FEL- le Vrouw: Vera de Zwaan

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Two months have already gone by since we attended the Pride March in Leiden. It was an important occasion to show our solidarity to the entire queer community of Leiden and beyond. While we can't wait for another pride march on June 25th 2022, we want to share with you Vera’s precious words on her experience at the march.

What did you think of the Leiden Pride March?


The Pride march was absolutely amazing! It felt like an actual protest, and everyone in the march was very welcoming, even if we did not know each other. I thought it was also very cool that we followed the same route as the last pride march in Leiden, about 40 years ago.


Why was it important to you to join this march?


Honestly, I’ve always been a bit hesitant to join Pride marches such as this. In a way, it feels like you become a caricature of yourself, as in: here’s a parade with Vera the Queer!

The idea has always felt a bit alienating to me. At the same time, though, one also becomes very aware of being seen as an individual. In a way, I didn’t want to be seen as a queer because that was “easier”. Claiming the queer label in public felt scary, but also so daring and extraordinary. Since there are probably tons of people like me, I thought it was important to show Leiden that queer people do exist and that we’re a diverse group. In this diversity lies our strength.


What did you think of the organisation in general?


The organisation was excellent. They genuinely tried their best to make it as accessible as possible for everyone. For example, they had some chairs and transcripts of the speeches.



Did you feel like a group was not represented during this march?


To be honest, as a former member of a conservative Christian denomination, I felt like the oppressiveness of organised religion wasn’t touched upon. In the Netherlands, queer people within certain religious communities still face a lot of discrimination. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in this tiny country.


Did you hear or see anything upsetting during the march?


Well, being queer certainly still is, to some extent, controversial. There were a few faces of disgust among the crowd. A couple of guys were even yelling that we were all going to Hell. That was incredibly hurtful. In spite of this, it was beautiful to see that the majority of the people in the city were happy to see us marching. Some people had the most beautiful smiles on their faces, some others were waving at us in support. I appreciated that a lot!


Would you join next time?


Definitely, I hope there will be many more pride marches to come!