Western Sweden Secretary

  • Transgendered youth as Republican talking point & political football: Facts & fictions (January afterwork)

    Spurred on by events like the attack on the Colorado Springs nightclub, the investigation of Texas families of transgendered children for child abuse (with attempts in Missouri to follow suit), the ban on gender-affirming healthcare for minors in Arkansas, and the return of bathroom bills, the fear levels in the US transgendered community and among their friends and allies is off the charts.

    Likely due to the significant divergence of opinions among party members, the Democratic Party has tended to stay largely silent even as the legislative activity and extremity of rhetoric has escalated. Even within the wider queer community, the degree of silence mixed with misunderstandings and misinformation is striking.

    The purpose of this afterwork is not to change anyone's opinions, never mind to say what opinions are "right" or "wrong", but rather to address some of the misunderstandings that are out there with the goal of establishing a baseline for respectful discussion so that the Republican Party need not continue to own the playing field. It will address such questions as:

    • What is the difference between (biological) sex and (social) gender? How do they relate to one another?
    • What is meant by social vs. medical transitioning?
    • What characteristic or characteristics, if any, can be used to determine sex without exception? Is it simply a matter of having XX vs. XY chromosomes? What is an X or a Y chromosome exactly, anyway?
    • What is the rate of incidence of divergence from the biological norm for males and females?

    Joel Parthemore, who is not transgender but who identifies as a gender-fluid man and who has had close connections with the transgender community, will make a short presentation and open up for discussion. This will be a hybrid afterwork, so attend in person or online.

    January 31, 2023 at 6:00pm
    John Scotts Linné + WebEx
    Linnégatan 38 (near Järntorget)
    Göteborg, Västra Götaland 41304
    Google map and directions

  • American in Göteborg on a Mission for All Americans in Sweden to Vote

    How does one turn out the overseas vote to help decide the US midterm elections coming up on 8 November – elections that could be very close? Göteborg resident Rick Wicks has one answer.

    Wicks, a 75-year-old member of the Western Sweden chapter of Democrats Abroad who has lived in Sweden for 30 years and has dual citizenship, decided to put his bicycle to work. Since the summer, he has cycled around Göteborg and taken the train around western Sweden, posting flyers and stickers on community notice boards. The flyers and stickers urge the estimated 20,000 Americans living in Sweden to request their ballots (and, of course, remember to send them in!).

    All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and a third of the members of the Senate are up for election. Control of both houses, currently in the hands of the Democratic Party, are up for grabs with the polls, especially for control of the Senate, extremely close. It is not unusual for a candidate’s margin of victory in a race to be less than the overseas vote in that district.

    Wicks carries a stepladder on the back of his bicycle, the better to post up high where he hopes that the cleaners won’t remove his efforts and others won’t post over them. First, he cleans away old posters and staples so that the flyers will lie flat. Then he staples the new flyers in place, leaving an empty border so as to attract more attention.

    Two years ago [for the last presidential election] I started posting with little postcards that I had on hand. Actually, first I started with big posters. I just posted like other people do, but of course they got covered up right away, and I ran out of them. Then I had postcards, and I thought, they’ll disappear even easier. But if I put them up high, maybe they won’t get covered up.”

    Encouraged by his success, he decided to expand his operations this year by hitting all 30 notice boards in Göteborg and as many as he could easily reach by train throughout the Västra Götaland region: 18 by his count, including Halmstad, Jönköping, Mariestad, and Åmal. He designed his own flyers in heavy card stock and had them professionally printed – larger than the postcards so they are easier to see, but not so large as to be hard to place.

    The work is slow and labor intensive.

    I clean away all the old staples, which is kind of crazy. It can take an hour per side. It can take four hours to do one location.” The results look good though, and with any luck, passing Americans will notice all the US flags lined up and stop to have a closer look.

    He gets occasional curious glances, he says, but for the most part just gets ignored by passersby. Occasionally someone will strike up a conversation.

    Just the other day, I was down at Kungsportsplatsen re-posting and a woman said ‘oh yeah!’ and took a picture. It sounded like maybe her daughter had been in school here and was back in the States now. She was here on a cruise. She wanted to give the picture to her daughter. She thanked me so much for doing this.” Another time it was a young man interested in US politics.

    Some notice boards pose distinct challenges.

