Amsterdam Gay Pride is closed for another year. Did I enjoy it? Yes - most definitely! Our two pups were here for the weekend, and had some friends over at my apartment to watch the parade and we had a great time! I did not have the problems as I described in last week's blog entry while watching the parade so that was a great improvement over last year. Whilst mentioning the positive points, lets stick on that for a while ;-)
The parade started on a somber note, the AIDS Fonds boats started the parade 15 mins before any other boat, showing signs and wearing T-shirts reading “Remembering our colleagues on MH17” and “Our work goes on. Together we can beat the virus” The MH17 disaster affected the whole of The Netherlands heavily. The support for this from everyone watching was amazing and brought a lump to my throat.
This year there was also a boat from the Moroccan Gay Community and the Jewish Gay Community for the first time - great to see the Moroccan Gay Community join the parade, this took considerable bravery, Morocco does not support Gay Rights, and there have been many issues between the Gay Community and the Moroccan Community in the Netherlands including violent attacks and other "Hate Crimes". The Jewish boat hosted the wonderful Dana International and was cheered well by the crowd.
In addition, there seemed to be more boats from actual Gay Organisations, Clubs and Associations, and less "Big Commerce" boats, though they were present too - and as usual they were pretty boring - with a few exceptions like Vodafone, ING and Corendon.
Nelson's work on the MrB Leather and Rubber boat paid off - again - a great boat that got huge cheers where we were standing, but it appears that Richard Groenendijk on the AVRO TV Channel who were live streaming the parade made some negative comments on the leather stereotypes and the fact that they were showing some skin would offend some people. Mr Groenendijk should understand that the Leather Community is a strong part of the Gay Community in Amsterdam, and if people are offended seeing a bare ass, then maybe they shouldn't be in Amsterdam nor watching the parade.
There were also some events on the Amstelveld as there are every year. The events are on the Friday and during the boat parade on Saturday and Saturday evening. Mostly a stage, with DJ's and music. These events are not attended well by gay people, and attract the straight community who again are looking for an excuse for a party and not necessarily interested or want to be a part of Gay Pride. There are always problems here, with people that are extremely drunk, the mess is enormous and to be honest I really don't see how the events in Amstelveld should be any part of Gay Pride.
On the Saturday evening, the bars on the Warmoesstraat were buzzing! Last year it was awful, they were quiet only with a huge amount of straight people really drunk causing trouble on the street. This year the bars were full with lots of guys in gear. The BLUF Social was a great success - a lot of travelling members attended, but not so many Dutch members, and really I don't understand why. The atmosphere was great and a lot of action was taking place.
All in all - a much better Gay Pride than last year! Next Leather Pride and AKA 2014 - I can't wait!