Shannon Beveridge Talks YouTube and LGBT Representation

Shannon Beveridge Talks YouTube and LGBT Representation at Love Fan Fest 2018

At Love Fan Fest, I was allowed to talk to Shannon Beveridge for a while, who is the genius behind YouTube channel nowthisisliving. I really appreciated this moment as I have just started my own YouTube channel. Being able to talk to somebody with over 600k subscribers is a chance you hardly ever get. What can you do with such a platform? What does such a platform mean to others? Also, what does she WANT to do with it?

In this blog and vlog, you will find out more about Shannon Beveridge, whom I think is very talented, caring, and chill. She talked about characters she felt attached to as a teenager, YouTube censorship regarding LGBTQIA topics, and visiting conventions.

‘Shannon Beveridge Talks YouTube and LGBT Representation at Love Fan Fest 2018’ At Love Fan Fest, I was able to talk to Shannon Beveridge, who has over 600k subscribers on her YouTube channel nowthisisliving. What can you do with such a platform? In this blog and vlog, you will find out more about Shannon. She talked about characters she felt attached to as a teenager, YouTube censorship regarding LGBTQIA topics, and visiting conventions: http://bit.ly/ShannonBeveridge

Below, you will find a video of the entire interview. I was not the only press member present during this conversation so you will sometimes hear LGBT Fans Deserve Better. If you liked the video, would you give it a thumbs up, share it with your friends, and subscribe to my channel? That would help so much. Thank you!

A chill environment

The other press members and I were brought upstairs to the relaxing room of the guests. There, Shannon was chilling on a couch and jumped up the moment she was asked whether an interview would be okay: “Let’s do this!” I loved the enthusiasm! We decided to all sit at one big table so it would not be a separate interview per media outlet but a joint conversation. That felt very organic to me (but the lighting in the video is a bit off).

LGBTQ YouTuber

An interesting topic to me, which was also addressed rather quickly by LGBT Fans Deserve Better, was how YouTube’s rules regarding LGBTQIA content have affected her the past two years or so. After all, it is increasingly harder for us in the LGBT community to start or maintain a YouTube channel. The horror stories that I have heard from multiple YouTubers made me worry about starting my own channel. Would it even matter?

Background info

Maybe you need some background information to understand that question. I have a simplified version for you. If you put the words lesbian, LGBTQ or something similar in a video title, the video will often immediately be considered not advertisement-friendly. If videos are demonetized, YouTube is not making money off them either so the videos are not shown in suggested videos. That means viewers will not organically find your videos; they will actively have to search for them. If you do not put those words in your title, how is the audience that actively looks for these videos going to see your video? It is simply not a fair system.

If you want information from other LGBTQ YouTubers, these two videos are great examples: Bria and Chrissy and Michael Rizzi.

More difficult

Shannon admitted it was getting more difficult to get content to reach the people who need it the most. She gave a very elaborate explanation of how quickly videos become demonetized and what the effects are of that. First of all, creators do not get paid for their work and without resources, it is harder to make this content. Still, she feels she wants to make videos because they mean something to her viewers. However, if her video gets flagged, it takes about 24 hours to be reviewed. That is also the period you see the biggest jumps in views. As a result, it is hard to get in the suggested videos list after the review, gain a good spot in search results, etcetera.

Restricted Mode

Another issue she talked about is YouTube’s Restricted Mode. LGBT content often ends up being blocked in the restricted mode. Who uses restricted mode? Public schools, public libraries, and conservative parents do, she said. So, when you cannot watch those videos at home and you cannot go to your library or school, where can you watch this content safely? Man, I remember what it was like not knowing of any representation. I do not wish that upon anyone else!

Practical tips from Shannon Beveridge

I wanted to know whether Shannon had any practical tips for me. After all, our community will not be getting answers from YouTube itself anytime soon. For instance, would she advise me to put lesbian, LGBTQ or something similar in the video title or not? What does she normally do?

Shannon said that she usually does not put these words in the title. She wants to make her channel about more than just lesbian or LGBTQ topics even though it is a big part of her channel and many of her followers are queer.

However, if she does talk about it, she does put the word lesbian or something similar in the title. One example is ‘Lesbian interviews ex-boyfriend’. She told me to put the words in the title because I am specifically targeting that audience and they will search for it. Also, ‘Lesbian interviews ex-boyfriend’ did not get flagged. She called YouTube’s policy a crapshoot; you never know what will happen.

