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The Frequently Asked Question I No Longer Hear

by Lucien Spee in Columns & Opinions , 11 juli 2017


Pride Amsterdam is the annual GLBTI festival to celebrate to be who you want to be, and to love who you want to love. Up to a year ago, this was self-evident for most straight journalists to such a degree, that to my chagrin, I was always asked whether a Pride in the Netherlands was still necessary.

That reality unfortunately is very different, is something that is now also apparent in the Netherlands itself, and not just something that only happens far beyond our borders. This is now also apparent to these journalists. On the eve of a constitutional ban on GLBTI discrimination, our Dutch community is confronted with verbal and physical violence far too often still.

In the past, these reports were often dismissed with the idea that we are “small-minded” and cannot stand rough handling if called “dykes” or “faggots” on the streets. The Orlando attack, the hate flyers in Amsterdam West, the abuse with concrete shears in Arnhem, and the maltreatment at the Amsterdam ferry, has made people realize that something is truly amiss. The Netherlands was outraged en masse after the incident in Arnhem.

Straight men took to the streets hand in hand to show their solidarity, and articles with the heading “don’t bully our queens” were published in the newspapers. This national disapproval of anti-gay violence is of course just what we need. We need to use the momentum for more acceptance of GLBTIs in general and in particular at schools, the workplace and in sports. Whether or not Pride is still necessary, we thankfully don’t need to explain any more. The above-mentioned events raised even more questions in our organization, wondering how we could use Pride more effectively to achieve our goals and reach our target groups.

Our answer to this is that we need to intensify our work with all the GLBTI organizations and relevant parties in the field. It has resulted in the setting up of six new committees that not only act as a think tank, but are also decisive when it comes to the content of the program during the Pride. In addition to this, we have founded a “corporate pride committee” in which the “pink” staff associations of our sponsors are represented. Besides the fact that, with their financial support, they also make the other committee programs possible, they themselves are also developing a content-based program on “inclusiveness” in the workplace.

The Department of Citizenship and Diversity of the City of Amsterdam has made a subsidy of 22,000 euros available. From our sponsor income, we managed to supplement this to 80,000 euros. The committees can execute their plans with this budget, and create an extensive and varied program for the entire community: for young and old, male, female and trans, arts and culture, sports and games. (Elsewhere in this issue, four of our committee chairmen will say something about their program.)

In addition to the above developments regarding the organization of the Pride, changes have also been implemented in our communication. This year for example, we will not be releasing a program booklet or festival paper and focus on social media and our festival app. In our promotional expressions, the design has also been modified.

As we all know, the community is even more diverse than the number of letters it is described with, and all of these letters consist of multiple subgroups, each with their very own specific wishes and characteristics. Not to exclude any of the groups and to radiate as much inclusiveness as possible, we will be focussing on just one letter, the P of Pride.

This year’s theme is “This is my Pride,” with which we want to emphasize the diversity of the community, and present everyone with the opportunity to realize their very own interpretation of his or her pride. On behalf of our foundation and committees, our Pride Ambassadors will radiate diversity and share their pride with you. That the choice of ambassadors was the right thing becomes apparent from the fact that for the first time ever, we received request from other Pride organizations and Dutch embassies abroad for lectures or appearances by our ambassadors. For example, Ana Paula Lima will be visiting Bologna Pride in Italy, Souad Boumedien the World Pride in Madrid, and Shary-An the Curaçao Pride in September.




Lucien Spee is director of the
Foundation Amsterdam Gay Pride

See www.pride.amsterdam



 







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In the New Issue of Gay News, 315, November 2017

















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