Sunday, 7 August 2011

Happy memories: participating in the Canal Parade 2010

Yup, that's my arm waving the rainbow flag

Last year (2010) I participated in the Canal Parade of the Amsterdam Gay Pride. I'm not toned, particularly good looking or male, I'm just an average black, gay woman doing her bit for diversity and gay rights, but I was still there!
I feel this warrants a few more exclamation marks but as one of my favourite authors, sir Terry Pratchett, tells us: "Multiple exclamation marks  are a sure sign of a diseased mind". So I'll refrain. But yes, it was very cool indeed to experience the Canal Parade up close.

I was invited by the Dutch Department of Education to sail on their boat as their guest. The invite was a thank you for my work as a volunteer with the Utrecht branch of GLBT organisation COC. Together with dozens of other guests from all kinds of Dutch gay rights organisations we sailed through the canals of Amsterdam on August 7, 2010. The weather was quite bad, but our spirits were high. It was such an honour to be there. All in all, one of my happiest memories.

Want to see what the Canal Parade really looks like? Pictures from the day after the jump.

Here is the company pride boat of the ING Bank, practising their dance routine before the start of the Canal Parade.

See, it's not just topless guys on boats. This is the boat of the Dutch Cancer Foundation. Also, the weather was really, really bad!

This was just such a fun boat. The people on this boat kept dancing for hours in the pouring rain.

Here it is up close.

This boat made me cry. It's one of the religious boats. The banner says: Gay and Christian, nobody left behind (literal translation: nobody falls out of the boat).

The second boat in this picture is another religious boat. It was the first time people of the Jewish faith participated in the Canal Parade. Notice the Double Proud banner. So touching!

Coming up to the Skinny Bridge, well known from Ocean 12.

People were so supportive of us, rain or no rain. They really made this a day to remember.

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