See, that is exactly what I needed: advice from someone with experience who has seen the changes herself.

Type of content

Shannon Beveridge was asked whether she sometimes feels pressured to make content that she did not want to create. She told us that she feels much freedom. However, she also feels that her viewers want her to release four videos a month and that she does not know how to give that to them. She sometimes asks herself what is left to give as “you already know all of my soul.”

I sensed she was at a point where she was wondering what the next step would be for her channel. Coincidentally, she posted a video about two weeks ago, which completely differs from her other videos. It is about her trip to Spain, Love Fan Fest and other parts of Europe. It looks very creative and it has a different vibe, right? I would not mind seeing more of this!

Shannon Beveridge at Love Fan Fest

I hope you liked this description of the interview at Love Fan Fest. I thought it would be more fun than simply publishing a page stating the answers and questions. Next week, I’ll go back to the chronological order of my Love Fan Fest experiences. Last week, something happened that made me move away from the content schedule I had originally planned for you. As a result, I had no more time to add a blog to the videos I posted online. Sorry about that! Anyway, here they are and I hope to see you back as subscribers on my YouTube channel if you have not subscribed already!

Love Fan Fest Photo Shoot and Opening

Love Fan Fest 2018 Part 2: Love Fan Fest Photo Shoot and Opening

This week, I will tell you all about the second part of Love Fan Fest 2018: the Love Fan Fest Photo Shoot and Opening. Saturday morning, I was going to try to get into Love Fan Fest for the second time since my press pass was not available yet on Friday. Because of that, I had missed Shannon Beveridge’s panel and I was a little nervous about whether or not I was going to receive it this morning.

‘Love Fan Fest 2018 Part 2: Love Fan Fest Photo Shoot and Opening’ In this blog, you can read all about the Love Fan Fest Photo Shoot, opening, and Wynonna Earp panels on Saturday. You will also find two videos: http://bit.ly/LFF20182Vlogs

First, here are two vlogs for you! The first one is about the Love Fan Fest photo shoot and opening:

The second one focuses on two Wynonna Earp panels on Saturday:

8 am

We as press were told to be back the hotel at 8 am to pick up our press passes. I took metro line 1 to the hotel. It took me a little longer to get to the hotel than before because the metro apparently does not run that often in the weekend. That meant I was at the hotel at around 8.15 am.

My press buddies had a look on their face and I was worried whether they were upset with me for being a bit late. I was supposed to have breakfast with them after picking up our passes so I thought that was it. Unfortunately, it was the same story as yesterday: nobody knew about the press passes and we were told to wait. That did not sound good.

Wait again

After a while, we were told to go to the merchandise stand. When we got there, they did not know where the passes were. We were told to wait again. By now, there were about five more people waiting for press passes.

At about 9 am, we were pointed at. That made us hopeful. Then, the others were given their press passes and we were not. If you wanted to see me in a nervous state, that was probably the best time. After some running around and phone calls, our contact found a list with our names and we were finally granted the holy press passes. Can you imagine how relieved I was?

Photos

That relief lasted two seconds. “In ten minutes, all the guests will come down for the Love Fan Fest photo shoot and interviews. You are supposed to go to the main hall for that right now.” Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? I started to panic. I had nothing prepared. Yes, there were a few questions in my mind but if you have to go talk to actors, who have been asked questions a million times before, and you are new to this and you are recording it and oh yeah, you might also be a fan at the same time, you feel pressure.

I grabbed a peanut bar from my bag because I needed food to think…. I went back to ClexaCon in my head and I remembered how nervous I was for my very first interview and how completely unnecessary that was. “They are human beings too, they can be nervous themselves or they can be completely relaxed, just breathe!!” I kept telling myself.

Love Fan Fest photo shoot

Let me tell you, nobody is relaxed during those photo moments. I remembered the press room at ClexaCon and I could see it happen again at the Love Fan Fest photo shoot. The guests had to walk on the stage in the main hall, where it was completely quiet, and they were asking themselves: how do I need to pose? I tried to stay calm and not let the “OMG – OMG – OMG – OMG” in my mind shine through. I hope it worked :p

To interview or not to interview

After the Love Fan Fest photo shoot, it was time for interviews. However, I was then told that we (the “special media”) were not scheduled for interviews now but that I would be texted when they had found a spot for us. I was on call. It felt good not having to do interviews right on the spot but at the same time, spontaneity is hard too.

