A.S.V.Gay?! Most of the gay people we bump into and tell about our student union don’t get much further than “it must be something gay.” This is in fact already quite a lot, because straight people invariably simply hear the letter “g” (in Dutch) rather than gay, so you have an advantage.
Anyway, we are the Amsterdam Student Union Gay, the GLBTQ student union of Amsterdam (without weird hazing or obligations), and the chances are that you have already seen us. In the beginning of August we could be found on a boat - we participate each year - during the Canal Parade!! We introduce ourselves in this column.
Our participation was not as matter-of-course as previous years. Because of EuroPride, this time a ballot committee was set up to assess the ideas of organizations wanting to participate. Of course we made our 360 members think hard about this, and together we developed a wonderful concept, but with these large multinationals and other big gay names, our concept didn’t make the final eighty. “Ouch.”
In April there was good news however: two boats dropped out, enabling us to capitalize on our second place on the waiting list! In a hurry, we created a committee, arranged a boat, printed banners, approached drag queens, and purchased graduation hats for the student theme we wanted to portray. Amsterdam television station AT5 followed us in this process, so check their website to see how it all happened!
The moment finally arrived on Saturday, August 6: one hundred students got on the boat with DJ and drags waiting. All were beautifully attired (or sometimes less shrouded...) in white blouses, black short pants and all kinds of beautiful suspenders, socks, ties and eye wear. And what an ecstatic experience it was! Each year again there is that moment you sail under the bridge, onto Korte Prinsengracht, where a frenzied party crowd is cheering you on.
That continues for several hours, in which you can dance together, wave to friends, flirt with forty-year-old straight women already toasted on rosé wine, and wink at all the cameras circling you as vultures. Of course, with a rainbow flag and some beers nearby. No, partying on a boat with an audience of half a million will never get boring. And after a sun-drenched day we look back on yet another fantastic edition of the Canal Parade!
A.S.V.Gay isn’t just there to take part in EuroPride, we also fulfil a social function. We want to make gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer students visible and provide a safe haven where they can be themselves. Just as more and more people think that this is no longer needed, the influx proves otherwise. We also make a public appearance on important days such as Coming Out Day, World AIDS Day en Transgender Day of Remembrance to step into the breach for our rainbow fellows.
Some of our social sides have an overlap with the bear dimension. An important goal of A.S.V.Gay is to connect our members, and how to better connect students than with a drink? Each Wednesday night we gather from 21:00 onwards at bar Amstel 54, which is near Rembrandtplein on the Amstel Street. Besides the drink we organize all kinds of other activities. We will get to those at a later stage.
Although the drink is always accessible to everyone, from August 31 onwards we organize four open get-togethers where our members would love to welcome you and make you get a taste of our drinks discount! So, do drop by! You can also join when you are no longer a student; just as long as you’re under thirty and are at ease with our culture.
If you prefer reading about us: in future editions of Gay News we will have new columns to discuss in-depth what is happening at A.S.V.Gay. See you later!