Celebrating Pride Week in Amsterdam

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The Netherlands is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in the world. So, it should come as no surprise that Amsterdam hosts one of the greatest Pride parades in the world; every year, you can feel the joyful electricity of the whole city and myriad travellers from around the globe coming together in support and solidarity. The convoy of decorated boats topped with dancing people floating down the old canals as people cheer from the sidelines and from the windows of 17th-century houses also adds to the celebratory atmosphere. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus, Amsterdam's 25th Pride parade has had to be postponed but the spirit of celebrating Pride has not.

We caught up with Booking.com’s B.proud ambassadors based at the company’s Amsterdam HQ to see how they’re planning to honour Pride and what it means to them. B.proud is a Booking.com employee group dedicated to making the workplace welcoming for LGBTQ+ (current and future) colleagues by fostering an inclusive and open environment.

Milo

“B.proud is a group of employees who are passionate about change and equality for our LGBTQ+ colleagues all around the world.”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Booking.com

My name is Milo, I am British and living in Amsterdam. At Booking.com, I am a Global Service Integration Specialist and I am also the global chair of B.proud.

What’s your unique Pride story?

My nan passed away at 94 in 2017. The last time I saw her we took her to London Pride in her wheelchair and she was absolutely loving it. Everyone was paying so much attention to her and covering her in glitter. She was truely in her element and that is the best memory I could have ever taken away from that time.

What does Pride mean to you?

I know it sounds cliche but Pride really is that one time of the year where you can be your true self, with no judgement, just acceptance. And we do this once a year in the hope that we will one day be able to display our true selves anywhere we go in the world. The parade may be postponed but I will be celebrating Booking.com’s fourth Pride Day that week so all my attention will be focused there. I will also take part in the march against homophobia in Amsterdam. And of course a few beverages with my friends to celebrate the day.

Didem

“Pride is just not one day or a week so I always try to share, encourage and celebrate Pride every day of the year”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Booking.com

My name is Didem. I am the lead of the Partner Marketing Journey Programs in the Digital Partner Experience team at Booking.com. I am also a proud ally and I have been a global member of the B.proud management team for more than a year now.

What does B.proud represent?

“Protecting the diversity and promoting the diversity.” In my opinion, B.proud is the strongest example of it in and outside of Booking.com and being an ally is such a great way to contribute to this.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is an essential day of recognising how beautiful we are, being human and freedom. We are all human and we all have equal rights, so Love is Love for all of us and Pride is such an amazing place full of love.

Erwin

“Pride is not just for the gay-cis-male that wants to party. It should be for everybody in the community and we should be more allies towards each other.”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Booking.com

I’m Erwin, Product Manager in Customer Service and one of the founders of B.proud. It started as a group of active volunteers who organised small get togethers but now we have ambassadors in all regions across the world.

What’s your unique Pride story?

I was lucky enough to celebrate Pride with some of my colleagues in New York last year. 2019 was the remembrance of 50 years of Stonewall Pride. The parade went past the Stonewall café where it all started. Realising this and the fact that now, 50 years later we have a lot more freedom makes you understand that Pride was needed to get here and it is needed to bring us all the way to complete inclusion.

What is your interpretation of this year’s theme, 'Take Pride in Us'?

For me, it is focused on the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community and the sometimes open and/or subtle discrimination even within our own community. Pride is not just for the gay-cis-male that wants to party; it should be for everybody in the community and we should be more allies towards each other. We should take pride in all of us!

Yasmin

“You are who you are and you love who you love.”

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Booking.com

My name is Yasmin, I work as a project specialist in the Real Estate and Workplace Services team and I am also B.proud’s Global Vice-Chair.

What does it mean to be a part of the B.proud community?

To me, it means creating a safe space together where everyone feels at ease to ask questions. We realise that the only way to become more inclusive is to always assume good intent and truly listen to what other people have to say. Inclusiveness (not just LGBTQ+, but all forms!) is a journey we’re on together, not a goal we can ‘tick off’.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride to me, is about celebrating that you are who you are and you love who you love. It’s about commemorating the people that have come before us to fight for that freedom, as well as acknowledging the challenges still ahead of us – both in the Netherlands and in other parts of the world.

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