Also, I was still in the room with my other press buddies, who were not scheduled for interviews either, when all these interviews were taking place around us. That kind of looked funny. So, I just started to record footage of the guests being interviewed.

When I came back from a restroom break, though, my press buddy was casually chatting with Melanie, Kat, and Dom, who had come to our chairs to relax and wait for their first panel. I felt weird just joining the conversation but all my stuff was right there so it was not like I could simply go anywhere else… Oh well.

I asked Melanie how crazy her schedule was and yup, it was as crazy as you can imagine. She said she had a great agent though, who looked after everything, so she would not get too uncomfortable. We all need sleep and food, after all. I met Melanie’s agent the next day: I can confirm she really looks after her 😊

Opening

Then, the guests left and all the visitors entered the main hall. It was exciting to see everybody so happy for Love Fan Fest to start. Loud music started to play and images of the guests appeared on two screens. That footage was shot at the balcony where I would have my interviews later (so keep an eye out for that 😉).

The audience went crazy with anticipation. Then, all the guests entered the room and went back to the stage. They were not told what to do at that stage, so it ended up being quite funny. Everybody but Melanie, Kat, and Dom had to leave again so that everybody’s program could start.

Purgatory panel

Love Fan Fest’s first panel was called the Purgatory panel, which meant that Melanie, Kat, and Dom were on stage together. At one point, Kat and Dom had to leave and the second panel started, which was Melanie by herself. What was cool about this event was that the panels were not moderated. They were simply Q&A panels. That meant the guests were asked the questions that visitors really want to know.

Respectful

I did think a few times that the questions asked were not that respectful though. For instance, I heard somebody say something along the lines of “I wish everything/everyone was as beautiful as Mel’s ass” before asking her question. I wondered why anyone feels the need to say stuff like that. Luckily, in the very beginning, the guests could not hear the questions because there was too much echo on stage. This was fixed later during the day.

Another example is that in response to a question, Dom explained that she does not want to sing in front of a crowd because it makes her feel very anxious and then a few minutes later, another person asked her to sing. Maybe it had something to do with the language barrier?

On Sunday, I was lucky enough to ask Kat and Dom what they thought of the questions and they were genuinely very happy with them, so I guess it was just me or they missed those things because of the echo. Anyway, I thought there were some truly interesting ones as well that made them think very hard before answering.

More photos and videos

After that, I walked around a bit to take photos and shoot videos of everybody waiting in line for their photos and meet and greets. I asked staff whether I could take pictures inside the rooms but I could not. I understood that but at least I tried for you guys 😊

Next week, I’ll talk about the following panels: WayHaught, Hollstein, Gaby Christian, and Shannon Beveridge. I also have some press footage from the autograph area, for which my press buddies and I had to work hard. Stay tuned and do not forget to follow me on YouTube!

PS Want to watch Wynonna Earp? You can get season 1 here and season 2 here.

Love Fan Fest 2018 – Part 1

Love Fan Fest 2018 – Part 1

Thursday, June 21st, I took a train to Schiphol Airport for a flight to Barcelona. It was finally time for Love Fan Fest 2018! I had already checked in online and took an early train so I was very relaxed. This was my second convention and I could already tell things were going to be very different from ClexaCon.

‘Love Fan Fest 2018 – Part 1’ June 21, I flew to Barcelona for Love Fan Fest 2018. Love Fan Fest is an LGBTQ festival that wants to celebrate, debate, and show diversity and that demands greater visibility of lesbians in films and television. In this first blog (and vlog), you can see me arriving and relaxing in Barcelona on Thursday and you can see how I am trying to get into the festival the next day. Did it work? Find out here: http://bit.ly/LFF20181

Below is my vlog. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Different than ClexaCon

With ClexaCon, every small bit of information was available beforehand and the organization responded to your emails. With Love Fan Fest 2018, I hardly knew anything beforehand. I knew that I had a press pass and that I could pick that up during pick-up hours on Friday. There was a rough schedule on the website but never the “real” one.

For instance, I did not know when and where the main panels would be or what they would be about. I also did not know whether press would have the opportunity to talk to the guests. So, I decided to adopt a Spanish attitude and just take things easy. Not knowing what will happen can be good for you sometimes 😉

Exploring Barcelona

After finding my hotel downtown, which was very easy, I took my phone and mic and left for the Sagrada Familia. Yes, that is touristy AF but the first time I saw it was roughly twenty years ago and when I saw it again five years ago, it had changed so much that I just really wanted to see the progress now.

