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Activisim Events Pride Timeline

Amsterdam Pride Walk: Walking For Those Who Cannot Join

ACTIVISM/PRIDE

Amsterdam

Pride Walk 2019

The annual Amsterdam Pride Walk has been cancelled due to coronavirus in 2020, but it still serves as a good reminder of why Pride marches started happening in the first place.

sidewalkkilla

EVENTS | ACTIVISM

Amsterdam Pride Walk

The annual Amsterdam Pride Walk has been cancelled due to coronavirus in 2020, but it still serves as a good reminder of why Pride marches started happening in the first place.

Every year,

Pride Amsterdam

is opened by the Pride Walk.


It follows the route between Homomonument – a memorial in the centre of Amsterdam that commemorates all gay men and lesbians who have been subjected to persecution because of their homosexuality – and Westerpark, taking about an hour to complete. An estimated 15,000 people participated in the 1.8 kilometer (1.118 mile) walk in 2019. 

Pride Walk in Amsterdam is more of a demonstration for equal rights, therefore making it different from some other Pride parades such as those in the US, where it seems that the celebration of freedom and diversity has become the foremost purpose. People who participate in the Pride Walk are marching for those who cannot or do not have an opportunity to march for their own rights, mostly because of the oppressive regimes of their native countries. Did you know that there are 72 jurisdictions in the world where being gay is illegal, 11 of which punish homosexuality by death? One of them being Uzbekistan, a neighbor country to Kazakhstan, where I was born. All of the countries where homosexuality is punishable by death operate under sharia law. 

The Amsterdam Pride Walk was helmed by a dozen bikers, followed by a solitary man carrying a memorial photo of Yelena Grigoryeva, who was killed just days before the march near her home in St. Petersburg, Russia. Yelena was a prominent figure in protesting the widespread animosity towards nontraditional sexuality in Russia, earning her a spot in a terrifying website called “Pila” (Saw), where personal information like addresses, phone numbers, and names of LGBTQ activists were being leaked and people were encouraged to kill them off. Even though the website was taken down, the damage was already done. Russian police claim that Yelena’s death was a domestic dispute, refusing to treat the case as a hate crime; all of her earlier reports about fearing for her life due to the many death threats she received were ignored by the authorities in the past.

After the lone man carrying Grigoryeva’s memorial, 74 people followed holding the 74 flags of countries where homosexuality – at that time – was either criminalized or, where there are no laws against homosexual acts but there are repressive laws against homosexuality propaganda,like in Russia. Back in 2016 Huff Post wrote about Russian Neo-Nazis “allegedly luring and torturing gay teens with online dating scams,” while in reality, Maksim Martsinkevitch, the originator of the movement called Occupy Pedophilia, might have started operating as early as 2010 and not allegedly so, but very much so. Maksim and a group of other men would scam gay men and teenagers into meeting them through a gay website, only to beat, humiliate, and torture them, while recording the whole ordeal and posting it online for everyone to see. Maksim has appeared on major TV shows talking about his movement, equating homosexuality to pedophilia and garnering support of many in the local community as well as the local authorities who would turn a blind eye to his actions. Maksim’s YouTube channel currently has over 40K subscribers.

There have been many reported cases of missing persons in the Chechen Republic, a part of the Russian Federation: forced abductions, torture, and imprisonment by authorities of men based on their “perceived” sexual orientation. Up to 100 men have been reported missing, while an unknown number of men have been reported dead after being held by the authorities on suspicion of being gay or bisexual.

It seems that the organizers of arguably the biggest Pride celebration in Amsterdam, Canal Parade, pay very keen attention to who they let float their boats down the canals. Only 80 boats were selected to float in 2019, and the companies that participated went through rigorous investigation of their HR sectors. Basically, let’s see the receipts of what you really do for our community. Very different from the “If you pay, you can be gay” approach adopted by the NYC Pride

In June of 2019 NYC celebrated the first WorldPride on the American turf, while simultaneously celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall Uprising. The same month The NY Times has published an article about a brewing boycott over Pride celebrations. In the article, Bill Dobbs of the Reclaim Pride Coalition who was responsible for organizing the alternative march, claimed that NYC Pride “allows corporate sponsors to ‘pinkwash’ their images as gay-friendly organizations with progressive principles.” Bill’s side argued that the parade should be more of a protest instead of the over-the-top show that Pride has become. Reclaim Pride Coalition has also expressed that they would like minimum involvement from the police, calling the N.Y.P.D. commissioner James P. O’Neill’s apology for the Stonewall raids “empty.” Ouch.

On the other side, Cathy Renna, a spokesperson for Heritage of Pride (that does business as NYC Pride), said that corporate sponsorship is a step in the right direction, as it shows how far our community has come, garnering such mainstream support. The organization allowed the N.Y.P.D. to walk in the parade, claiming that this was a step towards improving relationship with the police. None of the parties involved in the argument would have a slightest idea that in 2020, Pride in NYC would shift its focus back to its protesting roots, making it very similar to Pride Walk in Amsterdam.

