Date: Wed, 16 Feb 94 21:07 GMT+0200
From: Lewis Taylor <>
Subject: Lesbian and Gay the Swedish Way

The following is the text of a brochure produced by RFSL. The Swedish version
was published a couple of months ago. The English version is at the printer
at this moment. The brochure has many pictures, mostly photographs of gay men
and lesbians living in Sweden. Unfortunately, you will have to do without the 
pictures for the time being....


Page 1


Page 2


   The lives of lesbians and gay men look more or less like 
heterosexuals' lives. Daily life is the same, regardless of 
sexual orientation.
   Nevertheless there are a number of misconceptions about 
   This booklet tries to answer the most common questions and 
concerns about homosexuality, for instance, what homosexuality 
is and how you can know if you are homosexual.
   But there are some areas where homosexuals' lives differ 
from heterosexuals' lives. These differences are mostly due to 
society's views.
   Sometimes the differences between lesbians and gay men are 
quite distinct. Actually, the differences between homo- and 
heterosexuals are fewer than the differences between men and 

Page 3
Text: Pia Lundahl
Photos: Elisabeth Ohlson
Graphics: Legio Production AB
English translation: David Murphy

Page 4


Homosexuality = Love                    5
Can you tell who's homosexual?          6
How many homosexuals are there?         6
Sexuality isn't statistics              7
Being homosexual                        7
Am I homosexual?                        9
Coming out as homosexual               10
Meeting others                         11
An invisible group                     12
Lesbian settings                       13
Gay men's lives challenge society      14
Older homosexuals                      16
Young lesbians and gays                19
Homosexual parents                     21
Homosexual immigrants                  22
Is this the way it is?                 23
Masculine - feminine                   24
Gay men - lesbians                     25
Then and now                           26
White coats                            28
Black cassocks                         29
HIV                                    30
Men who have sex with men              31
What should I keep in mind?            31
RFSL                                   32
The homosexual movement's role in
   Swedish society                     33
Where can I find out more?             34

This booklet was produced by RFSL, the Swedish Federation for 
Gay & Lesbian Rights, and can be ordered from RFSL, Box 350, 
S-101 26 Stockholm, Sweden. Telephone +46-8-736 02 13.

page 5

Homosexuality = Love

   What do you think when you hear the word homosexuality? 
Most people, no doubt, think of "gay men and sex". And, of 
course, homosexuality is about sex. But not only about sex and 
not only about men. There are also women who are homosexual. 
They are lesbians.
   Regardless of which sex a person is interested in, there is 
in most people a capacity for love and sexuality, a capacity 
to love. By love we don't only mean sex and lust, but also the 
yearning for intimacy, affection and fellowship. In reality, 
neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality is more complicated 
than this.
   No one knows why anyone "becomes" homosexual. But that 
doesn't mean that we haven't tried to find out. Just the 
opposite. During the last hundred years or so a number of 
theories have been proposed. Each one has tried to find the 
answer to the riddle of why certain people are homosexual. The 
Church took an early interest in homosexuality but only in 
terms of sexual activity where sex between people of the same 
sex was considered a sin.
   It was not until the end of the last century, when medical 
science became interested in homosexuality, that the interest 
in the homosexual individual increased. Medical science's 
first theories assumed that homosexuality was an inherited 
disorder, a physical defect. But later, interest was focused 
on the psyche and then homosexuality was described as the 
result of psychological disturbances, mainly during childhood.
   It was first in the 1970s that completely new and generally
positive ways of viewing homosexuality emerged. Psychologists 
and sexologists began to look upon homosexuality as a normal 
sexual variation. Today, ever increasing numbers of experts 
believe that homosexuality must be seen in terms of heredity, 
environment and positive choices.
   At the same time, an interest in homosexuality as a social 
phenomenon has also appeared. Social anthropologists, 
historians and other researchers have pointed out, among other 
things, how our view of homosexuality has changed over time 
and also the great differences between different cultures.

Page 6

Can you tell who's homosexual?

   Most people never think that someone they meet can be 
homosexual. That means that most people assume that everyone 
is heterosexual. In addition, they think they have a clear 
picture of how homosexuals look: "All gay men are feminine and 
all lesbians are masculine".
   That's the general opinion, but that's not how it is in 
reality. Homosexuality cannot be seen on the surface. Gay men 
and lesbians look and act like other people do.
   But if a person's homosexuality should suddenly be visible, 
you would discover that you have met both lesbians and gay men 
without knowing it. Perhaps your mail carrier, your 
supermarket clerk, your child's teacher, your lcal politician 
or your favorite artist is homosexual.

How many homosexuals are there?

   Many homosexuals realize when young that their infatuations 
and interests are directed towards people of their own sex. 
Others don't understand until later in life what the feelings 
mean. Maybe you're in a heterosexual relationship and have 
children and a family.
   It's actually quite difficult to determine the number of 
homosexuals. But it's estimated that between five and ten per 
cent of the population live as homosexuals or have homosexual 
feelings which they don't act upon because of social 
   One of the problems in calculating the total number of 
homosexuals is that only sexual experiences have been 
considered. We know today that many homosexuals have never had 
sex with someone of the same sex, especially homosexual women. 
There are also people who have sex with people of the same sex 
but don't consider themselves to be homosexual.

