Celebrating Gay Pride 2014

I went down to Prinsengracht on Saturday and took photos of the boats in the Gay Pride Canal Parade. Lots of great performers this year, and very enthusiastic crowds. Followed by parties across the city, this is something Amsterdam celebrates. Here are some highlights from the parade, there’s also a video taken from near the end of the parade.


Celebrate Gay Pride

This weekend Amsterdam will celebrate Gay Pride , including the famous canal parade on Saturday. If you’re not sure what to expect here are my posts on gay pride from previous years.

The basics are; performers on boats going along Prinsengracht, starting at the Haarlemmerstraat end at about 1.30pm. Crowds lining the canals to cheer their support.

Businesses around town show their support, often using the rainbow symbol. This is from SeeMe on Haarlemmerstraat.


Reflecting on Gay Pride

Gay Pride is celebrated with a canal parade in Amsterdam, so yesterday 80 boats, with 50-100 performers on each, sailed slowly along Prinsengracht. Through the cheers of thousands of Amsterdammers and visitors to the city.

Crowds at Gay Pride, Amsterdam 2013
It really is a fantastic atmosphere, the crowd is supportive, lots of people wearing pink or carrying a rainbow flags. It’s an event for everyone, every age group, and some make it a family day out. It was sunny and warm yesterday so it was like a city-wide street party. I watched the parade for a while, perched in the crowd. On a boat near me was a group of lesbians, with their children. Gay marriage has been legal here for 12 years, so all of their lifetime.

Each boat represents a different organisation, there are gay bars and gay rights organisations, various companies – vodafone, ING, Akzo Nobel, and government organisations – the tax department featured this year. The military have had a boat in the parade the last few years, everyone is in uniform and saluting the crowd, always gets a huge cheer.

The gay rights issue that gets the most media coverage is gay marriage, particularly in relation to the US or the church in the UK. But a couple of boats reminded everyone that there are other, more serious issues. On this boat participants carried signs saying “er is nog veel voor te vechten” (there is still a lot to fight for). Some carried the Russian flag in “honour” of Russia’s anti gay legislation – holding a similar parade is illegal in Russia. More seriously, some banners pointed out that homosexuality remains a criminal offence in 76 countries, and that includes the death penalty in some.

Gay Parade; Amsterdam 2013

In the global sense there still is a lot to fight for, but we’ve come a long way in my lifetime. When I was at university the fight was to change the law and stop homosexuality being a crime, when I lived in Australia Tasmanian gays were trying to get the (unenforced) anti sodomy law changed by going into police stations and confessing – while the rest of Australia boycotted Tasmanian products.  And it’s only fifteen years ago that Ellen Degeneres’ show was dropped when her character came out, now she hosts a talk show where she talks openly about her life and her wife.

So yesterday was mostly about celebrating the freedoms we have in this country. If you missed the parade, or you view was blocked by a large man with a bald head. You can see the whole thing on YouTube.

Amsterdam Gay Pride Parade 2013 /anselneo/BY-NC-SA 2.0
Amsterdam Gay Pride Parade 2013 /anselneo/BY-NC-SA 2.0

Amsterdam Gay Pride

0308gayTomorrow is the gay pride parade through the canals of Amsterdam, it’s start from roughly where this photo was taken (Eenhoornsluis).

The route was marked with rainbow banners a week ago, and events started earlier this week. One of my favourite events is the Drag Queen Olympics, happening tonight at the Homo-monument. It includes the hilarious handbag toss.

But the pinnacle of the week is the Parade tomorrow when 80 boats will go through the Prinsengracht to the Amstel, then along the Oudeschans. The full route is on the site.

The parade is hugely popular with gays and straights; it’s always a great spectacle with music, dancing, feather boas and masses of body glitter. There are usually also at least a couple of boats with a more political message – reminding us that not all countries are as fair and open about homosexuality as the Netherlands.

Gay Pride Parade

Today was Amsterdam’s gay pride parade – which takes place on boats along the Prinsengracht. It’s always a great show, and crowds turn out to watch. I couldn’t stay long today, but I managed to get a few photos (and completely soaked).

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Overheard in Amsterdam #384

Overheard in the office last week – referring the the Gay Pride canal parade that will happen today.

 Straight  Colleague

 Hey, it’s Gay Day on Saturday

 Gay Colleague

 Every day is Gay Day in Amsterdam

It’s Gay Week in Amsterdam

It’s Gay Week in Amsterdam, there are events all over town for whatever might appeal; exhibitions, parties, and hepatitis vaccinations. One of the more flamboyant of the events is the Drag Queen Olympics, featuring the Stiletto Sprint and the Handbag Throw.

The grande finale event is this Saturday there will be a big gay pride parade on boats going around the Prinsengracht. It’s always a lot of fun, the canal is lined with Amsterdammers and visitors to the city all supporting the parade. It’s a fun event, but not without controversy. Some Christian groups in the country don’t support it, and some gays resent the very narrow lifestyle represented on the boats.

However on the whole it’s a celebration, and I’m looking forward to it. The only problem this year is that rain is predicted – so it could be soggy feather boas and sequins in the canal.

Countdown to Gay Parade

This time next week the Prinsengracht will be lined with crowds supporting the boats in the Amsterdam Gay Pride parade.

There are already flags flying on all the bridges across the Prinsengracht, along the route.

The parade is the most visible part of the event, but there are three days of events and meetings. Including the fabulous Drag Queen Olympics.

It’s a lot of fun, and the whole city turns out to support the participants. It’s a fun day out.

Gay Support

I posted about the gay pride parade on August 2, and this is an example of the wide support the parade receives from various businesses around town. This is a florist on a street near Prinsengracht where the parade took place. For about two weeks they had this extraordinary window display with the pink triangle sticking right out of the window.
Peering into the triangle showed a glorious flower arrangement with three small placards reading “happy gay pride”.

Gay Pride

Job Cohen, mayor of Amsterdam takes part in Gay Pride

Job Cohen, mayor of Amsterdam, takes part in Gay Pride

Today was the day of the gay pride parade along Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht canal. The whole city turns out to support the parade, including the city’s mayor Job Cohen – he’s the one in the suit.

Crowds line the Prinsengracht for gay pride

Crowds line the Prinsengracht for gay pride

The whole of the Prinsengracht is lined with supporters for the parade. All sorts of people are there cheering the boats on. And there are all sorts of boats, like most gay pride events there is a political dimension – this year there was a boat from parents of gay kids and one about aids cure.

Reporters interview one of the crew

Reporters interview one of the crew

Reporters interview the participants on one boat. Much to the annoyance of the people around me, who were calling for the reporter to quit and let the parade carry on.
One of the performers struts his stuff, this boat had a theme and a routine, I love seeing the “free show”, but this year I think there were fewer great performances among the 88 boats. There also seemed to be more people in the city to watch the show, and more press boats on the canal.

Its all about the show

It's all about the show