    I got to this one little town somewhere – it was Mariestad – and I get out to this one location, and I think, oh wow. Some of the notice boards are wood and some of them are metal but this one, just looking at it from a distance before I got up close, must be some kind of styrofoam. And then I realized, it’s a layer this thick [6-7cm.] of old posters. It’s never been cleaned.

    It was all wet from the rain. It was stuck together like paper mâché. In places it was breaking loose, so it was hanging out. That was a mess, but I managed to clean a spot. I had to rip away everything.”

    Wicks finds it much easier to vote in Sweden – where everyone is mailed a voting card and early voting is easy – compared to the States, where all overseas and most other absentee-ballot voters need to request ballots for each year they vote, and where early voting is increasingly restricted.

    We should make it a lot easier and have a holiday in the States [where federal elections in modern times are always held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November – a workday for most people] and do lots of things so that everybody can vote.”

    No matter how many additional Americans vote next month because of his efforts, Wicks sees benefits.

    It’s good exercise. I figure that I’m biking a lot, and I’m climbing up and down this ladder. It’s hard work.”

  • Rick Wicks' Call for all Americans in Sweden to Vote in This Year's US Elections

    Seventy-five year old DA Western Sweden member Rick Wicks – a 32-year resident of Sweden and dual US/Swedish national – is biking around Göteborg posting flyers on communal bulletin boards urging Americans resident in Sweden to request their ballots for the U.S. congressional (and down-ballot!) elections in November.

    He carries a step ladder on the back of his bicycle to post up high where, he says, cleaners hopefully won’t remove the flyers and others won’t post over them. First, he cleans away old posters and staples so his will lie flat, leaving an empty border to attract attention. 


  • Democrats Abroad Western Sweden at West Pride!

    Cheryl and Rick holding the American Democrats Abroad banner

    Our local chapter of Democrats Abroad Sweden proudly marched for LGBTQ pride at West Pride, Saturday 18 June. Remember the ongoing struggles of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters around the world, and remember to vote in the primaries and the November election for LGBTQ-friendly candidates! If you haven't requested your ballots yet, please do so today at http://votefromabroad.org.

    Shown in the pictures are chapter members Cheryl and Rick.

    Rick with the Pride flagRick and Cheryl smiling

  • Protect kids not guns! Anti-gun-violence meetup 4 June

    The attendees at the anti-gun-violence meetup.

    We had another fun meet-up – unfortunately in response to the repeated (unending?) mass shootings in the States. Rick, Diane, Cheryl, and Nan were at Condeco on Fredsgatan in Göteborg where we had our recent abortion-rights meetup. Nan made another wonderful poster (see picture) and buttons! We enjoyed meeting two new members, helping them request their ballots, and sharing our back stories and current life situations. Conversation went on for three hours (!) beyond the planned three-hour event! We expect to have another get-out-the-vote (GOTV) event in a month or so.

  • May immigration afterwork with advokat Barney Fyman

    Advokat Barry Fyman
    At our May Last-Tuesday Afterwork, DA Western Sweden member Barney Fyman – a Swedish advokat and US lawyer – described the myriad ways of getting temporary or permanent visas for the US (amazingly more complex than one might have realized) and answered questions. In keeping with our recent practice, it was a hybrid event: in-person – upstairs in the back room of John Scott’s Linné near Järntorget in Göteborg – and online. Barney promised to come back another time to talk about immigration to Sweden. He has a long-time interest in constitutional law, so a talk about Roe v. Wade is in the works as well.

  • Bans Off Our Bodies GOTV event at Condeco Saturday 14 May

    In response to the recent leak of a draft Supreme Court decision overriding Roe v. Wade threatening not only the right to abortion but the right to privacy more broadly, Democrats Abroad – Western Sweden organized a get-out-the-vote meetup at Condeco-Fredsgatan in downtown Göteborg Saturday afternoon 14 May. New volunteer Nan Albertson inspired the meetup and created a wonderfully big sign (see below) as well as small pins that she gave out freely, especially to children waiting in line with their families for the toilets (since, conveniently, we were located near the toilet queue in Condeco’s wonderful upstairs “living room”).

    Steering committee members Diane, Cheryl, and Rick had a great time meeting Nan and a few Americans who wandered by, sitting down long enough to get help requesting their ballots.

    The location seems perfect for such events so we expect to have many more there.

    Read more

  • published SE-MemberatLargeElection in News 2021-12-18 11:19:59 -0500

    Nominations open for DA Sweden member-at-large

    The annual general meeting of Democrats Abroad (DA) Sweden is coming up soon: 5 February.

