In it’s 20th year, and playing host to EuroPride 2016, it was natural to expect the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade to be bigger and better this time. And while I was stunned(second year in a row) with the eclectic boats, the carnival-esque vibe and colors, what truly stands out about this event for me is its spirit – of love, equality, freedom and respect, not only for others but for your own self.
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly intolerant on so many issues, a fact that is disturbing as it is unfortunate. Witnessing this parade is heartwarming for me, while many of course come to enjoy the party, there are as many that come to show their support and acceptance for the LGBT community. It makes me want to believe that there is still hope, that a lot of the world will stand for freedom of choice as long as it does not harm anyone, that we believe in the power of love, no matter it’s orientation and that we are willing to be respectful of each other, even if we are different. What also truly stands out is the spirit of respect for yourself and owning who you really are – no masks literally or otherwise. It always amazes me, seeing people like this. Don’t we all struggle with “owning who we really are” – for fear of judgement, for the sake of popularity, for the uneasiness of the unknown? We sometimes live so much for the world and so little for our own selves, our definition of success and happiness heavily adulterated by the perceptions of those around us.
I guess these are questions with no easy or correct answers – but they need thought, and acceptance and maturity. And till we all get there (hopefully), I am sharing my favorite moments from this year’s parade.
P.S. You probably know that my photography skills suck big time, so in case you do feel the pictures have improved from last year, it is because B clicked most of them 😀