Page 7

Sexuality isn't statistics

   One reason that many people are threatened by homosexuality 
is the uncertainty about who is homosexual.
   Actually, you can never be absolutely certain about those 
closest to you or, worse, yourself.
   Most people have at one time or another asked what a look 
or a touch from someone of the same sex meant. But you might 
also have become confused by your own reactions and asked 
yourself, "Could I be homosexual?"
   Perhaps such thoughts are disturbing, since we assume that 
our identity and sexual orientation are unchanging 
characteristics. But it need not be so. 
Sexuality can be expressed differently during different 
periods in your life. Regardless of age, it's possible to move 
from heterosexuality to homo- or bisexuality, but also in the 
other direction.

Being homosexual

   Being homosexual is like being invisible, and anyone who 
can't be seen doesn't exist either. When homosexuality is 
mentioned, it's often in the form of negative attitudes, 
stereotypes and prejudices. Often as gay jokes, "lesbian" 
porno films, or something strange and dangerous - threatening 
headlines about "HOMOSEX" on newsbills.
   Rarely are homosexuals' daily lives described: Work, 
shopping, fetching children at day care, or summer holidays. A 
life that is the same whether you're homo- or heterosexual.
   Invisibility means that most people's knowledge of 
lesbians' and gay men's lives is limited. But since more and 
more homosexuals are openly telling about their lives, the 
invisibility is being challenged. In time, negative attitudes 
will change.

Page 8 - 9

Am I homosexual?

   One of the most common questions about homosexuality is how 
you know if you are lesbian or gay. There's really no answer 
to that question.
   Many people are aware of their homosexual feelings before 
they even know there's a word for them. Many young people are 
told that "it's just a phase" that they're going through. But 
often it's not a phase.
   Others have feelings that only later in life can be 
identified as homosexual.
   For some it's a love affair that helps them interpret their 
   Others say it was their sexual desires that led them to 
   To a certain extent these experiences are related to 
gender. Males, more often than females, become aware of their 
homosexuality via their sexuality. At an early age they can 
have sexual fantasies or be attracted to other boys.
   Some boys who fantasize about having sex with other boys 
actually have sex in order to test their feelings.
   Most girls become aware of their homosexuality through a 
love affair and have usually had several close female 
friendships before they understand that it's love.

Page 10

Coming out as homosexual

   Homosexuals talk about "coming out". It's an expression 
that deals with understanding and accepting your homosexual 
feelings and daring to make contact with others. But coming 
out also means telling those closest to you about your 
   Experiences of coming out vary greatly. Some people say 
that it happened very quickly and that it felt as if all the 
puzzle pieces fell into place.
   For others it's been a long and difficult process, perhaps 
over several years - or even decades. Often these people have 
clearly understood what's going on long before they have 
accepted it and completely come out.
   Without a doubt, the circumstances around us influence how 
difficult it is to come out. Perhaps it's how old you are, 
where you live, or the environment in which you live or work. 
It also depends on whom you are as a person. Some people are 
ready to go their own way and aren't as afraid of how others 
will react.
   Others may have a greater need to be accepted and believe 
that it's not possible to live openly.
   Many people assume that the people around them will avoid 
them if they know they're homosexual. Sometimes there are 
negative reactions. But experience shows that it's just the 
opposite. Family, colleagues and friends not only accept you 
but also appreciate you for your honesty and courage and for 
standing up for whom you are.

Page 11

Meeting others

   The first meeting with other homosexuals is often 
overwhelming. Going to a meeting place for homosexuals means 
that suddenly you meet many people who feel exactly like you 
do. And suddenly you're not alone.
   Before you get to know others it's often loneliness which 
is the most difficult part of being homosexual. You literally 
believe, "There's no one else who feels the way I do." Or you 
know that there are others, but you don't know how to find 
   Sometimes lesbians and gay men describe this first contact 
with other homosexuals as "coming home". Perhaps it feels that 
way because you have finally met others with the same 
experiences, others you recognize as being like you and who 
understand what you're talking about. "Coming home" is really 
about meeting others who speak the same "language".

Page 12

An invisible group

   Generally, when homosexuality is discussed, the 
discussion's really about gay men. Lesbian women are mostly 
   But why are lesbians not as visible as gay men? Basically, 
it's because we live in a male-governed society. Women are 
less visible than men, whether they're homo- or heterosexual. 
Men's lives are given more space and seen as more interesting, 
whether they're homo- or heterosexual.
   But it also has to do with how sexuality is viewed. Women's 
sexual desires and satisfaction are seen as being totally 
dependent upon men.
   One example of this are the "lesbian" scenes in 
pornographic films for heterosexual men - scenes which aren't 
completely consummated until a man enters the picture.
   This view of sexuality makes it difficult for many people 
to imagine what two women could do "on their own". But no one 
questions whether gay men can have sex together. And since 
homosexuality is mostly associated with sex, gay men 
consequently receive more attention.
   Lesbian women have been more visible the last few years. 
Well-known women have "come out" in the mass media and 
lesbians' decision to have children has drawn attention. We 
more frequently speak of both men and women now in connection 
with homosexuality.

