Huge turnout for Gay Pride Canal Parade

6th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

This year’s Gay Pride Canal Parade in Amsterdam has drawn many more people than last year, when 380,000 spectators lined the capital’s canals, the organisers say.

Despite overcast skies and a huge downpour towards the end, hundreds of thousands turned out to cheer the pageant’s 80 boats packed with gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, many of whom were clad in colourful garb.

The event was opened by former US lieutenant Dan Choi, who was discharged from the army when he came out two years ago. Now he is a well-known gay activist.

Choi was the guest of honour of the Dutch defence ministry, which this year for the first time participated in the parade with its own boat carrying Dutch soldiers in uniform.

It was also the first time that the country’s Hindustani gay community joined the event. The Hindustani activists said they did so to break the taboo of homosexuality in their own community.

The pageant is widely seen as a showcase of Dutch tolerance towards gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. Critics say that the pageant does little to diminish tensions with conservative sections of Dutch society.

It was the 16th time the Canal Parade was held, and this year’s theme was All Together Now. The event is part of the Gay Pride Festival, which continues until Sunday.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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