was led by the center-left Social Democrats. But now the city is controlled by conservative Swedish Democrats (SD) and three other right-leaning parties, who decided to revise the local flag code.

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“Tradition is important to us, and I know many of our older residents share this view,” Mayor Louise Erixon (SD) explained the move to discard the Pride flag.

Not everyone is happy with the new flag policy, though. Politician and LGBT-themed event organizer Sophia Ahlin scolded her colleagues in the Moderate Party who sided with SD against the Pride Flag. “Their decision goes completely against what the Moderates stand for in terms of equality of all people,” she argued.

Having legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, Sweden is considered to be a largely liberal and LGBTQ-friendly country. However, Solvesborg with its population of around 9,000 is often described in the media as an example of conservatism becoming more popular in Sweden’s countryside. The leader of the Swedish Democrats, Jimmie Akesson, grew up in the town, while mayor Erixon is his partner. He wrote in an Instagram post that no flags of political significance would be hoisted on city hall.

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