Page 13

Lesbian settings

   The images which exist of lesbian women are often 
stereotyped. At the beginning of the century, a lesbian woman 
was portrayed as an older, often more experienced and cunning 
woman. Usually she was a teacher at a girls school where she 
calculatingly tried to seduce young, innocent girls.
   In the 1970s there emerged the image of the manly, short-
haired lesbian who had a strong aversion to men and was active 
in the new women's movement.
   Above all, these distorted images are meant to function as 
a frightening warning. But they can also be seen as a defense 
of the traditional woman's role. The girls school teacher was 
a threat to this role by being both single and financially 
independent. And the same goes for "the feminist" who manages 
without men.
   But is there something that "rings true" in these 
distortions? Yes, the settings. Lesbian women have at 
different times sought out settings where there are only 
women. It can be a girls school, the women's movement, the 
military, the Girl Scouts or an athletic team. In such 
environments women - regardless of sexual orientation-have 
found fellowship, friendship and intimacy.
   But there have been clubs and associations which have 
addressed themselves to lesbians. One of the first in Sweden 
was Diana, founded in the 1950s.

Page 14 - 15

Gay men's lives challenge society

   Being more visible than lesbians doesn't mean that gay 
men's lives are easier. On the contrary, the connection 
between visibility and prejudices is quite evident where gay 
men are concerned.
   Perhaps it takes the form of "queer-bashing" - gangs who 
show up where homosexuals meet just to scare and hurt them.
   Gay men have always been depicted as the enemy -
particularly their sexuality. From time to time the fear of 
male homosexuality has been reflected in long and intensive 
public debates.
   There have been political scandals - in the 1950s and 
1980s, for example - where homosexuality has played a central 
   Resistance to male and female homosexuality is based on the 
same assumptions. Homosexual men and women, merely by 
existing, challenge gender roles, the traditional nuclear 
family and the heterosexual monopoly on love and 
   A part of gay men's culture obviously centers around 
sexuality. All over the world there are parks, public 
restrooms, and porno theaters, for example, where homosexual 
men can meet for sexual contacts.
   But there is also a bar and disco culture where men can 
meet socially and establish contacts for longer relationships.
   Society, over the years, has tried to regulate homosexual 
men's sexuality in different ways. In the 1950s this took the 
form of police raids of parties where homosexuals met. 
Nowadays the same fear is expressed in the closing of saunas 
and video clubs.
   Then it was blamed on wanting to protect young people. Now 
the excuse is AIDS. But in reality it's about the same 
ignorance of gay men's culture, then as now.
   That gay men's pursuit of contacts is such a visible part 
of their social life often overshadows the fact that gay men 
live in long, romantic relationships, just as lesbians and 
heterosexuals do.
     HIV and AIDS have influenced many gay men's lives in the 
last decade. Many have lost or know someone who has lost 
lovers or friends to AIDS. Others have been stricken 
   Gay men must learn to live with and protect themselves - 
and others - against HIV.

In Hitler's concentration camps, homosexual men wore pink 
triangles. Today this triangle is a symbol of homosexual 
solidarity and struggle.

Page 16

Older homosexuals

   Many people believe that older people have no sexuality, 
even if they're heterosexual. But of course there are both 
lesbians and gay men who are older.
   Many older homosexuals have experienced a much more 
prejudiced society than today's.
   Those who were young in the 1930s remember when homosexual 
relations were illegal and could be punished with a two-year 
prison sentence.
   Because of these frightening experiences, many older 
homosexuals are reluctant to tell others about their 
   This silence creates problems when life begins to demand 
more help from others. Hospital personnel or social workers, 
for example, seldom realize that the patient's "good friend" 
is a lifelong partner.
   The situation for older homosexuals has received more 
attention in the last few years in the lesbian and gay 
movement. Special groups for older men and women, for 
instance, have been started.
   These groups provide support and help people deal with the 
negative attitudes towards homosexuality.
   Here one can meet new and old friends with whom to 
   These groups also counter-balance the more youth-dominated 
homosexual culture.

Page 19

Young lesbians and gays

   The teenage years are the time when you seriously begin to 
discover feelings that deal with love, relationships and sex. 
You talk with your friends about whom you're interested in and 
how to meet him or her.
   But friends usually assume that everyone's interested in 
the opposite sex. And frequently the attitude towards 
homosexuality is openly negative, especially among young men.
   Many homosexuals are worried that their friends will 
discover their real feelings. Sometimes they then choose to 
avoid their friends.
   Others try to "prove" their heterosexuality by having many 
affairs or sexual contacts with the opposite sex.
   Younger homosexuals claim that the lack of role models and 
the total invisibility of homosexuality make it difficult for 
them to come out when young.
   For young men there's only "dirty old men" or "nelly 
queens" to compare themselves with. They can't recognize 
themselves in either of these images.
   Young lesbians experience total silence - lesbians, or 
"dykes", don't seem to exist.
   In school when feelings are discussed in sex education or 
health classes, homosexual youth become even more invisible. 
   In most cases the teaching focuses on heterosexual youths' 
feelings and sexuality.
   At worst, homosexual feelings are written off as "something 
that goes away" when you get older.

