Rik van de Westelaken: ‘Pride was confrontational but opened my eyes’ | NOW

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Boats full of partygoers, dancers on the quay: this weekend Amsterdam should have been the scene of the Canal Parade, the closing event of Pride Week. But the corona virus also threw a spanner in the works here and so it is a lot quieter on the canals. The party continues on television and Rik van de Westelaken and Ellie Lust look back on previous editions.

“It is such a shame that the boat parade does not take place, it is not only a party, but also a very important moment in the year. Pride is about being yourself safe, creating a safe society together. Then you cannot all on boats are partying in the middle of a pandemic. So we celebrate the party, but just a little bit different, “said Van de Westelaken in conversation with NU.nl.

On Saturday AVROTROS presents a themed broadcast around the Pride, in which attention is paid to the most remarkable boats of the past years, participants of the parade have their say and Van de Westelaken and Lust show themselves from a completely different side. Van de Westelaken is transformed into a drag queen, Lust gets makeup lessons from NikkieTutorials.

“I have a lot of respect for drag queens and find them very impressive, but I don’t like it very much. And now that I’ve done it, I don’t think: put me on a dress again soon! But it was very special to experience it The contrast was very big for me, “says Van de Westelaken.

“While I wanted nothing more than to take off that dress and take off that wig again, because I was uncomfortable, Lady Galore said that she needed to be completely herself. Sander, as Lady Galore is called when she not as a drag queen goes through life can show a completely different side of his personality. That is what Pride is also about: that you are open to each other’s world and accept that not everyone is the same. “

First time Canal Parade was confrontational

Van de Westelaken can still remember his own first Canal Parade: he was one of the first editions in the nineties. “I had been out for a few years, but still quite insecure.”

“The first time I saw all those people on boats I found very confronting. Partying, happy people, in obscure outfits, or in bright pink overalls: did I have to dance in leather because I am gay? But when I once I got used to it, I saw it mainly as an eye opener. All those people were allowed to be exactly who they wanted to be, that is freedom. ”

The organizers hope to make up for the lost Parade twice a year, but is there hope at Van de Westelaken that there will be a day when it is no longer necessary because everyone accepts each other completely?

“I wish we could celebrate every day that you are who you want to be. But I am also realistic and see that acceptance often goes well for a long time, after which it weakens and then something has to happen before we realize that not everyone thinks that way. So it is important to keep asking attention, fortunately that is also possible for me with the best party of the year. ”

Pride Amsterdam 2020 can be seen at NPO3 on Saturday 1 August at 22.35.

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