Netherlands Red Cross promotes tolerance during Gay Pride parade

Published: 7 August 2002 0:00 CET

Raimond Duijsens, Netherlands Red Cross, Amsterdam

The Netherlands Red Cross joined in Amsterdam’s colourful and exuberant Gay Pride canal parade last weekend to promote tolerance for people living with HIV/AIDS. Tolerance in general was the theme of this year’s Gay Pride parade, giving a serious tone to the bright festival which attracts many spectators each year.

It is the first time the Netherlands Red Cross has participated in Canal Pride, a parade of boats on the canals in the historic city centre of Amsterdam, which forms part of the main Gay Pride parade. Red Cross members sailed a boat decked in red and white decorations, and carrying a DJ, a Dutch impersonator of the singer Diana Ross and 16 people singing and waving flags. During the parade, young Red Cross volunteers of the Amsterdam branch also distributed condoms to spectators.

The boat carried a banner supporting the International Federation’s global campaign to fight stigma, The TRUTH about AIDS…Pass it on, to promote the Netherlands Red Cross support for people living with HIV/AIDS, and the need to not discriminate against them.

Stigma attached to HIV/AIDS often prohibits open discussion, and the resulting ignorance makes many people more vulnerable to the disease. In the past, HIV/AIDS mainly affected the gay population in the Netherlands, but today there is an increase in the number of generally reported cases particularly in major cities. Many of the people affected feel excluded socially excluded and discriminated against, and can be denied much-needed care and support.

The Netherlands Red Cross is actively involved in HIV/AIDS programmes at home and abroad. At home, it organises holidays for people living with HIV/AIDS, and care and support for sick children living in a special home called Mappa Mondo. Programmes in other countries - the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Curaçao, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan - focus on prevention, education and advocacy, and are aimed particularly at young people through peer education projects
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More on The TRUTH about AIDS. Pass it on... campaign