The heat in the city quickly became too much for me, so I took a metro to the beach and walked along the boulevard for a long time. About five years ago, my wife and I went to Barcelona for a few days right after our wedding and this afternoon, I ended up eating patatas bravas at the beach club where we had lunch twice. I really enjoyed soaking up both the sun and the happy memories.

After that, I decided to go for the magic fountains, which would be my third time seeing them but it is always just so chill to sit there and so beautiful to walk around. The fountain show would not start for another two hours but I simply enjoyed eating ice cream and watching other tourists.

Going to Love Fan Fest 2018 – or not….?

Friday morning, I got up all excited. I was mentally preparing myself for Love Fan Fest 2018, thinking about questions that I would ask the guests if I was going to be able to talk to them at all and wondering what to expect. The day before, I had tried to contact the organization again to find out where I could pick up my press pass and whether they had a schedule for me but alas, I received no reply.

I took metro line 1, which was around the corner from my hotel and went straight to the official location. I got out and I thought I knew where I was going. You see, I saw the hotel and a straight line to that hotel, so it made sense to me to walk to the tunnel that I saw directly in front of me.

As I walked to the tunnel, I started to feel very unsafe as it was a big parking lot, a tunnel, and me. What woman does not become uneasy in that situation? As I left the tunnel, I ended up on a dirt road right next to a freeway. Nope. I was not going there. I walked back, luckily ended up meeting a Dutch guy, and asked for directions.  Google Maps was right: it was only a three-minute walk, just not through that tunnel….

Waiting

When I finally arrived, I asked the staff where I could pick up my press pass. They told me to sit and wait with the other press. I turned around and there were only two others, and one of them I recognized from ClexaCon. What?! That was so cool! Until they told me they had been waiting for 45 minutes already and that nobody knew anything. Eh…. That did not sound promising….

Granted, the wait was somewhat long but not too long (for me at least). It was the outcome that was terrible. There were “no press passes today.” We were to pick them up Saturday morning at 8 am. That was quite some disappointment to process.

First of all, it meant a work day less. It also meant we were not allowed to be at Shannon Beveridge’s panel (“not today, no”). And finally, 8 am is early, you guys…. Look, I am a mom; I have to get up early every day but with the welcome party that night and the prospect of working all weekend, I had hoped to be able to get a little more sleep since the festival did not start until 10 am.

Long lines

On top of that, we had to get in the long line because we needed to show the tickets for the extra’s that we had bought. I did not buy anything but a ticket to the Welcome Party, so seeing that long line for a mobile ticket that you were just supposed to show at the door seemed daunting. Then, the long line was redirected to outside the hotel, which meant you had to stand in the blasting heat. Still, I was happy my ticket to the Welcome Party was still valid, seeing that I did not have a pass to the festival yet.

I needed a restroom break and when I came back, apparently, we had moved to another line. We had been sent to the registration line when all we needed was the extra’s line. After chatting with others in the line (what else can you do?), we were finally able to get our tickets checked. Guess what? My ticket did not need to be checked because it was a mobile ticket. Yup, that is right; I was in those lines for no reason. Lol. At this point, I just laughed about it. So, in total, my first Love Fan Fest day consisted of an hour of traveling back and forth and a 2.5-hour wait.

The first evening of Love Fan Fest 2018

I was planning on going to the Earper meetup in the hotel lobby at 5 pm since I was not allowed to go to Shannon’s panel. However, when I got back to the hotel, all I wanted was food. I took the metro to La Rambla and had a nice big lunch. After that, all I wanted was sleep. My quick nap turned into sleeping for two hours straight and when I woke up, it was already 6.30 pm. Woopsy, I missed the meetup.

I went for a quick bite at a bar near my hotel and got ready for the party. These are the events that I get nervous about when traveling to a con by myself. I wanted to be there to see what it was like but going to a party by yourself is quite scary. I knew the other press people were coming too but since we were not traveling to the party together, it meant we would be arriving at different times.

And yes, I was there alone for about twenty minutes. At ClexaCon, that was no problem at all since they organized speed friending before the con and had two full convention days before their party. Talking to people was no problem at all (outside at least).

Here, I did not know anyone and nobody talked to me. Yup, that is as terrifying as you can imagine so if you are traveling to a con by yourself and Love Fan Fest is your first one, I do not recommend going to this party by yourself (if they organize it the same way next year, that is).

