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Blog post #3: ​​Celebrating Pride during a Pandemic

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Every year Amsterdam gets a rainbow coat during pride, but why is it still so important, and how different was it this year with all the covid restrictions?

Around the end of July and the first week of August here in Amsterdam we celebrate Pride-Week, and we have been for 25 years. Though the celebrations continued to look different this year as a result of the pandemic, it was still a very successful and strong pride. Even without our beloved canal parade, or the big street parties, there was still no going around pride this year. With rainbow flags hanging in every street, and LGTBQIA+ people from all over the country visiting Amsterdam, pride was still as alive as it always has been, and as it should be.

Despite that we consider ourselves to be open-minded and progressive as a country and especially as a city, the painful truth is that there still is a long way to go to equality and acceptance everywhere. Seven out of 10 LGTBQIA+ people in the Netherlands are a victim of violence each year and 50% of all trans people experience discrimination (Boots, 2015) Looking outside of our borders even more and bigger problems occur with homosexuality being criminalized in 71 countries, 11 of which have a death sentence (Zero Flags Project, 2021). The criminalization of homosexuality was beautifully visualized by putting up 71 flagpoles on the Rokin with the flags of the countries where this occurs, and finally the rainbow flag as a symbol of hope. Unfortunately, although violence and punishment are the most extreme negatives, they are not the only ones.

For this reason, it is so important that Pride remains with us and is celebrated each year. Besides, it being Amsterdam’s best party, it also creates visibility for a community that is often not seen or misrepresented. In the past few years, we have finally seen more and less stereotypical representation of the LGTBQIA+ community in the mainstream media. Because the community is so much more than white, muscled men dancing in jockstraps on a boat. This representation and visibility is so important because it can reach people far outside of the big cities and provides them with information, role models and makes them feel less alone.

Another important factor of Pride is protest. Because Pride started as a protest and it will continue to be so until we are all equal, everywhere. What started at Stonewall café, New York City, as a protest led by black trans women, has now grown to be a global movement. A yearly part of Pride Amsterdam is the Pride walk, where this year 5000 people showed up in a four km long procession through the city. Heartwarming to see a sea of rainbow flags carried by the wonderful and diverse people carrying them all over the Damrak, Rokin all the way to Amsterdam Zuid. As far as you could see there were people celebrating and protesting with music, which shows for how many people Pride is an important topic, and why we need to draw more attention to this topic all year round.

As business students, future entrepreneurs, and leading managers, we get the chance to present the world with new ideas that will change the way we and others live. Some of us will end up in influential positions that create opportunities for impact. It is important that we encourage and support each other to take these opportunities and do good with them. Together we can make a change and shift towards a more inclusive and diverse society, and I believe that with Sefa, we are well on our way.

Let’s reach new height together!

Flip Vossen

Member since September 2020