Gay men, women and teens took to Amsterdam’s famed canals this weekend for the city’s gay pride. About seventy decorated dinghies went down the water as thousands celebrated queer carte blanche. Expatica reports:
The flotilla and party afterward is one of the biggest of the year in Amsterdam, and one in which the city upholds its reputation as one of Europe’s gayest capitals. DJs pump music from ships packed with dancing partygoers, vying for who can put on the best show or provide the most outrageous theme.
In addition to drag queens and would-be divas, Amsterdam’s pride also saw its first straight float, created in solidarity with The Netherland’s nancies, a particularly powerful message considering Amsterdam’s recent spate of anti-gay hate crimes, including a trio of actions over the weekend.
Hetero float organizer Coos Peterse lamented the straight community’s ignorance of such violations:
What always bothered me is that the public reaction wasn’t that strong. I would expect a much stronger outcry. since I wasn’t hearing it, I thought maybe it was a good idea to make a statement, to celebrate with them that you’re free in Holland to live to your own preference.
While Peterse partied with his gay countrymen, some other straights staged three separate attacks. One of the incidents involved only the destruction of a prideful wreath, but the others were more targeted:
The Irishman was walking with his Spanish boyfriend when he got in an argument with two aggressive men. After a hand gesture by the Irishman the two struck him with a hard object, after which the man was taken to hospital with serious injuries. He underwent surgery to his jaw and other treatment. The police strongly suspect that the man was attacked because of his sexual orientation.
Two American men were attacked on the Nassaukade on Friday night. One was beaten and sprayed in the face with pepper spray or tear gas. The police suspect that the violence in this case was also motivated by hate towards gays, but are not ruling out the incident may have been a mugging.
Such occurrences have become part and parcel of the gay Amsterdam, which once claimed to be one of Europe’s most gay-friendly travel destinations. One pride-goer remarked:
If you look at the Dutch society, it’s known as a very tolerant society. And it is true: more than 90 percent of the people in Holland accept homosexuality. However 42 percent of the people resent it when two men are kissing. So… we tolerate you as long as you behave normal, which means ‘don’t act gay’. But the problem is, we are gay.
Many homos, including prominent gay rights organization COC, blame immigrant Moroccans on the marked rise in anti-gay attacks – there were ten all last year and sixteen this year alone. One woman, Marianne Kalter, decried the immigrants:
It’s a change, and it comes from the non-natives. It’s getting worse. I hope it will get better, and I think it will in maybe 20 years – but not in 10.
Unlike some countries, however, Dutch cops are determined to track down hate crime offenders. In fact, they’ve formed an “emergency force” to investigate this weekend’s attacks.
For video of Amsterdam Pride’s happier times, ie: the Canal Parade, click here.