Page 21

Homosexual parents

   Some lesbians and gay men are parents. Most often there is 
a child from a previous heterosexual relationship. But a few 
homosexuals have children after beginning to live as 
homosexuals. Perhaps through artificial insemination or 
intercourse with a friend. In a few cases, single homosexuals 
have adopted children.
   There are several prejudices about homosexuals as parents 
and about how their children develop. But all the studies that 
have been done have shown that children of homosexuals develop 
the same as those of heterosexuals.
   It's the same whether you're studying gender identity, 
gender roles or sexual identity. Children of homosexuals also 
have just as good contact with their peers as heterosexuals' 
children and are not bullied more often than other children. 
   Research shows that the parent's sexual identity doesn't 
influence the quality of the child's home environment, 
regardless of whether the parents are homo- or heterosexual. 
Instead, it's a question of the parent's suitability for 

Page 22

Homosexual immigrants

   Views of homosexuality are different in different 
countries. Our attitude in Sweden is relatively tolerant. 
There are cultures which are less negative towards 
homosexuality than Sweden's, but the most common attitude is 
more intolerant.
   In many countries homosexuals are persecuted because of 
their love. In some Muslim countries homosexual acts are 
punishable by death. In Roman Catholic countries homosexuality 
is considered a sin. There are many other examples.
   Often intolerance has its roots in religious beliefs that 
have, in turn, shaped the roles for men and women and the 
definition of the family.
   Coming to Sweden can be a liberating experience for many 
immigrants. Because it's often easier to meet other 
homosexuals, or because the social climate is more tolerant 
than in their home countries. Yet many immigrants are forced 
to lead a double life and to hide their homosexuality from 
their fellow countrymen.
   People from outside western Europe cannot immigrate to 
Sweden without special reasons. You must be a refugee or have 
a family connection to someone residing in Sweden.
   A homosexual relationship is an example of a family 
   On the other hand, it's difficult to be granted a residence 
permit because a person has been persecuted for his or her 
homosexuality in their home country.

Page 23

Is this the way it is?

1. In homosexual relationships one partner plays the woman's 
role and the other the man's role.
   Wrong. In homosexual relationships partners must be able to 
take on aspects of both gender roles. This means that one 
doesn't "play" the opposite sex.

2. Homosexuals are more obsessed with sex than heterosexuals.
   Wrong. Sex is more visibly important to men's relationships 
than to women's. This is especially noticeable among gay men. 
The differences between male and female sexuality are greater 
than the differences between homosexuals' and heterosexuals' 

3. Homosexual men are pedophiles and molest children.
   Wrong. There are proportionally fewer homosexual than 
heterosexual men who sexually assault children.

4. Homosexuality is caused by a trauma during childhood.
   Wrong. No one knows why someone "becomes" homosexual. There 
are different theories that talk about heredity or 
environment. Most homosexuals have not had any exceptional 
difficulties during childhood.

5. Children of homosexuals become homosexual.
   Wrong. The scientific research that's been done shows that 
these children don't become homosexual any more frequently 
than children of heterosexuals.

6. Homosexuals are attracted to everyone of the same sex.
   Wrong. It's not enough that the person is of the same sex. 
Homosexuals have just as high demands for their partners as 
heterosexuals do.

7. Positive information about homosexuality results in more 
people becoming homosexual.
   Wrong. Information doesn't make more people become 
homosexual. On the other hand, more people dare to live as 
homosexuals since the information contributes to reducing 

8. You're homosexual because you can't relate to the opposite 
   Wrong. Homosexuality has nothing to do with the ability to 
attract the opposite sex, but rather that homosexuals are 
interested in their own sex.

Page 24

Masculine - feminine

  When sexuality is discussed, many people believe that there 
is a great difference between homosexuality and 
heterosexuality. But the latest research on sexuality and 
gender shows instead that the difference is greater between 
men and women than between homosexuals and heterosexuals.
   Men find it easier to disassociate sexuality from 
relationships and love affairs. You could also say that men 
use sex as a means to intimacy or as a way to begin a romantic 
   Women are more dependent upon an emotional context for 
their sexual pleasure. You could also say that for women 
sexuality is valued only after becoming close to the partner. 
   What happens in homosexual relationships is that the 
gender-specific behaviors are strengthened.

Page 25

Gay men - lesbians

  For gay men there are different places to meet others who 
are looking for casual sexual contacts. Many gay men are also 
more open to having several sexual partners, even when 
involved in a romantic relationship. 
   Lesbians look for partners in settings where they get to 
know each other first. Partners are also often monogamous. 
Casual sexual encounters are seen as threatening to lesbian 
relationships where sexuality is seldom separated from the 
rest of the couple's romantic life.
   These are, of course, generalizations. Many gay men have 
monogamous relationships, and some lesbians have casual sexual 
encounters even while in a relationship.
   The differences between male and female sexuality are, 
however, more obvious than the similarities.

