Explore the city’s gay & lesbian history with your smartphone. For this reason why many others and I gathered at the Amsterdam Museum: the launch of the PinkPerspectives tour. With my cell phone in my hand I was ready for some pink history.
Host Dolly Bellefleur, the transvestite alter ego of Ruud Douma welcomes us: a charming 'lady' in a beautiful pink cheerleader dress. While we enjoy pink cakes, Dolly explains the purpose of the tour. After downloading the MuseumApp on your smartphone, interesting facts, movies and sound clips lead you along a route through gay Amsterdam. To get us in the mood Dolly sings her trademark song "Pink Planet". Then she majestically opens the tour by cutting a pink ribbon.
We walk past places that are important in the gay history of Amsterdam. Meanwhile I watch a movie on my phone about the difficult life of homosexuals in other countries. It shocks me to see that gays and lesbians are still mistreated. And I realize how special it is that you can be openly 'different' nowadays in the Netherlands.
We pass the Westerkerk and Dam square, and walk towards the Oude Kerk. There is a public toilet underway, a Krul (Curl) which has a funny story. The design was changed to prevent gay sex in public. Because the urinal stands on poles, the police can always see if one or two pairs of legs are on the ground. But if you thought that this stopped gays to come up with inventive ideas, you are wrong. A shopping bag offers a solution. If the other person stands in it, you can’t see the feet.
After a nice tour, I look forward to a beer in Cafe 't Mandje, where the tour finishes. In 1927 this cafe was one of the first places that openly welcomed gay people. Although ‘openly’ meant that you were allowed to hold hands, but kissing still had to take place behind closed doors. In the wonderful sunshine, with a delicious beer in my hand I watch how Dolly Bellefleur entertains her guests with her singing. With her long legs and blonde wig, she isn’t a regular appearance. But it’s a blessing that we live in a time where you can be who you want to be.
PinkPerspectives Amsterdam is an initiative of the Amsterdam Museum, Reinwardt academy, University of Amsterdam Gay Studies, Café 't Mandje - Bet of Beeren IHLIA and Waag and developed by 7scenes for MuseumApp. And this year supported by the Trut Fund.