In the first weekend of August, Amsterdam hosts the Gay Pride Festival. This means its time to celebrate.
The battle that the gay and lesbian community has fought over the years has proven one of the toughest battles for equality in history. It is one that remains controversial around the world to this day. In countries such as the US and Australia, as well as many others, the gay and lesbian community are still forced to lobby for their rights to be recognised as equal. Same-sex marriage is a concept whichcontinues to struggle for a foothold in the mentality of various publics around the world. Perhaps it is because of this that Amsterdam retains a special and irreplaceable role for the global gay and lesbian community. Indeed, it was the Netherlands, led by Amsterdam, which became the first country ever to legalise same-sex marriage. The former Mayor, Job Cohen, was the first public official to wed same-sex couples, on April 1st, 2001. By taking this huge step in equal-rights, Amsterdam affirmed its status as a haven for acceptance, openness and liberal freedom.
This status is celebrated annually in the city, and manifests itself in the world-famous – Amsterdam Gay Pride Festival – an event which engrosses Amsterdam society with various activities and parties, culminating in a flamboyant and unique canal parade on the first Saturday of August. This is an opportunity for the whole of Amsterdam to gather in a united celebration of freedom and acceptance, not only for the gay and lesbian community but for everyone who carries these values close to their heart. It is this essence that makes the Gay Pride weekend, from the 2nd to the 5th of August, one of Amsterdam’s busiest. So make sure you get involved in the festivities, because the rest of city sure will. In this festival of acceptance and solidarity, there is only one way to celebrate – with pride!