For the first time, a Turkish boat will be taking part in the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade on Saturday. The event chairperson, Irene Hemelaar, describes the Turkish participation as a gain for Gay Pride. She says there are 20,000 gays and lesbians of Turkish origin living in the Netherlands, but “they are invisible because of the taboo on homosexuality in Turkish culture”.
Döne Fil, who herself is a lesbian of Turkish origin, says the vessel will have its own unique character. “Our red boat will be eye-catching, full of self-mockery, humour and creativity,” and it will include Turkish carpets and satellite dishes.
The boat will also feature the Turkish flag, but this is causing quite a bit of controversy among the 450,000 Turks living in the Netherlands. “Some Turks believe this is completely unacceptable,” says Fil, “whereas others think it’s a good idea to wave the flag. For Turkish gays and lesbians, the flag is also very important. We’re planning to display it, but in an original fashion.”
The boat will sail in Canal Parade as part of the celebrations marking 400 years of relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. 150 people have signed up for the 90 places on board the Turkish boat. A total of 80 boats will be taking part in the 17th edition of Canal Parade.