Page 26

Then and now

   In ancient Greece the love between older men and young boys 
was highly valued. Yet we still can't say that homosexuality 
was fully accepted since the goal for young men was, 
nonetheless, marriage. And a corresponding homosexuality 
didn't exist for women or slaves. So this form of 
homosexuality represented an extremely patriarchal society.
   The Greek island of Lesbos, where the poetess Sappho 
instructed young girls in the 6th century BC, has lent its 
name to the word for female homosexuality: lesbian.
   Christianity brought a new way of viewing homosexuality.
    Procreation was stressed while desire and lust were 
condemned. Homosexual acts thus became a sin against the order 
of creation.
   In 1734 Sweden enacted a law against bestiality (sex with 
animals), but even homosexual acts were condemned under the 
same paragraph. In 1864 there was a new law. Paragraph 10 was 
intended to be used against all "unnatural sexual practices", 
but was used primarily against homosexual acts. Unlike many 
other countries' legislation, paragraph 10 applied to both men 
and women, but mostly men were sentenced. The law forbidding 
homosexual acts was repealed in 1944.
   This decriminalization didn't mean that society suddenly 
accepted homosexuals. Just the opposite. In the 1950s there 
were campaigns against homosexuality as being socially 
   At the end of the 1960s there was a wave of protests 
worldwide. In the US, homosexuals began to protest against 
society's constant persecution. Out of these protests Gay 
Pride was born.
   The 1970s witnessed a new consciousness of and intensive 
political campaigns for homosexual rights. In 1973 the Swedish 
parliament declared that homosexual cohabitation was "from 
society's point of view a fully acceptable lifestyle".
   In 1978 the age of consent in Sweden was made the same for 
homo- and heterosexuals acts: 15.
   In 1979 the National Board of Health and Welfare removed 
homosexuality from its list of diseases.
   In 1987 discrimination against homosexuals in Sweden was 
outlawed, and in 1988 Sweden enacted legislation concerning 
same-sex couples.
   During the 1990s Sweden will most likely enact a 
partnership law, like those which already exist in Denmark and 
Norway. Homosexual couples who register themselves as partners 
will receive, for the most part, the same rights and 
protections guaranteed married heterosexual couples.

Page 28

White coats

   Medical science's definition of what is normal or abnormal 
has always been more concerned with morality than with 
"science". This is particularly evident when you look at how 
homosexuality has been described and explained. For nearly a 
hundred years, medical science has mostly oppressed 
   When medical science at the end of the last century became 
interested in homosexuality, doctors claimed it was an 
expression of an inner androgyne, a double gender. Homosexuals 
were thus not only sexually deviant but physically and 
psychologically deviant as well.
   Homosexual men were described as feminine and interested in 
typically female activities. They were thought to have 
"womanly" voices, physiques, and hair growth. Lesbian women 
were similarly described as masculine and having deep voices, 
broad shoulders, and heavy hair growth.
   It's clear that medical science not only labeled as sick 
this "deviant" sexuality but the "deviant" gender roles as 
   Even today we can see how these ideas live on in the most 
common notions of homosexuality. Especially in the prejudicial 
images of feminine gays and manly lesbians.
   During the 1900s, medical science has "explained" 
homosexuality more in psychological terms. These explanations 
have been susceptible to trends. Psychoanalysis's 
breakthrough, for example, has resulted in generally accepted 
theories of dominant mother- and father-figures. More recent 
research's focus on child abuse has likewise led to theories 
where homosexuality is seen as a result of child abuse.

Page 29

Black cassocks

   One of the most common arguments against homosexuality is 
that it is condemned in the Bible. In both the Old and New 
Testaments homosexual activities are mentioned in a negative 
context. On the other hand, there is no mention of 
homosexuality in the Gospels.
   Within the Church today there are mainly two views of 
homosexuality which are based on how the Bible is interpreted. 
   One view accepts homosexuals' feelings and sexuality. This 
view says that the Bible must be interpreted within the time, 
culture and religious context in which it was written. There 
are also several other commandments in the Bible which are no 
longer seen as modern and are therefore no longer of any 
significance. Two such examples are that a woman is unclean 
after childbirth, and that we should sacrifice doves every 
morning. This biblical school is usually called the 
historical-critical interpretation.
   The negative attitude towards homosexuality is mainly found 
in those who represent the fundamentalistic, literal biblical 
interpretation. They believe that the Bible's words are just 
as applicable today as when they were written. Followers of 
this interpretation can accept the idea of there being 
homosexuals, but they are negative towards homosexual love and 
sexuality. They are against all attempts to equate homosexual 
and heterosexual relationships, for example, partnership 

