Amsterdam Pride is an LGBT+ festival held annually in Amsterdam during the first weekend of August.
The festival attracts several hundred-thousand visitors each year and is undoubtedly one of the largest publicly held annual events in The Netherlands. The peak of the festival is during the Canal Parade. The 24th edition of the parade, which this year took place on the 3rd of August, featured 80 boats, which included a selection of people from the STI clinic at healthcare centre GGD Amsterdam, the fire department, the police department, AIDS Fonds, and the City of Amsterdam.
While the event preached inclusivity, acceptance, and self-identity, it wasn’t all rainbows. Multiple people have come out reporting attacks and verbal abuse. Early on Saturday morning, a lesbian couple was beaten up by two men on a scooter in Amsterdam city centre. According to the Dutch newspaper Het Parool, they were walking hand-in-hand after a night out when they were attacked.
The women walked away from the attack with bruises, a broken lip and a swollen nose. On the same day, a gay couple was assaulted by four men. The two victims were walking along the Prinsengracht, their arms around each other. This caught the attention of the four assailants. According to NH Nieuws, two other men held each other’s hands in the backseat of an Uber and gave each other a kiss. The driver allegedly verbally assaulted the couple and spat on their faces.
All incidents have been reported to the police.
Because cases like these continue to happen, two days before the world-famous Canal Parade, Polette decided to stand up for LGBTQ+ rights by organizing its own parade while bringing a message of love and acceptance to the streets of Amsterdam.
Founded in 2011 by Pierre Wizman and Pauline Cousseau, Polette has revolutionized and disrupted the eye-wear industry by challenging the traditional optical establishment. The head office in Amsterdam is the creative centre of the company. The designers draw inspiration from everything around them: fashion, music, art, architecture, and everyday life.
To celebrate this year’s Amsterdam Pride, Polette decided to create a human rainbow flag. While “remembering the past and creating the future” (the theme chosen for this year’s Pride), the 12 body-painted people (me included) marched from the iconic Dam Square to the Homomonument – a memorial which commemorates all gay men and lesbians who have been subjected to persecution because of their sexuality. Polette also filmed a mini-documentary focusing on how far we came as a community. In this mini-documentary, we hear the different stories and perspectives of the different people who took part in this initiative. Can you relate to any of our stories? Let us know in the comments.
(Mister Senior Netherlands 2018 3rd Runner-Up / Winner Public Choice / Winner Best Talent)
Mister Senior Netherlands 2018 3rd runner-up