A ‘man free’ feminist music festival in Sweden has been found guilty of discrimination, it has emerged, reported Dailymail.co.uk.
The event, called Statement, was held in Gothenburg in August this year having been billed as ‘the world’s first major music festival for women, non-binary and transgender only’.
But describing the festival as ‘male-free’ was a violation of anti-discrimination legislation, Sweden’s Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) has ruled.
Men were not prevented from buying a ticket or entering the festival grounds but male members of artists’ entourages and the likes of technicians and managers were reportedly restricted to a so-called ‘man-pen’ in a backstage area.
DO press officer Clas Lundstedt said in a statement: ‘It is important to point out what an infringement is. These are the statements made before the festival, what they wrote on their website.
‘Still, we haven’t been able to prove that someone would have been discriminated against in connection with the implementation or that someone would have been rejected.’
Lundstedt said nobody suffered damage as a result of Statement saying men were not welcome and there will be no penalty for organisers.
The festival was billed as being a ‘safe space’ featuring ‘cis-men free’ artists, security and catering.
The term cisgender refers to a man or a woman whose gender matches the sex they were at birth.
A trans or non-binary person is someone whose gender does not conform to their sex assigned at birth.
Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare came up with the idea for the festival after a huge number of sexual offences were reported at Bravalla, Sweden’s biggest music festival, last year.
No such crimes were reported during Statement, which carries pictures of women dancing and celebrating together.
Lundstedt added: ‘Clearly, we believe that sexual abuse, especially at festivals, is a serious problem. So we are looking forward to trying to correct this. However, it shouldn’t happen in a way that violates the law, which their statements in the media and their website do.’
In response, Statement said on Facebook that it was unfazed by the ruling and was ‘busy changing the world’.
‘It’s sad that what 5,000 women, non-binaries and transgender experienced as a life-changing festival, made a few cis-men lose it completely.
‘The success of the Statement festival shows that is exactly what we need, and the DO’s verdict doesn’t change this fact. Otherwise, we have no comments. We are busy changing the world.’
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