Tag Archives: LGBT

RAINBOW CONNECTION: A priest, a governor, a mayor, teachers and kids show their colors in Svalbard’s first Pride parade – and everybody (plus nature and/or God) is totally cool with it


Lene Jeanette Dyngeland’s story is like plenty of others: she first visited Svalbard three years ago and cancelled her return ticket to her hometown of Bergen because she loved Longyearbyen enough to live here. But in an “open borders” community with residents from more than 50 countries her imported persona includes falling in love with any person regardless of their gender – and like everyone else’s distinctions it hasn’t really raised any eyebrows.

“I haven’t noticed anything here in Longyearbyen that discriminates by sexuality,” she told about 250 people gathering Saturday afternoon at the end of Longyearbyen’s first Pride parade, which she organized. “But we have to remember the world is a big place.”

Longyearbyen’s first Pride parade is happening soon. Is LGBT even an ‘issue’ for locals and outsiders in this unique place?


If a polar bear is charging, it seems unlikely even the most hardcore homophobe is going to care if the guide with the gun is gay.

In more everyday matters, nobody seems to bat an eye when gay couples hold hands sitting at cafes or walking down the street in Longyearbyen. There’s no known stories of people losing jobs/homes because of their sexuality. No known place people flock to for fast food because of its embrace of “traditional values.” Some outsiders even suggest “Santa Claus’s stomping grounds” offer “an eye-opening reverence for bisexuality.”

So why are local folks hosting the town’s first-ever Pride event, featuring a parade and evening of entertainment, shortly after the cruise ship season ends a few weeks from now?