TransAmsterdam Provides More Inclusivity in Amsterdam
TransAmsterdam in Amsterdam East offers a safe space for transgender and non-binary individuals. Through artistic and cultural expression, they aim to show that the transgender community is more than just their gender.
Original text by Sammie Vos, English translation by Julien S and editing Jon Kendall
On a cool January evening, TransAmsterdam held a New Year’s get-together at the Manor Hotel on the Linnaeusstraat, where members and guests were greeted with the flags of Amsterdam and the trans community. With a cosy atmosphere, lively music, and people chatting with each other, this was a safe space where everyone could be themselves.
Founder Yvo Manuel Vas Dias, who received the Dutch Queen Award that evening for his support for the trans community, offered the following:
“TransAmsterdam is an organisation for art, culture, and lifestyle. We aim to improve public awareness for transgender people. One way we’ve been doing this since 2014 is through monthly get-togethers in Amsterdam East at Trans and Friends Café InClusion. We also organise special events such as Trans Flag Day. We also have a trans art school in Amsterdam East where transgender and non-binary individuals can participate in workshops for film, photography, drag, music, and other art forms.”
Collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum
Yvo also announced a new collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum: “We are looking forward to organising art workshops there. In addition, we may also strike up a collaboration with the Cobra museum. We’re committed to supporting trans and non-binary artists by arranging ways for them to show their talents beyond Pride month events.”
When asked how TransAmsterdam was formed, Yvo explained, “I thought the Canal Parade was too limited. There were a lot of drag performers on the boats, but many friends of mine didn’t feel confident in attending Pride. I decided it was time for the trans community to tell our own story, not to leave it to other people. My hope is that, in the future, transgender individuals will fully be taken seriously in the art scene.”
Meanwhile, the Café is getting busier each month, with live musical performances, always a positive atmosphere, and people from all walks of life. One of the guests, Kate Schoon, is there for a school project; she and her schoolmates have also presented their work at the Café. She explains her rationale for working with TransAmsterdam: “I’m a member of the LGBTQI+ community, and it’s important to pay attention to it. The safe space that is being created here is a wonderful step, though everywhere should be safe for everyone.”
‘The existence of a space in which I can be myself is very important to me.’
While this event is a safe space, there is also acknowledgement that not everyone feels like they can fully be themselves. Stickers are available for guests to use if they don’t want to be photographed.
One guest who wished to remain anonymous said of TransAmsterdam: “It feels like support. People struggling with the same issues come together. The existence of a space in which I can be myself is very important to me. I’ve been to other spaces where the transgender community comes together, but they’ve disappointed me. TransAmsterdam, on the other hand, actually is a place where I feel at peace. Even though I still find it somewhat scary, the last get-together had a positive impact on me, and I decided to come again.”
The evening proved to be a rousing success. Deputy Mayor Touria Meliani, Counsellor for Inclusion and Anti-discrimination Policy for Amsterdam, was present and gave a touching speech on the importance of inclusivity for the city. In his own speech, Yvo affirmed that TransAmsterdam is fully committed to inclusion, to proclaiming the message that we are all equal, and we all deserve equal chances.
TransAmsterdam is always looking for new creative volunteers for, among other roles, communications, public relations, text writing, events, teachers, team members for the Trans Art School, and artists of all kinds to collaborate with — including painters, photographers, writers, musicians, illustrators, actors, filmmakers, and dancers. If you are interested or if you have any questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.transamsterdam.nl.
Vertaald uit TransAmsterdam zorgt voor meer inclusie in Amsterdam