Back to Top
Monday 21 Jan
86241 users - now online: 1566 people
86241 users - now online: 1566 people login
Printer Friendly Page  
Canal Parade 2009

by Robin Termote in Nightlife & Reports , 03 november 2009

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Canal Pride 2009 was a great success with no less than 560.000 spectators. It’s these spectators that make Pride into what it is. Who are these people that flock from all corners of the country, and indeed the world, to watch the parade of boats? Who are all these people lining the canals for kilometers on end? Is it some kind of zoo type event, freak watch? Is the Canal Parade just plain and simple entertainment? Are they aware of the background and origin of Gay Pride? I want answers so I armed myself with paper and pen and started asking around.

“Let’s not talk about age, shall we?”

Came over from Beverwijk together with her straight girlfriend Nel. The ladies don’t mind being photographed for the Gay News with the condition the caption will mention the fact that they’re straight. Don’t think we’re gay... we’re both single... just not gay! When I ask them how they got here they tell me that they’d made the appointment to go to the Canal Parade week ago already. Nel: yes it’s my third time; it’s fantastic, the atmosphere, and the music. We have a lot of gay friends so we don’t see them as freaks.

A little further I find Aafke (38) and Jenny (44) from Zutphen. Both administrative workers, colleagues, and since five years a very happy couple as well. Remarkably it’s their first Gay Pride in Amsterdam, even though they’re ‘open & out’.

Aafke: “I have to admit I have mixed feelings about it. It’s fun to watch and the atmosphere is great but at the same time I don’t think this event is a positive contribution to the image of homosexuality. Jenny: “you always see the same stereotypes and clichés on the news that suggest we are all extravagant and exhibitionist while most of us lead a very normal standard life and have the looks to match.” This has been the main reason to avoid Pride all those years. Meanwhile, they’re having a ball so maybe we’ll come back next year... hi hi!

About 100 meters down a stumble upon a group of beer drinking youth, obviously having a grand ol’ time watching what comes floating past. When I introduce myself as a reporter for Gay News and ask if they have time for a few simple questions, they gaze at me suspiciously for a moment before they collectively turn around without even answering: a subtle yet crystal clear non-verbal ‘fuck off’ signal.

Roy (19) and Kim (18) don’t mind answering questions but explicitly do not want their real names be known and do not want to be photographed. Yeah, right, then everybody will think we’re queer too! I don’t think so! Roy, nice fresh face, cocky attitude with golden chain takes it upon himself to be spokesperson for the whole group, typical polder youngsters. They quickly report they came all the way from ‘fucking’ Den Helder to have fun and drink a lot of beers.

As they seem to have done the latter enthusiastically already I decide to keep it short and simple. As they say they don’t know any gay people I ask them what they would think if one of their own group came out of the closet... After a silence that lingered just a little too long Roy says: “Well, yeah... erm, we would accept it, but he shouldn’t start acting weird!” Acting weird? “Well yeah, you know, that he would touch you all of a sudden. I mean, then he would have a problem.” “But otherwise we really don’t have a problem with gays,” says Kim a little too sweetly. I suspect I won’t be getting a lot of interesting answers here anymore so I wish these clearly homophobe youth a good day and safe trip back to ‘fucking Den Helder’.

Hans and Henny, a straight couple in their fifties from the East of the country, have to think long and hard before they answer whether they want to take part in an interview with a gay magazine. No real names, and no photo again. They remain standoffish and all they want to say is: “To us it’s just cheap entertainment, that’s all.”

I decide to ask to provincial looking guys that are tiredly drinking mineral water. Friendly and relaxed they immediately ask me to sit down with them. Sitting on the pavement leaning into a canal house I get acquainted with Rick (18) and Joost (19) from Oldenzaal. Rick has recently moved to Enschede but Joost still lives at home. The first people I meet today without alcohol breath. Indeed, they’re health freaks, know each other from the CIOS and basically only practice sports. It shows.

While I light up my thirtieth cigarette of the day Joost explains that booze, drugs and tobacco are taboo for sportsmen, and “we have as much fun without”. I try hard to remember the last time I had fun without all of that stuff, without success. Where did I go wrong, I wonder out loud and they both laugh. Joost is clearly more talkative and tells me proudly how he came out to his parents and his friends. Rick is still not sure about his sexuality and that’s why he also asks me to use another name and not take photos.

It’s their first Gay Pride and they both gush over how fantastic it is to be here, to be able to be the way they want to be. As a spoilt thirty-year old local I’m touched by their excitement. When I ask them if they think ‘Pride’ contributes to gay emancipation, Rick says: “I think it’s still very important to draw attention to the gay, lesbian and bisexual community in Holland, we’re not there yet, that’s clear. Gays are perhaps the only minority that are specifically harassed for what they are.” Joost ads heatedly: “yeah, how often do you hear of a Moroccan, or Antillean, Muslim, Jew or Christian being beat up because of it? We are silent and I realize the teenager has a point.

I ask them whether an exhibitionist parade is positive for the image of gays in general. They are silent for a bit and than Joost says: “Of course it could be counter productive for some narrow minded people, but I think we need the spectacle to keep us all on the ball, so I think the parade is a good idea.” Quite impressed with their to the point answers I say goodbye knowing that even in 2009 Gay Pride is great entertainment and also functions to keep us all alert and in discussion.



In the New Issue of Gay News, 330, februari 2019

Mister B& B
Discover the World, Experience your Pride

More from Nightlife & Reports
More from Gay News- issue 217
More by Robin Termote

Queers Café

New gay bar

learn more |visit

bottom image

Entire © & ® 1995/2019 Gay International Press & Foundation G Media, Amsterdam. All rights reserved.
Gay News ® is a registered Trademark. © articles Gay News; duplication forbidden. Inclusion only allowed after written approval of the publisher, with clear source mentioning Articles used by third parties will be invoiced and cashed where necessary. Gay News | ISSN: 2214-7640 | ISBN 8717953072009 | Wikipedia.
Follow Gay News:
Twitter Issuu
RSS (dutch) RSS Editors (dutch) self-employed Escortboys

Contact us

© 1995/2019 Gay News ®, GIP/ St. G Media