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The Ambassadors for Amsterdam Pride 2018: Loena Maas

by Paul Hofman in Events & Agenda , 18 July 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

As every year, Amsterdam Pride is extremely proud of their ambassadors. This year's theme could not have suited them better, as each and every one of them have given their all for the LGBTI community. Author Paul Hofman interviewed them for the Amsterdam Pride organisation, and Noah Valentyn shot beautiful portraits of the Pride ambassadors.

Loena Maas by Noah ValentynThe result is a reference to antiquity, in which sexual and social diversity often played an important role. It is in man's nature.  Noah's narrative style is clearly recognizable and, especially for this Pride, shot in the colours of the rainbow.  The 2018 Amsterdam Pride ambassadors are depicted as knights, princesses, emperors and empresses -As heroes, fighting for freedom and identity.

Loena Maas
“There are a lot of misunderstandings still”

She is proud to be the first ever Youth Pride Ambassador. “Getting to this point in my life at the age of 20 means a lot to me” With her story and infectious laughter, the young Loena Maas (20) stands out like no other.

Being selected from nine nominees greatly surprised her. “I was very tense, and it took a while for it to sink in...” It was a dream come true. Her parents were the ones who registered her. According to director Lucien Spee of Pride Amsterdam, the fact that she got the most online votes was because of “her enthusiastic and open-hearted commitment to the transgender community”. To young transgender people she is a role model. “Now, I can give something back.”

As a Queer child, Lady Gaga was her hero. “Her message and music touched me. Always fight for someone is her motto. This truly appealed to me, and to me, it was as if the ball finally started rolling because of it.” Loena briefly talks about her childhood years in the Dutch province of Limburg. “There, I was born as a boy.” She discovers that she is not comfortable in her body. When she sees the documentary about transwoman and former Pride ambassador Valentijn de Hingh, she is certain. “That wonderful documentary showed me the light.”

At the age of fourteen, Loena comes out as transgender. A year later, her transitioning begins. It was a difficult period in which she had to deal with many prejudices from her social environment. Loena does not like to reflect on that period. Now, she is even more committed to transgender people. “There is still a lot of misunderstanding and a lack of knowledge about us as people.” On her arms, she has a number of special and eye-catching tattoos. Is she going to add one in honour of Pride Amsterdam?  “Certainly, although I haven't decided on the design yet.”

She cannot wait to get started.
   Amsterdam Pride 2018, July 28 till August 5
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