Guests at the Welcome Party

Luckily, my press buddies came after twenty minutes and I was fine. At 10 pm, I heard this screaming and saw everybody waving their hands. Eh, all the guests arrived at the bar. Lol, I did not know that was even happening! How cool!

But wow, how intimidating that must be for them to see an entire club run to where they were at. They were guided to this small room and everybody stood in front of that room, taking pictures. People with VIP tickets were allowed in to talk to them.

I decided to go home at around 11:30. After all, the second day of Love Fan Fest 2018 was going to be a long day, starting with the press passes at 8 am. Or was it?

Watching South of Nowhere Again 10 Years Later: What I Realized

Watching South of Nowhere Again 10 Years Later: What I Realized

South of Nowhere aired in The States from 2005 to 2008. I thought it would be fun to watch the show again since Gabrielle Christian is coming to LOVE Fan Fest. Here are the three things that stood out to me rewatching this show ten years later.

‘Watching South of Nowhere Again Ten Years Later: What I Realized’ South of Nowhere aired in The States from 2005 to 2008. I thought it would be fun to watch the show again since Gabrielle Christian (Spencer) is coming to LOVE Fan Fest in Barcelona this weekend. Here are the three things that stood out to me rewatching this show ten years later: http://bit.ly/MMSoN10

1.      In South of Nowhere, Spencer and Ashley seem to be apart from each other longer than they are together

South of Nowhere is often applauded for putting a lesbian teenage couple at the center of the storyline back then. Indeed, I was very happy about that ten years ago. Since then, the LGBTQ community often chuckles about how little affection was actually shown between them. The infamous scene of Ashley getting kicked out of the Carlin house was confusing to me at first. Were they even doing anything?

Later, when I saw Mandy Musgrave (Ashley) and Gabrielle in an interview about Girltrash, they stated they were happy that they were finally allowed to show the same degree of affection a straight couple would in a relationship.

Watching that infamous scene again now just made me laugh because a few weeks ago I watched Anyone But Me again, which aired 2008-2012, and as was said during the Anyone But Me panel at ClexaCon, Aster and Vivian had so many kisses and bed scenes, unlike Spencer and Ashley.

Are they together now?

That was not even what stood out to me now. I remembered their relationship but watching those two now made me realize how short the time is that they actually are together. Maybe it is precisely because they hardly show affection? Many times I was wondering about the status of their relationship: is this a friend phase, is this a friends-with-benefits phase, or are they together now?

I feel they faced more struggles apart from each other than together. Also, they hardly ever had to work things out together. This is often explained as Ashley pushing everybody away. To me, it is also an excuse for not showing the nitty gritty that every lesbian relationship faces just like any other real relationship faces. It would have been a great chance to show good queer representation but this writing did not allow for that. I can hear Deadpool saying: ‘Now that’s just lazy writing.’

First date

In season three, Ashley said that the day at the beach felt like their first date. Wow. Yes, they took a break from school together. However, when Spencer confesses she is into girls, Ashley invites a couple of dudes that pass by to join them for the day. Her intentions, we learn later, were to protect Spencer from homophobic comments every single day. Still, turning that day into a big romantic gesture two seasons later just felt sad.

In short, I think it is safe to say that yes, showing that lesbian relationship was great but South of Nowhere did not delve deep enough into it nor did it allow enough time for good representation of an LGBTQ couple.

2.      With respect to Ashley’s sexual orientation, South of Nowhere was afraid to discuss the topic of bisexuality.

As I have become more aware of bisexual representation after ClexaCon, I was left wondering whether Ashley was a bisexual rather than a lesbian, as claimed.

In season one, she specifies that she had feelings for Aiden but that she is now into girls. That indicates some kind of a choice. In season three, Aiden is angry with Ashley and yells that she is a lesbian when she wants to be and straight when it is convenient.

The entire concept of bisexuality (or pansexuality!) does not seem to exist in the minds of the characters. So what if Ashley feels attracted to men and women? Why does there have to be a judgment in Aiden’s comment? After all, Aiden is portrayed as the more open-minded person, even though his male gaze is clearly shown in nearly every South of Nowhere episode. A different, more open-minded approach could have been taken.

3.      South of Nowhere addressed many issues that are still relevant today

South of Nowhere showed me a whirlwind of issues that still seem relevant today. Some of those issues are more relevant in the US than in my own country, though.