Page 30


   Approximately half of all the people who are infected with 
HIV in Sweden are men who were infected by other men. Most of 
the others were infected heterosexually or by sharing needles. 
   The percentage of people infected heterosexually is 
increasing. In large areas of Africa, Asia and South America, 
heterosexual HIV infection is already the most common form. 
Unfortunately we haven't seen any decrease in the number of 
HIV-positive gay men.
   HIV is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It attacks 
the body's immune system which protects us against diseases 
and infections. When you become infected by HIV then you are 
considered HIV-positive.
   AIDS is the condition that prevails when the immune system 
has become so weak that it can no longer protect the body 
against different infections and illnesses.
   Today there is no vaccine for HIV and no cure either. 
However, a number of medicines have been developed that can 
slow down the progress of HIV infection.
   HIV can be transmitted through blood, sperm and vaginal 
   Infection can happen during unprotected intercourse, by 
sharing contaminated syringes, or from mother to child during 
pregnancy and childbirth.
   HIV can also be spread through blood transfusions and blood 
products, but in Sweden that risk has now become almost 

(The following are captions for drawings:)

1. Tear open the condom package in the middle.

2. Roll down the condom a bit so you see clearly in which 
direction it should be rolled on. You should have an erection 
when you roll on the condom. Pull back the foreskin.

3. Leave a little space at the top of the condom and press the 
air out of the tip. Roll it down halfway. Be careful not to 
tear it with your fingernails.

4. Draw the foreskin and condom forward a bit so that there 
will be greater freedom of movement and then continue to roll 
the condom down the shaft of the penis.

5. If necessary, use more lubricant. This is especially 
important for anal sex. (The lubricant should be water-based. 
In Sweden you can buy RFSU Glid, Klick or Lyosan, ACO Glidslem 
or KY)

6. If you want to be even safer, withdraw the penis before 
orgasm. Hold the condom at the base of the shaft so you're 
certain that it doesn't slide off.

Page 31

Men who have sex with men

   All men who have sex with men do not consider themselves to 
be homosexual.
   Therefore we usually talk about men who have sex with men.
   Mutual masturbation and oral sex are the most common sexual 
contacts between men, but anal sex is not uncommon. Anal sex, 
if you do not protect yourself, is the most risky sexual act 
in terms of HIV.
   One reason that men who have sex with men have been hardest 
hit by HIV is that many of them became infected before the 
virus was identified. Since many of them had many partners, 
infection within this group was widespread.

What should I keep in mind?

   You can have sex with whomever you like. You can have sex 
wherever and as often as you like. But remember to use a 
condom when you have intercourse and avoid sperm in the mouth 
so that you don't become infected or infect others.
   HIV does not distinguish between homo- and heterosexual, 
young and old, women and men, or white and black. The virus 
infects when it has the opportunity, and it can happen in a 
permanent relationship as well as a casual encounter.

Page 32


   RFSL, the Swedish Federation for Gay & Lesbian Rights, is 
an organization for homo- and bisexual women and men. Founded 
in 1950, RFSL is without political and religious affiliations 
and today has twenty-six local branches, from Luleaa in the 
north to Malmoe in the south. 
   RFSL works to end oppression and discrimination in society 
by lobbying politicians and authorities to improve conditions 
for homosexuals.
   Through membership in ILGA, the International Lesbian & Gay 
Association, and NRH, the Nordic Council for Homosexuals, RFSL 
also fights against oppression of homosexuals in other 
   Another of RFSL's aims is to provide opportunities for 
social contacts while strengthening homosexuals' self-esteem 
through companionship and organizational community.
   A number of reforms for homosexuals have been implemented 
since RFSL was founded. But much remains to be done. The 
antidiscrimination law which was passed in 1987 only protects 
individual homosexuals against discrimination. It's still not 
forbidden to agitate against homosexuals as a group or to 
discriminate against homosexual organizations.
   Registered partnership has become a more central question 
the last few years. Partnership is the first step towards 
marriage. It has both a symbolic and legal significance for 
those who register themselves, but it would also mean that 
society's attitude towards homosexuals would improve. Denmark 
enacted a partnership law in 1989 and Norway did so in 1993. 
   The question of homosexuals' children has similarly become 
more topical. Homosexual couples do not have the right to 
adopt children together, and lesbian women are not eligible 
for state-sponsored artificial insemination at clinics and 
other agencies.
   Many lesbian women arrange insemination privately or 
together with gay men. A shared responsibility for children is 
difficult since same-sex stepparents are not recognized by the 
   HIV/AIDS is another central question for RFSL. The 
organization runs a comprehensive prevention program for men 
who have sex with men. As part of this HIV work , RFSL is also 
trying to improve AIDS prevention work within the general 
population and to improve the Swedish Prevention of Infectious 
Diseases Act.
   Under this law, which is one of the most repressive in the 
world, people who are HIV-positive are subjected to arbitrary 
legal treatment. Furthermore, the law complicates HIV 
prevention work.

