A red-white-and-blue Gay Pride salute
AMSTERDAM _ On Aug. 3, Amsterdam’s Gay Pride parade_ the world’s only one on water _ wends its way down this city’s splendid canals that mark their 400th anniversary this year. Over the years, the parade has become one of the biggest public events in the Netherlands wrapped up in a weekend of partying.
For the first time, Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert will join the parade this year. The minister says her participation shows it’s time to end the taboo about lesbians, gays and transgender people in the armed forces. The defense ministry’s boat _ festooned in the red, white and blue of the Dutch flag _ will show personnel in old uniforms saluting crowds along the parade route.
The defense ministry has had a boat in the parade since 1986 – but never one with the minister on board. The 2013 event will feature 80 boats. The theme for Amsterdam Gay Pride 2013 is “Reflect” to encourage everyone to think about how far gay rights have advanced in the Netherlands and elsewhere.