There have always been people in a city that help shape it for future generations. Some of them are architects and leave their footprint on the horizon. Others write poetry and music that forever will be associated with their cities. Jonas Andersson has shaped Stockholm’s queer history and pushed it to be leading and in the foreground. Something that we all must be very proud of.
If you are a native to Stockholm chances are you know who he is. If you’re not a native, you will quickly learn about the tall man always in a hurry. Besides being a passionate horse man and talented equestrian Mr. Andersson works as a PR strategist extraordinaire in the fields of art, design and fashion. He has worked with brands like @svenskttenn @lydmarhotel @nobishotel @nordiskagalleriet @fotografiska and @acnestudios just to name a few.
During the early 00’s he managed the VIP club of Stockholm’s most happening nightclub
@Sturekompaniet. At that time a very hetero normative establishment, Mr. Andersson quickly named the VIP club Regnbågsrummet (The Rainbow Room) and included all types of the LGBTQ+ community on the very sought after guest list, thus giving us a voice we didn’t have before.
Suddenly it wasn’t only cool to hang out with Drag Queens and gay men, it was accepted. Mr. Andersson has always had the queer community’s best interest at heart. His events are well known in Stockholm and always have the best mix of people. Everyone is invited, but not anyone. I had the chance to ask Mr. Andersson some questions about a variety of things.
Mr. Andersson, tell us please who gets to come to your events?
I decide and it’s always the right attitude. Only that.
He says very serious. I believe him because I’m one of the privileged ones that has gotten an invitation for over 20 years and even though I’m one of many, I always feel that the party is for me. As does everyone else. Everything from the handwritten notes to the greeting at the door.
Could you describe Regnbågsrummet?
Oh absolutely! It included an international mix I would say. It was glamourous. It was new. Japanese, German and British press made several features and one of the headlines said that ”Jonas gets Stockholm to dance together!" It was Studio 54 on 45 square meters! Award winning and one of a kind. It was run by me and I had a saying in every single detail. I wanted it to be open. That’s what made it great I think. We also worked closely with the right authorities and had a no tolerance to drugs. It was happy!
Where did you get your inspiration?
I was very inspired by Madonna, because she was groundbreaking. We’re the same age and we kind of did things the same way at the same time. She was always in my mind and was so strong, always fighting the norm. Today I miss the 80's and 90's. There were so many trends we as queer people started. Within the arts, music, fashion. I really miss that and I hope my coming project will bring all that back.
Let’s talk about your upcoming project, but before that, could I perhaps say that it’s not only the 80's and 90's you miss but also a strong gay community? Because I know there isn’t one in Stockholm. Why is that?
I’ve been asking that question for a very long time. I believe that something happened after WWII. It was more accepted to be queer and yet a queer community never came to be. It’s not that we are more modern than other countries. Look at Spain. They legalized same-sex marriage long before Sweden. I’m not sure why, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are the country of “just the right amount” (Landet lagom). It’s difficult to translate to English, but everything here in Sweden including minority cultures are always a bit moderate. The queer community didn’t fit the mold of “Lagom”, so there wasn’t really any room for a queer community.
Do you think that a LGBTQ+ area for instance should exist in a modern open city? I mean is
there a need?
Yes absolutely. That’s for instance what Pride is all about. To integrate the LGBTQ+ community in society. But at the same time I don’t mean we should be normal and disappear. It’s important to keep your own identity. Diversity is our strength.
Do you think that the Swedish gay guys want to be “Lagom” too?
Absolutely, but I don’t think that’s something bad. Wanting a house and children and an everyday life like everyone else’s. It's kind of nice because it also means that we are worth the same as everyone else.
And also I would like to add that, other minority cultures have merged into the “Lagom” too. And kind of disappeared. And I’m so grateful that Sweden has welcomed so many foreigners and we will owe our success to them, but we have to take care of everyone coming here in a better way. I keep thinking of the “miljonprogrammen” (quick and cheap housing in the 1960's) that were build. How many of these people were shoved in clusters there. We need to give them a fair chance. Let’s not forget that we have a lot to deal with in our past. The Sámi People were here way before us. We need to respect each other much more than we do.
I totally agree with you. Any ideas of what we could do?
As I mentioned earlier. In the changing times of the 80's and 90's the Regnbågsrummet got a chance to exist. I want the same today with my new project the Rainbow Palace.
I envision the Rainbow Palace to have a physical body both in Madrid and Stockholm. I miss a gay community in Stockholm as I said. Especially during Pride. I think it’s very important today. Even though this year a digital manifestation is happening, I still believe we should take place in the city scape and keep the correct precautions and measures. A silent pride parade to honor the past and present. I love that we have this new technique and can follow pride celebrations all around the world, but visibility is equally important! This year we shouldn’t be dancing but we should still be proud and since I’m always involved with different things around Pride, I thought to myself why not show a film* that we made in 2002? A film vi