My plans for celebrating Stonewall 50 Pride began a year ago. I’d be in New York City where it all started, where I lived for ten years before escaping to Amsterdam. With the city hosting World Pride as well, I knew it would be epic. Grace Jones would be there. And Lady Gaga. Even Madonna. I booked Megabus tickets from Albany early–only a dollar each way! I ordered new Keith Haring designer sport shoes. I texted friends I wanted to meet up with. I was ready!
Then I got an email from my publisher. Bold Strokes Books was invited by a group called Queer Connect to participate in the first-ever Pride Parade and Festival in the small town of Bennington, Vermont. Interested authors should contact the events coordinator. But there was a catch—a big catch! It was being held on the same dates as the big weekend in New York City. Nope. No way. Not a chance.
Amsterdam Gay Pride is in full swing and once again I am elsewhere. I haven’t minded missing the celebration the last couple of years. But this year I wish I were there. My former employer is sponsoring one of the eighty boats in the Canal Parade in honor of some very special guests – eight young LGBT activists from parts of the world where being gay can be a matter of life or death.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) has always been openly supportive of the international LGBT community. In the late 80s, producer Pete Myers began covering stories about gay social issues on his weekly show Rembrandt Express, long before other mainstream media. When I took over producing an arts and culture program in the early 90s, he encouraged me to talk with as many LGBT artists, musicians, writers, and filmmakers as possible. Three programs I produced between 1998 and 2004 that were honored with NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards are part of his legacy.
Steven & Dagmar
I know. You don’t like to celebrate birthdays. That probably goes double for this year. So I won’t dwell on it. I’m thinking about another celebration: the Gay Pride Parade in New York City. Come to think of it, you aren’t big on parades either. But maybe today is different. Maybe falling on your birthday, this year’s parade might tempt you from your country home to join the jubilation. I imagine you there with Dagmar, an exotic rainbow on your shoulder, marching to your own drummer. Or maybe not.