On Saturday August 2, the nineteenth edition of the Canal Parade will take place as the highlight of Amsterdam Gay Pride. This year, the responsibility for this event is in the hands of a new organization. The backbone of ProGay, which has organized the Amsterdam Pride over the last years, has started its own organization.
This new organization is led by former president Irene Hemelaar, after a difference of opinion on the direction ProGay should take with the event. Whether visitors will notice any difference remains to be seen. In any case, there is also a theme for this year’s Pride, Listen: Listen to each other, try to understand what the other is saying and show understanding. But also listening to yourself and following your heart are elements of this theme. Listen and be creative.
During the Amsterdam Gay Pride last year, Bi Pride took place for the first time. This year, TransPride is a new entry. The organization of TransPride is in the hands of TransAmsterdam in cooperation with other transgender organizations. TransAmsterdam is an organization for transgenders and transsexuals that provides information on transgender subjects and tries to build a bridge between the transgender community, organizations and allies. With TransPride, the organizers want to make transgenders visible in the queer community and show the diversity in the transgender community. The TransPride during Gay Pride will be for nine days, from Saturday, the 26th of June until Sunday, the 3rd of August. It will mostly take place in the Manor Hotel, Linnaeusstraat 89, Amsterdam. Here, visitors will find and can attend an information center, a meeting point, photo exhibitions, an information and book market, a meet-and-greet for transmen, a lecture, and a GLBT café.
During TransPride, a lot has to do with the project “Boi,” which consists of a movie, an exhibition and a book. “Boi” is about an inner struggle, the search for someone’s true self. “Boi” tells the story of a girl who wanted to be a boy, and traveled all around the world for ten years to discover who s/he really is. The film will be shown on the 27th of July, from 14:00 to 18:30 in Eye, IJpromenade 1.
Also on the 27th, in a relaxed atmosphere and with a drink, the Transman Foundation and TransAmsterdam organize the Trans Pub Quiz in the Manor Hotel. On the 28th of July, the Vereniging Genderdiversiteit will introduce with a lecture the study “Een wereld van verschil” (A World of Difference) from 20:00 to 23:00. In this lecture, the results of a survey among almost five thousand transgenders, lesbian women, gay men and bisexuals will be discussed. In the hotel from 20:00 to 21:30 on the 31st of July, the presentation of the book “Mijn valse verleden” (My False Past) by Alex Bakker will be held, an autobiographic story of a man who was born as a girl. Afterwards, the book will be sold and signed by the author. A complete program of TransPride can be found on the website of Amsterdam Gay Pride.
Sex Positive Movies
Get a Room! is a series of film and debate nights about the thing that keeps fascinating us: sexuality. They take place in Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. On these evenings, a surprising and unexpected documentary or a series of short films with a certain theme will be shown. Afterwards, visitors can talk to the evening’s guest, from film maker to hands-on expert. On the occasion of Gay Pride, Get a Room! will also organize several film screenings. On the 30th of July, visitors of Filmhuis Cavia, Van Hallstraat 52-1HG, can watch sexy films by and engage in titillation conversation with Zahra Stardust. This Australian queer sex positive activist and feminist porn performer will show her films and engage in a debate with the audience. On the 31st of July, Get a Room! will organize a workshop for queers on kink and BDSM from 17:00 to 20:00. The workshop will be given by the Australian sex educator, kinky queer and film maker Gala Vanting. She will teach participants everything there is to know about the intimacy of BDSM and will give practical tips and tricks. At the time this issue went to press, the venue was not known yet. See http://get-a-room.nl for more information.
Every year during Gay Pride there are several exhibitions in galleries and other art institutions that give luster to their Pride. From July 27 to August 4, Gallery Strous, Prinsengracht 582, shows the “Grandes Dames d’Amsterdam.” In his e-newsletter about queer art, GLIMP!, Helm de Laat wrote about this show: “Artist and owner Leon Strous is an extremely skilled ceramist with a great sense of humor. In his work, he prefers fantasy figures that are worked out in great detail. Sometimes in groups that want to tell a complete story, and some works are a very colorful departure to surrealism.
