It is not clear to everyone that through Pride Amsterdam, we not only celebrate our diversity, but also act in a festive manner against inequality and discrimination. This year, our focus is on the P of Protest.
The anniversary of the Stonewall riots and our associated theme lend themselves perfectly to communicating the objectives of Pride and increase the awareness of our struggle. In this way, we look back at the protest marches that have taken place over the past fifty years and what was written on the banners at these protests. Many photos of these protests are shared through our social media channels, but we will highlight four of them and use them on our banners I order to decorate the city. A large protest fist with phrases such as “Gay Liberation now,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Stop Killing Trans People,” and “We are not sick” will make people think.
When I became Director of Pride, I was aware that we still had to educate the rest of society about the meaning of pride and fight against inequality in society. What I really couldn’t suspect at the time, however, was that there was still a battle to be won within our own community.
However, since I have been involved in setting up Trans Pride and QPOC committees, I have been amazed about how disrespectfully our community sometimes interacts with each other, and how denigrating some people talk about other minority groups. I’m not naive, but until recently I lived under the assumption that we as minority groups would find and support each other in our joint struggle for compliance with Article 1 of the Dutch constitution.
My love for my multicultural Venezuelan husband is still alive and kicking, and I have not been on dating apps for a while. However, I was quite shocked to see how people deal with each other on social dating apps. Of course, everyone has their own sexual preference, and Caucasian gays do not necessarily have to share their beds with black trans men to prove that they are not racist transphobes. But I do not understand where that urge comes from to express unmistakably what you are NOT looking for. Texts like “no Asians no blacks and straight acting only” are unnecessarily offensive. Why not mention what you do like?
Anyway, racism and transphobia within the GLBT community are therefore also a phenomenon we will pay attention to this Pride. Not just by making protest sounds or by presenting vulnerable groups as victims, but by giving these groups a prominent place in the Pride and by showing their pride in public in a special and festive way.
It is a dream come true for our ambassador Amber Vineyard, and she will be organizing a ballroom event in Pride Park with her “children” on Saturday, July 27. It will be a unique experience, and one for which ballroom houses from all over the world will travel to Amsterdam. It already has the potential to become Europe’s largest ball.
Amber is the “mother” of the House of Vineyard, the first house in the Netherlands following the example of the 1980s ballroom houses in Harlem, New York City. Many gays and transgenders of color were not understood by their own family and social environment. They then joined houses where the “mother” is a role model. The houses organized balls: a place where dance, fashion, art and transformation came together, and where everyone - regardless of skin color or sexual preference - could be true to themselves or fantasize about who they wanted to be.
The ballroom idea and accompanying feeling are exactly what we are looking for at Pride, and we therefore gladly offer space for this wonderful project. Our Pride Business Club also makes this possible financially.
So, come and walk along with the Pride Dream Ball Saturday 27th of July in the Vondel (Pride) park.
Lucien Spee is managing director of the Amsterdam Pride Foundation , organizer of the yearly Amsterdam Pride, which will be take place from July 27 - August 4, 2019. See www.pride.amsterdam for more information on this event.