Dear AGP Friends, A lot has happened since my last column. The draft licence application has been submitted, the first meetings with the fire brigade, police and residents of the Prinsengracht have taken place, and during our kick-off event on Valentine’s Day, the participants of the Canal Parade have been made public.
To increase the quality of the Canal Parade, my board has decided that this year, a ballot committee should put the parade together. This committee has selected the eighty best and most beautiful concepts, taking the diversity of the parade into account. Each year, we have to disappoint many interested parties because of the large number of entries, which has caused commotion on social media.
This year, the responses were more intense and unreasonable than ever. Because of ignorance, many draw the conclusion that we want to make money at the expense of the community when they see a commercial boat. They are way off, and painfully do not give hundreds of fighters for equal right, doing their jobs behind the scene, enough credit.
Ruben Nederpel is our youngest, and is the project manager of the boat parade. He joined our office with an ambitious plan for the boat parade as a twenty-year-old committee member of gay youth magazine “Expreszo.” He became the founder and then president of our youth committee, and Ruben has joined our office team in January 2015.
His generation grew up with the notion that it is normal for lesbians and gay men to get married and to be equal by law. In 2016, we have other forms of activism and different goals we have to incorporate. We used to take to the streets for equal rights, and politics was able to help us, but where do you go for social acceptance? We go there were social acceptance is most lacking or the most noticeable, and with negative health effects, meaning employers and sports associations.
Fortunately there are GLBTs who do not stay in the closet at work. Taking risks for their own career, they fight for a “diversity & inclusion” policy, and a homophobic-free workplace. As employees who are out of the closet perform better, the operating profit increases, creating a win-win situation. Whenever Pink Unions ask for a budget for Gay Pride, they increasingly find support in the Communication and HR departments. But because of fear of decreasing sales, the Marketing & Sales departments usually puts a spoke in the wheels. Therefore we only saw companies come out of the closet that are not image sensitive.
Ruben and I were skeptical when we were invited by a company that is very image sensitive in its sales strategy. The Sales department would probably prevent the project from happening. We were extremely surprised and proud that GLBT activists who have been educating their employers, have finally brought us to the point that those employers now want to serve as an example to others.
One day after our kick-off, the company even released an international press report in which they state they will support contracted athletes coming out of the closet, and that those athletes need not worry about financial consequences. To me, that is the best example of social acceptance!
ADIDAS we are very proud and happy you JOIN us!
This year, we are hosting EuroPride in Amsterdam. A special European version of the Amsterdam Gay Pride that will span two weeks and starts on July 23 with Pink Saturday. Visit www.pride.amsterdam for more information or Like us on Facebook prideamsterdam.
Lucien Spee is managing director of the Foundation Amterdam Pride