I have so many photos and so much I want to say about the canal parade at Amsterdam's Pride, which we watched on Saturday. I went from feeling very excited to very emotional to very happy at various stages as we watched the floats pass us and turn from Prinsengracht on to the Amstel. I'm going to keep the politics as brief as I can but the photos should show how much I applaud, enjoy and admire this event. We were chatting with our new neighbours a few days before and they asked us if we were going to go and watch it. We said yes, but that we'd been to Pride in London before so we sort of knew what to expect.
"Oh, it's different in Amsterdam," she said.
I'm not sure if it was the canals, the boats or the floats, but she was right. Pride is a wonderful worldwide initiative - one of the best, in my opinion, for fighting its cause. Even the name says it all; it's empowering, inclusive and uniting. We should all be proud of who we are. We should all be proud to love the person we love. Why do I deserve to have that right more than anyone else?Of course, it's also a great big party. And if a city knows how to party, it's Amsterdam. We saw some incredible examples of this city's community sharing and celebrating the day. (And we also some examples of drunken stupidity and I was very impressed how well the police and organisers managed this with tolerance and "safety-first" attitude, rather than heavy hands.) Pink is Pride's colour in Amsterdam. Hundreds, probably thousands, of people were wearing pink everywhere we looked. I felt bad for choosing a yellow dress when I had a perfect pink one back in my wardrobe. Next year...
Half way through the parade, somewhere in between the Dutch Police's "Roze in Blauw" float and the Amnesty International float that protested directly against Putin and Russia's recent disgusting behaviour, NewMan turned to me and said; "How are we in 2013 and people are still having to fight this?" I couldn't have said it better myself.
One day I hope Pride can stop being a fight and is about nothing but pure pride. And a bit of a party too.
Frances M. Thompson
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