The very first gay demonstration in the Netherlands took place on January 21, 1969 in The Hague and was attended by about one hundred participants. Their goal (an equal legal age of consent for sexual contacts between same-sex persons as for heterosexual contacts) would be achieved two years later.
Therefore, and probably also because this demonstration took place in winter, it never really got a sequel. That was very different with the riots that broke out six months later, on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York. This riot partly went down in history because it encouraged the younger generation to organize themselves into various activist gay liberation groups. These action groups would, among other things, organize a commemorative demonstration a year later. In the following years, this example was followed by more and more cities, first in America but then also in Europe.
In the Netherlands it wasn’t until 1978 for this annual gay demonstration to take hold, from 1979 onwards under the name Pink Saturday. The first demonstrations took place in Amsterdam, but since 1981, they were annually organized in different cities. In 1990, the Pink Saturday was held in Zwolle for the first time under the motto “Simply proud.” The capital of the province of Overijssel was once again the host city in 2006 with the theme “You’re Welcome!”
In recent years, more and more cities no longer want to wait for being allowed to organize Pink Saturday and organize their own Pride activities. In Zwolle from August 29 to September 1, for instance, “Zwolle Pride” took place, including a symposium on diversity at work, an exhibition, a lecture about gay persecution during the Second World War, a reading hour for children by Drag Royalty Miss Meggie, a Pride market, a pink church service, the drag queen contest “Queen of the East,” and of course a Parade through the historic city centre.
Content and entertainment came together to create a vibrant and colorful spectacle, which at the same time wanted to advocate emancipation and acceptance. As is customary nowadays, Zwolle Pride also had the necessary ambassadors, but as there was a change of Mayor at the time, it was decided to also appoint a “gay mayor” in the person of the Zwolle-born cultural entrepreneur Gina Maria (49). She expressed wanting to be “a figurehead and put diversity and inclusiveness for the GLBTI community in this region on the map.”
Richard Broekhuijzen went to Zwolle and made the photographic report you can see below.