Canal Parade 2018 participants announced

The Amsterdam Pride organization has selected the participants for the Canal Parade 2018. The Amsterdam Pride is this year from 28th of July till the 5th of August. The most notable addition this year is the boat of Iranian LGBTQI people. Last year their participation was cancelled, because their boat malfunctioned. The Amsterdam Pride organization wanted to give them a second chance because the boat highlights the dire situation of LGBTQI people in Iran, where they face persecution, torture and death penalty. So the group behind the boat got this year a wild card.

Canal Parade 2018 notable participants and omissions

This year’s Canal Parade has the theme Heroes. Within that theme the selection committee made an emphasis on human rights with entries like the boat of Amnesty International and the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights. Another notable participant is Stonewall 50, the organization behind World Pride in New York in 2019. And local bar De Spijker has a 40 year anniversary boat.

Of you look at the full list of participants this year you might get a strange impression of the LGBTQI community in The Netherlands. A lot of allies, sponsors and media partners. And you might wonder if Deloitte and PWC are Dutch gay clubs or big international accountancy firms. That impressions gets at the heart of the debate in recent years about the Canal Parade. In short: how gay is the parade?

The number of local LGBTQI boats is small: around 10 of the boats are from the local Amsterdam LGBTQI community. A large group of boats are from non-LGBTQI organizations who want to show their support to the LGBTQI community and/or show their rainbow credentials. The complaints within the Amsterdam LGBTQI community are growing that the Canal Parade has become a Commercial Parade during the Amsterdam Pride.

On the plus side: one of the sponsors has tackled the issue this year. The Dutch bank Rabobank has chosen to not take part this year while still remaining a sponsor of the Amsterdam Pride. They gave their place in the parade to the organization for LGBTQI people who want to become parents ‘Meer dan gewenst’. The LGBTQI employees of the Rabobank chose this organization as a worthy for taking their place.

How do they select the participants?

The Canal Parade has limited space: only 80 boats can enter the parade. So a committee of the Amsterdam Pride looks at the plans of the entries, to check how well they represent this year’s theme (Heroes) and this year’s focus (Human Rights). They also take into account the sponsors and spread of boats over different groups.

Amsterdam Pride ambassadors

The ambassadors of the Amsterdam Pride were also presented. The ambassadors play an important rol in rallying different parts of the LGBTQI community for the Amsterdam Pride. More importantly they are often spokes people within the (inter)national media for the themes of the Amsterdam Pride.

This year’s ambassadors are Mieke Martelhoff the former owner of the famous lesbian cafe Vivelavie. The was one of the organizers of the first Amsterdam Pride in 1996. Other ambassadors are drag queen an activist Jennifer Hopelezz, singer Francis van Broekhuizen and Serdar Manavoglu who was one of the organizers of the Turkish boat that participated in the 2012 Canal Parade.

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