Obviously, it discussed issues within the LGBTQ community but then there were also the teenage pregnancy and miscarriage of Chelsea, Paula and Arthur’s marriage struggles, Glen’s prescription drug abuse and addiction, the high school shooting where Clay passes away, Aiden’s PTSD, the racial profiling Clay faces in LA as well as Clay’s struggles with what it means to be black (and what it means to be black in a white family).

Please keep in mind that the three seasons only consisted of episodes of 22 minutes. So many bad things seemed to be happening all the time! No wonder the creators did not have enough time to delve deeper into Ashley and Spencer’s relationship.

Ready for South of Nowhere at LOVE Fan Fest

I know this article sounds as if I do not like South of Nowhere. I do! These are just some things that stood out to me now, ten years after the context in which those episodes aired. All I can say is that I am glad that we have seen progress in queer representation.

I was stoked to see the announcement of Mandy and Gabrielle coming to Barcelona. Can you imagine my disappointment when I found out Mandy could no longer attend? It would have been so cool seeing those two talk about the show again. Still, I cannot wait to see Gabrielle discuss the show this weekend! You can follow me on my YouTube channel. As I did at ClexaCon, I hope to be able to film much material and talk to the guests.

Showing my Pride at The Hague Rainbow Festival 2018

Showing my Pride at The Hague Rainbow Festival 2018

Last weekend, the third edition of The Hague Rainbow Festival covered The Hague with rainbow flags. I joined the Pride Walk and other festivities, which I will describe in this blog. This fairly new Pride celebration in The Hague was a great combination of advocacy, sunshine, beautiful people, and fun entertainment. You can also find my vlog right below this image!

‘Showing my Pride at The Hague Rainbow Festival 2018’ Last weekend, the third edition of The Hague Rainbow Festival covered The Hague with rainbow flags. I joined the Pride Walk and other festivities, which I will describe in this blog. This fairly new Pride celebration in The Hague was a great combination of advocacy, sunshine, beautiful people, and fun entertainment. Read about it here: bit.ly/THRF2018

The third edition of The Hague Rainbow Festival

In the Netherlands, more and more cities are deciding to throw their own Pride parties in addition to the big one we have in Amsterdam every year. As a result, we now also have Utrecht Pride and The Hague Rainbow Festival. This year, it was time for the third edition of The Hague Rainbow Festival, which was held at de Grote Markt. I absolutely adore the fact that my own city now has a pride, so I just had to be there.

Increasing LGBTQ visibility in our city

De Grote Markt, as the name says, is a big location but it is still only a single spot where the pride festivities take place. I hope this pride festival will grow over the next few years, so that the festivities take place across the city, increasing LGBTQ visibility in the city.

That is why I am happy COC Haaglanden, the regional branch of our country’s biggest gay rights organization, hosted the second annual Pride Walk. With a Pride Walk, you effectively go from a static festival to a dynamic festival, raising awareness on the go. There was even talk about a canal parade like the one in Amsterdam but unfortunately, we have to wait a year (if all goes well – fingers crossed!).

Pride Walk

Look, I have been to the Dyke March in San Francisco. I know how cool and big you are. Still, walking the Pride Walk made me feel just as proud! Passing The Hague’s highlights, like the Peace Palace, with a big group of LGBTQ community members (of all ages!), a brass band, a DJ, a gigantic rainbow flag, and more rainbow flags, and seeing people cheering us on along the way was a wonderful experience. Thank you, organization and volunteers, for making Pride Walk happen!

The only thing that could have made this Pride Walk even more awesome was if my son had not decided it was time for an extended nap. Consequently, my wife and son had to miss out on Pride Walk. They joined me afterward at the Grote Markt.

The Hague Rainbow Festival

At around 4 pm, the Pride Walk arrived at the Grote Markt. The official opening of The Hague Rainbow Festival was at 5 pm. We had a few drinks and saw Sandra Khouw, our new Miss Gay Holland, being honored. After that, our son was getting hungry so we needed to head home for dinner.

After our babysitter arrived, we were able to head back and join the festival again. You know what I love about these outdoor festivals? The fact that you can just stand somewhere with a beer in your hands, listening to live music, and friends and acquaintances can just join you and your group. Those friends and acquaintances, in turn, bring their own friends and acquaintances and so on and so on. Those are the best nights, right?

