Friday, August 11, 2017

Amsterdam Offers a Feeling

Walking through Amsterdam, you see a gleam on peoples’ faces.  There is less repression here.  People are allowed to have sex without guilt.  They also bike ride everywhere.  And speak out.  The famous story about Holland from the war goes that everyone here wore Stars of David when the Nazis forced the Jews to wear them. 
“The two characteristics about the Dutch are tolerance and moderation,” explained one of our hosts.
Searching around the night before, I found an announcement about the Gay Pride Parade happening by the Anne Frank House at lunch time.  So we wandered out to take the city, look at the beautiful streets and make our way there.  The girls stuck their heads in a few shops; we played a bit.
“Just follow the hoard and you’ll find it,” explained one shopkeeper.
Pride posters were all over the street.
A woman with short purple hair strolled in her rainbow nickers, chatting excitedly with her friends.
This is the first pride parade I’ve been to since Gilbert Baker, the maker of the rainbow flaw died.
“Everyone welcome,” the flag seemed to say.  “You are welcome here.  No matter who you are.”
It’s a powerful symbol and his gift to the world.
So we hung out and chatted with a few folks, taking pictures strolling with the parade.
“Youth Pride,” declared the sign number two carried.
Whoever they become, its an honor to be here with them, honoring the struggles everyone has made, the GLBT movement had made for women, people with AIDS, queers, and everyone needing healthcare.
Queers played a huge role in the CD’s in Washington over the ACA repeal.
Our friends were going to meet us in Haarlem, a city just outside of Amsterdam.
So we grabbed a train and met them.
We met at the station, rented a few bikes and rode all afternoon long, through the country, getting lost, taking in art, and through the rain. 
Our trip is winding down.  But Amsterdam has offered us something special in this last stop.  

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