Amsterdam wants to be a city where everyone feels at home. A city where people meet each other, whoever or whatever they are. Unfortunately, incidents show that is not always the case yet. Queer Club West counterbalances in a positive way by connecting people through meetings and activities. But the group is mainly there for the LGBTQ+ people from the West district itself.
‘Together you are strong’, the initiators of Queer Club West must have thought when they lifted their organization off the ground in April 2021. Queer Club West is a citizens’ initiative that aims to connect all active people and organizations from the lhbtiq+ community in the West district. To stand up together for equal rights for all. Ilias Zian, ‘Layla’ and Alice Gilaard of Queer Club West tell.
Acceptance of lhbtiq+ persons
Alice Gilaard is committed to the LGBTQ+ community in Bos en Lommer. “I want to be a listening ear for lhbtiq+ people. I am a board member of the MultiBeL foundation (Multicultural Bos en Lommer). MultiBeL produces the Bos en Lommer Queer magazine. posted are interviews with special people that I would like to show. Message: we can love whoever we want. In addition, I am organizing a multicultural meeting for the neighborhood about the acceptance of the lhbtqi+ community. In Bos en Lommer, aggression towards the LGBTQ+ community is a problem. When people listen to each other, there is more understanding for each other.”
‘Being yourself is a choice’
Layla (real name known to the editors) thinks about the programs of Queer Club West. She is an Amsterdammer from Moroccan-Islamic made and has had to deal with physical violence. Therefore, her real name is not in this article. “Being yourself is a choice, your orientation is not. I am not either LGBTQ+ or Islamic. Both are part of my identity, of the person I am.” About Queer Club West: “As a group we can respond more forcefully against rejection and aggression on the street. I want to enter into a dialogue. Within the community, the lhbtiq+ community is often not accepted. Young people, in particular, are taking a hard line. That’s a concern. We have to keep in touch with them.”
Ilias Zian, together with Ad van Dam, is the creator of the All Inclusive evenings in West. These are small-scale movie nights around a theme. Zian: “People can listen to each other’s stories. We show films, but the evenings are also intended to exchange knowledge, increase mutual understanding and make contact with people in the same situation. This summer, the brand started a flag campaign in a student flat. This was a great success. Many people show their solidarity with the lhtiq+ community. On the Mercatorplein you see the first generation of Amsterdammers with a migration background walking around next to students and sitting on benches together. Young people. I think that is a beautiful and hopeful image. I hope we can preserve the differences in culture in West. It gives to our city.”
For more information and the agenda, check out the Queer Club West Facebook page.
- Wednesday 13 October, All Inclusive film evening with the film screening Hartenprins. OBA Mercatorplein, Mercatorplein 103
- Friday October 15, Pink meeting about Coming Out, with speakers, stories and presentation. House of the De Mansvelt district, 125 Karel Doormanstraat, Bos en Lommer
Photo: Alice Gilaard and Ilias Zian