The Hague Rainbow Festival last year

Miss Gay Holland

I have asked Sandra Khouw, our new Miss Gay Holland as well as organizer of the Pride Walk, how she looks back on the THRF weekend. “Last Saturday went by so quickly. People told me things like ‘I dream that it is normal to be different’ or ‘This is my family; I feel at home here.’ A big smile from ear to ear appeared on my face when I saw how proud everyone was during the walk. I got goosebumps all over my body when I heard the whole parade scream and saw how happy everybody was. This was a great day and I enjoy all the videos, photos, thank-you’s, and congratulations.”

She continues: “I was also very happy when I saw that people traveled to The Hague to support me when I was being honored as Miss Gay Holland 2018. It is truly fantastic to see how they appreciate it and are so happy that there is attention to them. That makes it worthwhile for me to dedicate my time and effort to our LGBTQ community. I love people the way they are.” Thanks, Sandra!

Happy

I really hope The Hague Rainbow Festival continues to grow and that more people will join next year. I am happy that our country is seeing more and more pride festivals. How wonderful would it be if every region in The Netherlands had at least one? Think of the sense of community that could bring!

Find The Hague Rainbow Festival on Facebook (and like Meemoeder.com’s page on Facebook as well!)

PS I’m leaving for LOVE Fan Fest in Barcelona really soon. Subscribe to my newsletter (English or Dutch) or YouTube channel to stay updated!

Love, Simon – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

Love, Simon – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews

This week in Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews, you will find the 3 things that I like about Love, Simon and the perfect mood for watching it. Being in my thirties, I am probably not the target audience for this movie. Still, l enjoyed watching it because I feel this coming-out story goes further than other coming-out stories and it had some good jokes. You can find Love, Simon on Amazon and iTunes.

‘Love, Simon – Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews’ This week in Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews, you will find the 3 things that I like about Love, Simon and the perfect mood for watching it. Being in my thirties, I am probably not the target audience for this movie but I still l enjoyed watching it: http://bit.ly/LSimon

What I liked about Love, Simon: It is a coming-out story

Yes, there are a lot of coming-out stories. Yes, our community needs more storylines than just people coming out or falling in love. I agree.

However, I also believe that in this day and age, with increasingly more hate crimes, fear, and intolerance, the teenagers of our community still need new coming-out stories, especially men. Consequently, I welcome Love, Simon with open arms, even though the protagonist is a white, cis-gender kid from American suburbs. We definitely need more diversity within the coming-out genre but Love, Simon is very much needed as well.

What I liked about Love, Simon: it is not a classic coming-out story

If Love, Simon only had a coming-out story, the audience would no longer have been engaged and moved. Coming-out stories need more material to do that. Instead of a whodunnit, Love, Simon turns into a whowasit. The twist to this story is that you know whodunnit when Simon’s emails were made public but you do not know whowasit when Blue signed his emails. The quest for Blue makes it interesting. At times, if you recognize the same disappointments from your younger years, the quest also makes this movie slightly painful to watch.

What I liked about Love, Simon: the protagonist is not perfect

Another thing that I liked about Love, Simon was that Simon was not perfect. You were not feeling sorry for him the entire time simply because he had a hard time coming to terms with his sexual orientation. I do not want to give away any spoilers but trying to hide the fact that he is gay, he did mean things to his friends behind their backs, putting his interests before those of his friends.

In addition, there is one other gay kid in his school, called Ethan. Simon admits he was not seeking contact with him because he felt they were not the same, assuming that Ethan would probably fall for him. Simon gets a reality check when Ethan says that Simon’s attire is not really what does it for him either…

So, Simon had to learn a few things about tolerance and empathy himself, which made this coming-out story enjoyable for me to watch.

The perfect mood for watching Love, Simon

If you are not in your teenage years anymore, you might be somewhat apprehensive about watching this movie. Will you be able to relate and enjoy yourself? From experience, I can tell you that you can. My wife and I both laughed quite a few times as there were some really nice jokes. Also, certain situations were so awkward that we could not help but laugh.

Fun fact: One of my contact lenses fell out right before the movie started. So, I had to watch it like that. Even under these circumstances, I completely enjoyed myself!

Want to watch or read the story?

As I said, you can watch Love, Simon on Amazon and iTunes. The movie is based on the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which you can find on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Rakuten Kobo, Book Depository, Audible, and Bol.com.

You might also enjoy my other two episodes of the Short & Sweet LGBTQ Movie Reviews: Becks and Nobody Famous.

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