Arts and Culture

A solidarity truck from Zurich: Offstream

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Founded by a couple of friends in 2004, Offstream values the non-profit nature for events for the community that are affordable for everyone.

Photo: Michelle Boilley

Could you tell us a bit about Offstream? How did you organize first? What are your activities?

Offstream is a non-profit party label based in Zurich, Switzerland. The Offstream-DJ-collective organises events for LGBTIQs in Zurich. Offstream was founded by a couple of friends in 2004 and has welcomed many new members in the DJ-collective over the years.  All members work for free and our first aim is to create a fun and safe place for LGBTIQs to meet and dance to rock, pop and dance music. Throughout the year the DJ-collective organises about six to eight events at different locations. Most events are dance parties and sometimes there are special themed events or gigs in other towns. Every once in a while the party might include a concert of LGBTIQ singers, performers or musicians.

As a non-profit collective, how do you use the money earnt from those parties and events?

The money earned at Offstream events is donated to LGBTIQ projects and organisations in Switzerland and many other places around the globe. While many events in the LGBTIQ community are being commercialised, the Offstream-DJ-Collective values the non-profit nature for events for the community that are affordable for everyone. Therefore the entry fee is very low, many friends who help out work for free, and together we create an alternative space for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans* people and friends.

What are your activities around LGBTQI Pride? Do you participate in any Pride activities in Zurich?

As you know that the annual event is the Memorial Day of Christopher Street riots started by transgender and people of colour in New York in 1969. It has become a mere party in many countries celebrating achievements; on the other hand, politics have become less important. In this respect, Offstream uses the opportunity of the pride march to deliver an important message about a pending LGBTIQ issue every year.

At the local pride event Offstream usually organizes a truck. The pride march and festival in Zurich is rather huge, while the Offstream truck is one of the smallest of the march.

This year you contacted with us as one of the civil society organizations working with LGBTI refugees in Turkey, and later on you decided to support Kaos GL thanks to its projects and works with refugees. So how did you decide to focus on refugee issue and why did you chose to support Turkey in this manner?

When the Zurich pride march organization announced the annual motto to be “queer refugees”, Offstream decided to dedicate a donation to an organization working for and with queer refugees. Then we reached out to our LGBTIQ friends in Turkey.

Switzerland is a privileged country in the middle of Europe. Most refugees get caught up somewhere far away in their long way to a safe place. Turkish and Kurdish people are among our friends in our local community – so we are aware of the situation in Turkey. It is of great importance to us to support local organizations in this struggle. This is why we chose to support an organization in Turkey. Organizations and communities in countries like Turkey contribute largely to the support of LGBTIQ refugees.

We are grateful for the work of KAOS GL. People are forced to flee their homes as a result of hunger, war and persecution. While fleeing they face numerous – sometimes life-threatening – dangers. Once they arrived to the alleged target countries they are being rejected, locked out or locked up. Among refugee lesbians, gays, bisexuals, intersex and transgender people are particularly vulnerable. Many individuals depend on organizations like KAOS GL and its countless efforts. While refugees are far away from everything and everyone they know, groups like KAOS GL support some of the most vulnerable ones.

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