Page 33

The homosexual movement's role in Swedish society

Despite homosexual rights in Sweden being strengthened by 
legislation and despite the situation for homosexuals in 
society being improved, there are still many areas where 
circumstances differ for homo- and heterosexuals. There are 
also attitudes in society towards homosexuals and 
homosexuality that are still marked by prejudices and great 
ignorance. Furthermore, there are forces which - often for 
religious reasons - try, in every possible way, to resist all 
improvements for homosexuals and all information about 

In 1987 Sweden's parliament decided, after extensive efforts 
by the homosexual movement, to give economic support to 
homosexual organizations. Today a little more than one million 
Swedish crowns a year for organizations' work at the national 
level. At the same time Parliament commissioned The National 
Institute of Public Health to:

* be responsible for coordinating efforts for homosexuals

* monitor the development of the situation for homosexuals, 
among other things, eventual cases of discrimination and, in 
such cases, consider ways to counteract the discrimination

* initiate their own and follow other authorities' information 
efforts as well as follow research on homosexuality and on the 
situation for homosexuals

* regularly submit reports on their activities to the 

The homosexual movement must, despite these other efforts, 
work extensively to defend their positions and to spread 
knowledge in order to change attitudes and legislation. 
Homosexual organizations therefore maintain a comprehensive 
lobbying effort and have become a political force which 
society considers as experts in these questions.

RFSL's bookstore Rosa Rummet can be found in:

Esperantoplatsen 7
Box 2052
403 11 Gothenburg
031-11 61 51

Lilla Fiskaregatan 12
Box 1662
221 10 Lund
046-15 71 34

Sveavaegen 57
Box 450 90 Stockholm
104 30 Stockholm
08-736 02 15

A large selection of lesbian literature can also be found at: 
Kvinnobokhandeln Medusa (women's bookstore)
Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 33
118 50 Stockholm
08-84 50 07

Page 34 - 35

Where can I find out more? 

   If you wish to talk to someone who is homosexual, who can 
listen and share their own experiences, you can call one of 
RFSL's gay counseling lines which are open to both women and 
men. Feel free to speak in English! Sweden's country code is 

Boraas          int+46-33-12 72 42
Gothenburg      int+46-31-11 01 04
Helsingborg     int+46-42-12 35 32
Linkoeping      int+46-13-11 03 33
Luleaa          int+46-920-170 55
Lund            int+46-46-15 71 34
Malmoe          int+46-40-11 99 44
Norrkoeping     int+46-11-23 82 50
Piteaa          int+46-911-144 40
Skellefteaa     int+46-910-776 76
Stockholm       int+46-8-24 74 65
Trestad         int+46-520-806 07
Umeaa           int+46-90-11 47 10
Uppsala         int+46-18-26 09 15
Vaesteraas      int+46-21-11 80 41
Vaexjoe         int+46-470-208 08
Oerebro         int+46-19-12 25 50

Under 26

   If you are 26 or under, there is also a youth line, BHUS-
linjen, Telephone int+46-20-78 33 66. This number is toll-free in 

RFSL's counseling services

   You can also contact counselors at these counseling 
Gothenburg: int+46-31-11 01 33
Malmoe: int+46-40-11 99 50
Stockholm: int+46-8-736 02 10
   In Stockholm there is a special counselor for "senior" 
homosexuals. The number is int+46-8-20 90 20.

Gay radio

   Several local branches of RFSL have local radio programs. 
Here you can get tips about what's happening. Look in local 
newspapers for broadcasting times.

Boraas Gay Radio     92,5 MHz
Goeteborg Gay Radio  103,1 MHz
Malmoe Gay Radio     89,2 MHz
Piteaa Gay Radio     92,8 MHz
Stockholm Gay Radio  88,0 MHz
Kanal Gay Oerebro    95,3 MHz

RFSL's local branches

   If you want to meet other homosexuals you can contact one 
of RFSL's local branches. Most branches have premises with a 
cafe' or disco sometime during the month. If you want to join 
RFSL, contact a local branch or the national office. 
   The annual fee is between 160-250 Swedish crowns, depending 
on which local branch you choose.

Box 350, 101 26 Stockholm
Foerbundsexp: int+46-8-736 02 13
RFSL's newspaper Kom Ut!:
int+46-8-736 02 17
Hiv-office: int+46-8-736 02 11
Telefax: int+46-8-30 47 30

RFSL Boraas
Box 77038, 500 07 Boraas
Tel int+46-33-10 69 70

RFSL Eskilstuna
Box 398
631 06 Eskilstuna

RFSL Falun
Box 2021, 791 02 Falun
Tel int+46-23-284 85

RFSL Gaevleborg
Tel int+46-26-27 67 62

RFSL Goeteborg avd 1
Box 530 25, 400 14 Goeteborg
Tel int+46-31-779 29 01

RFSL Goeteborg avd 2
Box 2052, 403 11 Goeteborg
Tel int+46-31-11 61 51
Youth groupint+46-31-11 56 49

