Amsterdam Pride 2018

Courtesy of Jeroen Ploeger

Courtesy of Jeroen Ploeger

Since 1996 the first saturday of august has been reserved for the Canal Parade in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

An unique display of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual community, parading the canals of Amsterdam in 80 decorated boats.

The Canal Parade has become a day for showing who you are and for others to party.

Courtesy of Jeroen Ploeger

Courtesy of Jeroen Ploeger


There has always been debate about the purpose of the Canal Parade. At first Dutch people were offended by the display of dragqueens, butch lesbians, men in leather or not dressed at all.

Today the LGBTQIA community is offended by the commercial aspect of the Parade and straight people being gay-for-a-day. Of course the LGBTQIA community feels discriminated and they are.

That being said, women also feel discriminated in a world dominated by men. The same goes for ethnic minorities. You can even extend this line to institutional racism.


Serving it’s purpose or not, one event showed exactly why the Pride is necessary. When the last party ended on sunday 5th of August, Amsterdam’s well known dragqueen-with-a-beard Jennifer Hopelezz was refused for a ride home in a taxi. Friends filmed the refusal of the cabdriver and miss Hopelezz filed a complaint with the taxicompany.

This incident has been the talk of the town, especially because many other queens and nonbinary persons have experienced this behaviour. So far, this part of the story about the brush-off of miss Hopelezz.

Readily accepting

A couple days later, the story continued.

Miss Hopelezz met with the taxi driver who refused her, his boss and representatives of the Department of Discrimination (DoD). I just think this assembly in itself is wonderful! Both the driver and director of the taxicompany showed sincere apologies about the event, and miss Hopelezz readily accepted. The DoD will be preparing a meeting with all the directors of the taxicompanies in Amsterdam to in future ensure LGBTQIA friendliness.

Transman in the city at COC's Shakespeare Club; courtesy of Jeroen Ploeger

Transman in the city at COC's Shakespeare Club; courtesy of Jeroen Ploeger

Different sides to one story

I’ve used this story to highlight the trouble people have with their perception of health. It’s almost identical.  

The Canal Parade is just one part of the equation, called the Amsterdam Pride. This is an 8-day during event, where different cultural aspects of the Pride are shown. Celebration is, although very important, just one aspect. Education is another one. Throughout the city different kinds of events are organised to make people aware of the presence of a LGBTQIA community. Unfortunately the Canal Parade receives most of the attention.

Schermafdruk 2018-08-13 13.16.41.png

Preference for negativity

The incident with miss Hopelezz showed one of the troubles this community still endures in one of the so called most tolerant countries in the world.

Nevertheless the media coverage failed to highlight the happy ending of the story. Of course we know the media loves negative stories.




Health and Disease

But there is so much more than just negativity.

Every story has at least two or more sides to it. The same applies to health. Because of breakthroughs in DNA research people tend to think all is known about health. However, the puzzle which forms health just got bigger and more complicated with recent knowledge about DNA.

And besides that, there are so many people, laymans and professionals, who know it all. They can tell you all about health and make it easy to understand. Contradicting stories about health make it even more difficult to grasp this topic. We have a body that works in several complex ways, with interacting systems, not only within the body but also in contact with the outside. As long as we haven’t mapped these interaction, the so called systems biology, we should be aware of the shortcomings in our knowledge of health.

Special thanks to Stichting Amsterdam Gay Pride and photo's by Jeroen Ploeger!