If there is anything I’ve learned by exploring LGBTQIA+ cultures around the world, it’s that we might seem divided, but we are all still in the same boat. It’s disheartening to read about instances of the community turning on each other, like in an article written by an LGBTQIA+ and women’s rights activist Phaylen Fairchild, that explores the complicated relationship between gay men and transgender people. It’s absurd to think that instead of uplifting each other every step of the way, we can be argumentative and downright hateful towards each other. As an LGBTQIA+ community, we must work as one and find peace within our own culture before trying to figure out how to achieve global acceptance.

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Alexey Kim

Founder

Categories
Events Festivals Pride Timeline

Milkshake Festival: Love Is The Message (NSFW)

EVENTS | FESTIVALS

Milkshake:

Love is the Message

sidewalkkilla

Every year, Milkshake Festival and Pride Walk kick off official Amsterdam Pride celebrations on the same day. Milkshake Fest is a collaboration between two major clubs based in Amsterdam: Paradiso and AIR. The festival takes over Westerpark every July for an entire weekend of fun, drugs, music and an encouragement to express yourself in any way you want. As many as 11 stages are strewn all over the park, some of them hidden out of plain sight. “For All Who Love” is the festival’s motto and it’s plain to see.

I found out about the Milkshake festival in 2017 from the Instagram account of The Scarlet Woman of the West, Love Bailey (main image). The photos that she posted from the event looked so sunny and inviting, it looked like the heaven for the rebels of society.

I was finally able to make it out to Europe in the summer of 2019 and Milkshake was going to be the final stop on my mini tour of getting acquainted with the Eurpoean queer communities. What I failed to realize, was that Milkshake is only the beginning of a week of Pride celebrations in Amsterdam, so I was going to be missing some major street parties, the Drag Olympics, and the Canal Parade.

On the first day of Milkshake I had a rude awakening. I hadn’t even entered the grounds of the festival before I was smashed in the face with my own camera by an already-twisted attendee. The guy didn’t even apologize and just kept on moving along in his hazy state. I was trying to pretend that everything was okay– even though my eye was throbbing with pain– and told my subject to continue posing.

“Honey, are you sure you are okay? Your eye is bleeding.”

I looked into my phone camera and saw that I had two deep cuts under my eye and I was basically crying blood tears.

“Cool! This shall serve me as a battlescar,”

I thought and went off to find the nearest medic.

The nearest medic turned out to be a veterinarian, and after I told her I had been kicked in the eye, she asked me, with great concern on her face, if it was someone at the festival that hit me. I laughed and said it was an accident, this comes with the tough job of being a journalist. It made me feel kind of badass, like it gave me a sort of street cred, while going pretty well with my Lara Croft-inspired outfit.

The magnitude of the festival was truly shocking. With 11 stages in total– some of them hidden– there was plenty to explore. It was like a drug-induced partyland for adults. There was a huge tower by the entrance comprised of dick pics measured against various objects, from empty toilet rolls to Pringles boxes. Each stage had its own theme and it’s own musical genre, the biggest and the most impressive one being the Supertoys stage with a Ferris wheel attached to its back. Melanie C and Honey Dijon were amongst the headliners of the stage.

There was a backyard -looking party corner where people could ride a mechanical dick; a luminous sex room in the shape of a diamond that was placed right in the middle of a rave club, where I witnessed a straight couple, a lesbian couple, and a gay orgy getting it on all at the same time; there were guys who were walking around completely naked with unfailable cock rings; an area with human-sized blow-up balloons, where one could squeeze themselves into them and be at the mercy of a drunk girl rolling them all over the field; there was mostly vegan food and one refillable plastic cup per person rule; there was a huge funhouse and a Ferris wheel; drag and voguing performances; and most importantly a lot of fucked-up, crazy-outfit-wearing friendly people from all walks of life who were having fun and getting along famously.

Throughout the whole weekend many MCs were spreading the same messages of love, freedom, living the moment, and celebrating ourselves as we are. Milkshake represents life as it is– crazy, beautiful, ugly and full of surprises.

“Nothing should be a must, anything is possible,”

is one of the festival’s many mottos.

At the end of the day, Milkshake is a great equalizer, it shows the simple truth that we are all in this together and that we can all co-exist and be happy no matter our physical or mental differences.

The 2019 event was beautiful and overwhelming, crazy and eye-opening, raw and real, exhausting and exhilarating, and I cannot wait to go back in the future.

FULL COVERAGE

Milkshake Day 1 (NSFW)

Milkshake Festival Day 1 with street style, ass-eating, lactating breasts, cigarette in the nose, and performance by Love Bailey.

Milkshake Day 2 (NSFW)

Milkshake Festival Day 2 with street style, a naked man, a mechanical dick, and Christeene eating noodles.

Alexey Kim

Founder



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Alexey Kim

Founder