The Netherlands. July 25th. Over 40 degrees. This is the hottest day in the history of the Netherlands.
And this is happening just a couple of days before the start of Amsterdam’s Pride Week, the largest gay event in the Netherlands and one of the largest in the world.
The world-famous “Canal Parade”, which occurs every year along the Amsterdam canals, with 80 boats and over half a million spectators, is the highlight of Amsterdam’s Pride week, which will take place between July 27th and August 4th. The theme chosen for this year was “Remember the Past, Create the Future,” an obvious reference to the Stonewall’s riots, happened exactly 50 years ago and which mark a turning point in the history of the LGBTQ + movement.
Different events will take place throughout the week, such as the Pride Walk, the Drag Olympics, exhibitions, films, concerts, STI tests and many, many parties throughout the city.
In addition to the official events, many companies are also supporting this cause and will be fighting side by side with us. A good example of this is Polette, a well-known eyewear brand, which I agreed to collaborate with. The brand invited 6 people, me included, to share our experiences while members of the LGBTQ + community.
The other five people and I agreed to undress emotionally so that we could share our experiences, but also literally. The six of us together, without any shame, will undress, be body painted in different colours and form a human rainbow flag. This human rainbow flag will walk on August 2, from 6 pm, from Amsterdam Central Station to the iconic Dam Square in the historic centre of Amsterdam. Allow me to invite you to join us in case you are planning a visit to Amsterdam on these dates.
If not, you will be able to watch the documentary which will be released shortly after.
The question remains: Are Gay Pride celebrations still necessary? According to the latest annual report from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Intersex Association (ILGA), 70 states around the world continue to criminalize same-sex consensual relations. LGBTQ + community members continue to be fired for the simple reason that they are different, people still have to think twice before going hand in hand with their partners in public, as well as plan their vacations taking into consideration which countries should be avoided for safety reasons, not forgetting the unpleasant experience of having to “get out of the closet” to their families and friends. Based on these facts, the answer – at least for me – is obvious: Yes, this is still necessary!
(Mister Senior Netherlands 2018 3rd Runner-Up / Winner Public Choice / Winner Best Talent)
Mister Senior Netherlands 2018 3rd runner-up