    It is time to elect a member-at-large to the Executive Committee, to complete the 2021-2023 term of Beth Landry, who stepped down to become the DA Global Secretary. This is the only position we will be voting on. The two members-at-large on the Executive Committee have voting rights at the global DA level, along with the country chair and vice chair. All persons on the executive committee serve on a purely volunteer basis for a two-year term.

    Are you or someone you know interested in being a part of our leadership team in Sweden? Are you ready to represent Democrats Abroad Sweden on a global level with your voice and your vote? This is your chance.

    Thanks to our talented and dedicated team, Democrats Abroad Sweden consistently performs among the top DA countries. You’ll be a key part of our efforts here in Sweden and can get involved in shaping Democratic politics at the global level. Being a member of this leadership team is incredibly rewarding; you’ll be part of a vibrant, inclusive, global community of Democrats. The time commitment is relatively minimal (a couple hours per month) and the role largely -- voting rights aside -- what you make of it.

    The annual general meeting will be held in Stockholm on Saturday, 5 February, an announcement about which will go out soon. The election of the member at large will be conducted via electronic vote before the meeting, and the results will be announced at the meeting.

    The current Democrats Abroad Sweden executive committee:

    • Chair: Cassandra Engeman (2021-2023)
    • Vice Chair: Kelvin Acheampong (2021-2023)
    • Secretary: Kimberly Kane (2021-2023)
    • Treasurer: Sheri Eklund (2021-2023)
    • Counsel: Robert Houser (2021-2023)
    • Member-at-Large: Bill Borden (2021-2023)
    • Member-at-Large: Christina Davis (2021- ; appointed on a temporary basis until the coming annual general meeting)

    Eligibility criteria:

    • Candidates must be verified members of Democrats Abroad Sweden.
    • As members of the executive committee with voting rights at the global DA level, the two members-at-large must be of differing gender. Because Bill Borden identifies as male, this means that any candidates to the open position must not identify as male. They may identify as female, gender neutral, gender fluid, etc.
    • If nominated by someone other than oneself, candidates must confirm their willingness to serve.
    • Nominations for office must be made in writing.

    All nominations must be submitted at the latest by midnight on Saturday, 1 January 2022 (35 days before the election). Send nominations by email to [email protected].

    Nominations must include the following:

    • name
    • short biography (max. 150 words)
    • statement of candidacy (max. 200 words)
    • gender identity

    After candidates are announced, they will have the opportunity to present themselves via a short video message and also at a digital meet-the-candidates forum on Wednesday, 12 January.

  • published Welcome to DA Western Sweden! in News 2020-08-25 16:03:39 -0400

    Welcome to DA Western Sweden!

    DA Western Sweden at the Pride Parade!
    DA Western Sweden at the Göteborg Pride parade 2018

    Putting the party back in Democratic Party!

    DA Western Sweden* is a chapter of DA Sweden, the official country committee for U.S. Democrats living in Sweden.  We aim to find and organize Americans abroad to express their views about policies and events “back home” – and of course get out the vote when it’s election time – and have a good time doing it! Can you help?

    Now more than ever, in the run-up to the November elections, the stakes are sky high: four more years of Trump and Pence, with everything that's been done to our democracy, or four years of Biden and Harris?

    Not a DA member?  Click at the upper right-hand corner of the page and select "join"! Then join our Facebook group. If you have questions or would like to help, get in touch!

    * For our purposes, "Western Sweden" extends to Halmstad, Jönköping and Karlstad and beyond.

  • I'll gladly take Sweden over the US #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I worked for the US Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, DC, for 3 1/2 years. I bought the best health insurance I thought I could afford from the options we had available. And I was still scared of getting sick because of all the bureaucracy and caps and exceptions. People think that anyone who works for the US government gets a platinum healthcare plan -- Congress sure, but not ordinary government workers. And we still had things better than people who could only afford more basic plans, if they could afford anything at all. Things here in Sweden aren't perfect -- in no small part due to the creeping privatization of the healthcare system around the edges promoted by the previous government -- but if my healthcare expenses for the year go above a certain modest amount, I don't pay anything more. And the healthcare system here is not only per capita cheaper than in the US, in functions better on a whole bunch of indicators, from infant mortality to life expectancy, too.

  • wants to volunteer 2017-06-12 08:04:34 -0400


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    Please check out our global team opportunities.


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lecturer and researcher in philosophy of cognitive (neuro-)science; teacher of English, computer technology and web design