RFSL Halland
Box 4092, 300 04 Halmstad
Tel int+46-35-11 48 00

RFSL Helsingborg
Box 2118, 250 02 Helsingborg
Tel int+46-42-12 35 32

RFSL Joenkoeping
Box 528, 551 17 Joenkoeping
Tel int+46-36-11 47 51

RFSL Karlstad
Box 634, 651 14 Karlstad
Tel int+46-54-15 20 90

RFSL Linkoeping
Box 213, 581 02 Linkoeping
Tel int+46-13-13 20 22

RFSL Luleaa
Box 95, 971 04 Luleaa
Tel int+46-920-170 55

Box 1662, 221 20 Lund
Tel int+46-46-15 71 34

RFSL Malmoe
Box 2, 201 20 Malmoe
Tel int+46-40-11 99 23

RFSL Norrkoeping
Box 2042, 600 02 Norrkoeping
Tel int+46-11-23 82 50

RFSL Piteaa
Box 155, 941 24 Piteaa
Tel int+46-911-144 40

RFSL Skaraborg
Box 46, 547 02 Otterbaecken
Tel int+46-500-43 75 44

RFSL Stockholm
Box 45090, 104 30 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-736 02 12

RFSL Sundsvall
Box 3077, 850 03 Sundsvall
Tel int+46-60-17 13 30

RFSL Soedermanland
Oe. Kyrkogatan 15 c, 611 32 Nykoeping
Tel int+46-155-21 02 29

RFSL Trestad
Box 11, 461 21 Trollhaettan
Tel int+46-520-117 66

RFSL Umeaa
Box 38, 901 02 Umeaa
Tel int+46-90-11 47 10

RFSL Uppsala
Box 1147, 751 41 Uppsala
Tel int+46-18-23 47 50

RFSL Vaesteraas
Box 12031, 720 12 Vaesteraas
Tel int+46-21-11 80 41

RFSL Vaexjoe
Box 440, 351 06 Vaexjoe
Tel int+46-470-208 08

RFSL Oerebro
Box 447, 701 48 Oerebro
Tel int+46-19-14 42 32

RFSL Oestersund
Box 516, 831 26 Oestersund
Tel int+46-63-13 19 00

Page 35

School presentations

   Many local branches have specially trained members who can 
visit schools or workplaces and talk about homosexuality. If 
you are interested in having a speaker, contact the nearest 
local branch.

Other organizations for homo- and bisexual women and men

Alcoholics Anonymous, AA
Stockholm: Gay group AA
           Lesbian women's group
Malmoe:    Gay group (mixed)
For information about meeting times, call AA's service office 
int+46-8-642 26 09

BHUS! (Bi- and Homosexual Youth in Stockholm)
Box 45090, 104 30 Stockholm
Tel int+46-20-78 33 66

EKHO (Ecumenical Group for Christian Homosexuals)
National-Ekho, Box 19047,
104 32 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-15 77 50
Counseling line int+46-20-78 77 76
EKHO-Gothenburg, c/o G-Kriss,
Foereningsgatan 32, 411 27 Goeteborg
Tel int+46-31-13 36 92 
EKHO-Stockholm, Box 19047 
104 32 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-643 74 45
EKHO-South, Studentpraesterna
Krafts Torg 12, 223 50 Lund
Tel int+46-40-30 38 53
EKHO-Uppsala, Box 1915
751 49 Uppsala
Tel int+46-18-26 02 21
EKHO-Norrkoeping, Box 3065
600 03 Norrkoeping
Tel int+46-11-23 80 34

GALEJ (Federation for Homosexual Jews)
Box 350, 101 26 Stockholm

Gay Moderaterna (Gay Conservatives)
Saltmaetargatan 18
113 59 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-34 44 56

GLIS (Grupo Latinoamericano por la Igualdad Sexual)
Box 45090, 104 30 Stockholm

Golden Ladies (for lesbians over 45)
Box 45090, 104 30 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-736 02 12

HOMAN (Group for homosexual Iranians' rights)
Box 45090, 104 30 Stockholm

Homosexuella Liberaler (Homosexual Liberals)
Box 45090, 104 30 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-31 41 27

Homosexuella Socialister, ROHS (Homosexual Socialists)
Saltmaetargatan 18, 113 59 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-32 03 09

Homosexuella Socialdemokrater (Homosexual Social Democrats)
Saltmaetargatan 18, 113 59 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-32 03 09

Lesbisk Nu!, LN (Lesbian Now!)
Kocksgatan 28, 116 24 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-641 86 16
Lesbian Luren (lesbian counselling 
line) int+46-8-644 08 02

Positiva Gruppen (for HIV-positive homo- and
bisexual men) 
Box 38055, 100 64 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-720 19 60
Counselling line int+46-20-78 44 14

Regnbaagen (for deaf homosexuals)
Box 350, 101 26 Stockholm

Senior Group (for older homosexual men)
Box 45090, 104 30 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-20 90 20

SLM, Scandinavian Leather Men
Box 17241, 104 62 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-643 31 00
Box 172, 201 20 Malmoe

Reporter (newspaper)
Box 17218
104 62 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-669 00 12 
Fax int+46-8-669 04 24

Tupilak (Nordic cultural workers)
Box 17218, 104 62 Stockholm

Lesbians also meet at:
Kvinnohuset (women's house)
Snickarbacken 10
111 39 Stockholm
Tel int+46-8-10 76 56

(feminist course- and guest center)
Storsund 90, 781 94 Borlaenge
Tel int+46-243-22 37 07