Sudden cloudburst fails to dampen Gay Pride canal parade spirits

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

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The 16th Gay Pride canal parade took place in Amsterdam on Saturday with an estimated 400,000 people turning out to watch the traditional procession of around 80 boats along the Prinsengracht.

Participants ranged from sports clubs to bars, from the city's police force to teachers. The weather remained fine until towards the end of the event when a sudden cloudburst drenched the final boats and the crowds.

This year was the first time a ministry of defence boat with gay soldiers took part - in full uniform. The ministry boat led the procession, with guest of honour Dan Choi, a former US soldier who lost his job when he went public with his homosexuality two years ago.


The COC gay rights lobby group used the occasion to put pressure on education minister Marja van Bijsterveldt to make information about homosexuality an essential part of the school curriculum.

Despite majority support in parliament, Bijsterveldt has refused to act, saying the issue is up to individual schools. Banners on bridges, posters on the shore and three light aircraft helped bring the message home.

The COC is also angry that the government will not take action against the (mainly orthodox Christian) civil servants who refuse to marry gay couples.

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