About Rainbow Riots

Rainbow Riots is a politically and religiously independent, non-profit organisation advocating for human rights for LGBTQ people globally, using arts and culture as our tools.

ABOUT RAINBOW RIOTS

 

Rainbow Riots is a politically and religiously independent, non-profit organisation advocating for human rights for LGBTQ people globally, using arts and culture as our tools. The organisation Rainbow Riots is registered both in Sweden and Uganda. The association is run by founder and managing director Petter Wallenberg, a Swedish artist, musician, author and human rights activist.

Photo: Tania Marti

VISION & MISSION

 

Rainbow Riots envisions a world where every human lives free from prejudice and where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are free to be who they are without persecution and discrimination.

We are dedicated to bring about an end to discrimination against LGBTQ people globally, and realise a world of fundamental freedom and equality for all.

 

Our mission is to increase the visibility of LGBTQ people around the world by providing a platform for creative voice, especially in places where their human rights are compromised. By deploying a combination of human rights activism, arts and culture, our mission is to empower, celebrate and build momentum for change for an often marginalised and persecuted group.

 

Our work takes a personal, hands-on approach which involves capacity-building on an individual level to strengthen the community as a whole. Through fostering change at the grass-roots level, Rainbow Riots aims to build a platform for marginalised LGBTQ communities globally. We empower each individual member of these communities to defeat isolation, build a supportive network and discover their self-expression.

 

Our mission is to give voice and visibility to LGBTQ people by using our artistic skills and vast experience of the creative field. With creativity at the core of our vision and working methods, we enable a higher level of diversity and inclusivity within the community whilst also reaching a wider audience outside the community. Music, arts and culture are universal languages, and by sharing experience across the network we will both raise awareness in countries where LGBTQ issues are controversial or illegal and identify opportunities to confront prejudice. By doing so, we aim to influence opinion and act as a catalyst for lasting changes in attitudes and legislation. We believe that arts and culture can change the world because of their combined power to change people’s attitudes.

Photo: Tania Marti

BACKGROUND

 

Rainbow Riots was founded in 2012 by Petter Wallenberg, a Swedish artist, musician, author and human rights activist. Since 2015 Rainbow Riots has also had an office registered in Kampala, Uganda in order to build capacity in the fight for equality for the Ugandan LGBTQ community.

 

There are more than a hundred million people living in countries where being a minority with a different sexual orientation is punishable, sometimes by death. We are dedicated to showing that LGBTQ people are everywhere across the world and throughout history. We are an integral part of the human narrative.

 

Despite enduring extraordinarily difficult circumstances, LGBTQ people of the world have created a resilient counterculture. This is our heritage as a community and the call of arms of Rainbow Riots – to fight hatred with creativity.

 

In 2019 Rainbow Riots launched Uganda’s first LGBTQ community centre. The centre is a safe space that welcomes everyone in the Ugandan LGBTQ community. The creative expression at the core of the centre’s activities helps foster inclusivity within the community whilst also amplifying the voices of Ugandan LGBTQ people so they reach a wider, potentially global audience.

 

In 2019 Rainbow Riots also launched the music project ’Rainbow Riots India’, composed and produced by Petter Wallenberg in collaboration with India’s first openly LGBTQ singers and dancers. The project is part of the revolutionary movement behind the abolition of the law that criminalized homosexuality in India and Rainbow Riots’ founder Petter Wallenberg was invited to speak at India’s first legally recognized Pride festival in Mumbai 2019. The first single ’Love is Love’ was dubbed ”India’s first Pride anthem” by Indian media.

 

In 2018 Rainbow Riots launched its weekly web radio series, ’Rainbow Riots Radio’. The podcast featured ten unique episodes exploring groundbreaking queer stories from around the world. Each episode mixed engaging stories, investigative journalism, and spoken word poetry, backed by music composed by Wallenberg and queer artists from around the world. The Financial Times described ’Rainbow Riots Radio’ as ” smart and surprising stories”.

 

In 2017 Rainbow Riots launched the ’Rainbow Riots Festival’ in Stockholm, Sweden, which takes place regularly in collaboration with EuroPride and Stockholm Pride. The festival includes seminars, workshops, exhibitions and live performances and is the first time Ugandan, Indian, Malawian, Kenyan and Jamaican LGBTQ artists have ever performed on an international Pride stage. ’Rainbow Riots Festival’ has received significant media coverage including the cover of Sweden’s biggest newspapers Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet.

 

In 2017 Rainbow Riots released the music album ’Rainbow Riots’, produced and composed by Petter Wallenberg featuring queer voices from the world’s most dangerous countries for LGBTQ people, from Uganda to South Africa, Jamaica and Malawi. The first single ’Equal Rights’ is part of an official campaign for the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The album was championed by some of the world’s leading media outlets, from the BBC who called it ”the ultimate protest” to Dazed Digital who called it ”the zenith of international queer activism.” All proceeds from the album go to Rainbow Riots’ work to fight inequalities against LGBTQ people in Uganda.

 

Music, films and stage performances by Rainbow Riots have been featured at Pride parades and LGBTQ rights conferences around the world, including Sydney Mardi Gras, Mumbai Pride, Pride Uganda, Stockholm Pride and Hamburg Pride.