Statement Festival, a music fest in Gothenburg, Sweden that was described as “the world’s first major music festival for women, non-binary and transgender [people] only” was found guilty of “gender discrimination” by the country’s discrimination ombudsman (DO). After the festival took place in August, the DO opened an investigation into the festival. Unlike the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival — which ran from 1976-2015 until it was closed due after protests by trans women who were infuriated by the festival’s “womyn born womyn” entrance policy — Statement was careful to include all groups who are discriminated upon based on their gender.
The festival was deemed discriminatory because of its exclusion of a certain group, the only one who was discouraged from the attending the festival — cisgender men. The fact that the festival advertised that it would be excluding cisgender men was apparently enough to warrant an investigation.
Sexual harassment and assault is a major problem at festivals. Sweden’s largest music festival, Bravalla, was canceled this year after last year’s festival had reported four rape and 23 sexual assault reports.
Statement’s organizers shared the following on Facebook (English translation from The Guardian): “It’s sad that what 5,000 women, [non-binary and trans folx] 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.”