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The Ambassadors for Amsterdam Pride 2018: Jip van Leeuwen

by Paul Hofman in Events & Agenda , 20 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. Jip van Leeuwen, Former Sports Director.

Jip van Leeuwen by Noah ValentynJip van Leeuwen
“I'm going for gold”

As the Amsterdam representative, he was there when the Netherlands were awarded the Gay Games. With this winning bid, both the city and Jip van Leeuwen wrote history. Now, the former Amsterdam Sports Director Jip van Leeuwen (75) has been appointed one of the Pride Amsterdam ambassadors.

Over the past decades, this sportsman has seen a lot of changes in sports. But did we achieve our goal of complete acceptance? Enthusiastically, this sports icon tells about his life, the Gay Games and the upcoming Pride.

Jip was dumbfounded when he was asked to become one of the faces of Pride. “I hesitated because of my health, but my husband resolutely said that I unconditionally had to say yes to this.”

He proudly looks back on that high-profile period in which Amsterdam was the centre of the gay world. Thanks to the cooperation of almost all sports associations, the Games became a resounding success. Jip van Leeuwen even received a royal award for it.

This year 'heroes' is the Pride’s theme. Jip has two heroes: “John Blankenstein and his husband Martin.” As an openly gay referee in professional football and activist, John has meant a lot for the fight for the acceptance of homosexuality in top-class sports.” According to Jip, a lot has changed in this area, although he admits that 'there still is a long way to go'.

He finds that the subject is still emotionally charged: you can forget a top career, he softly says. “On the other hand, it has been proven that once you have come out of the closet, your level of performance goes up.” During his own sports career as a top-class handball player, Van Leeuwen anxiously remained in the closet.

Another hero is his husband Martin. “Without him, I would not still be here.” “I am pleased that LGBTI people have become more visible in sports. “What we have achieved so far is fantastic, but sometimes we want to go too fast.”

The fact that he can contribute to the Pride through his contribution makes him very happy.

   Amsterdam Pride 2018, July 28 till August 5
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