Last year, he sprang a surprise with a large group of Canal Pride buddies. The rather peevishly mustachioed men were a big success. In his gallery this year, he will show the series ‘Grandes Dames d’Amsterdam,’ especially made for Pride. Again, extremely funny figurines, inspired by Amsterdam drag queens. I thought I recognized our patroness of Amsterdam, Dolly Bellefleur. And just like last year’s buddies, every monochrome figurine has a pink hat as a kind of funny touch. Success is assured.” See www.galeriestrous.nl for more information.
Frida Kahlo Homage
During Pride, GO Gallery, Prinsengracht 64, organizes a homage to Frida Kahlo, the Mexican surrealist painter who died sixty years ago. A tribute of about sixty artists of various sorts to an idol and icon. The paintings and turbulent life of Kahlo still fires one’s imagination. Besides her big love, the Mexican painter Diego Rivera, she had love affairs with the revolutionary Leon Trotsky and Nickolas Muray, a photographer from New York. But also dancer Josephine Baker and painter Georgia O’Keeffe were among her lovers. The legend continues up to the present day. Both established artists, such as Jan Sierhuis and Aad Veldhoen, and young urban artists such as Ives.One, The London Police and Mick La Rock, but also Ans Markus and Patricia Steur, among others, felt inspired to express their fascination for this phenomenal women in art. The result is a very varied exhibition with paintings, collages, sculptures, photography and installations.
This spring saw Amsterdam’s very first Bear Pride, with great success. However, these hirsute and sometimes somewhat hefty gentlemen will also certainly continue to form an integral part of the general gay scene. Bears attending the Pride weekend in Amsterdam can heat things up at Amsterdam’s new gay sauna, Sauna Nieuwezijds, Nieuwezijds Armsteeg 95, on Saturday 26 July from 14:00 to 22:00. Relax, talk, steam, bubble, and try the large towels, getting hot with a snack and a drink. The entry fee is 18 Euros, including the first drink.
Earlier this year, book chain Polare went bankrupt, and book store Scheltema made a famous come-back as the trusted book store on the Koningsplein. Much to the delight of author Eric Kollen, who immediately went to the book store to congratulate the staff. Last year’s Pride, he put on a display in the window of this book store with fairytale boys, including the Moroccan Anwar (21). During the congratulatory conversation, the Gay Pride was also mentioned. Also this year, Mr Kollen is allowed to create a display window.
Mr Kollen was secretly hoping for this, so he had a concept ready, which Scheltema was very enthusiastic about. It is going to be “extremely erotic” and can be viewed 24/7 from July 27 until August 3. The stories in the two volumes of “Jongenssprookjes” (Fairytales For/About Boys) are exciting, scandalous, virtuous, hilarious and sometimes deeply touching, but mostly erotic. The stories are full of sexual energy, are very outspoken and uncompromising.
The text explodes with pleasure, not just with seed, but also with fun. Mr Kollen will also read from his tales during Pride. On location! He will read fragments on places that are related to the extract: a scene in a darkroom in a darkroom, a scene in a sauna in a sauna, and a scene about paid love in... a male brothel. The dates and locations will be announced in the Pride program.
Gay Pride is an international event, and for this reason and every year, the city council invites international groups. Last year from Kiev, and the year before from St. Petersburg. This year, a group of Moroccan gays is invited. At least three of them are expected to visit the Pride, which became clear after deputy mayor Freek Ossel visited the country in the spring of this year. It is the first time that a Moroccan boat will attend the Gay Pride, which led the council to decide to invite representatives of the gay community in Morocco. Many will remember that two years ago, a Turkish boat participated, and threats were made against the people on board, especially on internet forums and personal Facebook pages. On one of the Facebook pages, threats were made to set fire to the passengers with gasoline. “These people should be hung,” someone thundered, “the world will become clean again.” Someone else suggested that the Turkish community “will punish them” for their offensive behavior. A spokesperson of the police therefore spoke of “extreme texts.”
Also in Morocco, homosexuality is not generally accepted, and homosexual acts are punishable with sentences from six months to three years. Last year, four men were sentenced from four months to three years in prison. Mr Van Ossel visited Morocco early April, and approached the GLBT community. “Whether people want to attend is their own choice. It is a public event, and images may reach Morocco. That is something they have to take into account. For some, this was reason enough to say they would not attend,” Mr. Ossel noted. Rayan (23), who lives in Morocco and is the leading man in the documentary “I am Gay and Muslim,” will certainly participate: “I want to show people you can be Muslim and gay. People will attack me for it, but I’ll be ready for that.