I’ve been nominated for an
LGBT+ award in The Hague!
I’m so happy I can finally share it with you! I’ve been nominated for the John Blankenstein Prijs 2019 with Meemoeder.com! This is an LGBT+ award in my city of The Hague. It’s such an honor, and I would like to thank everyone who has recommended me as a candidate. Below, I will explain what the award means, what the process is like, and what being nominated means to me.
What is this LGBT+ award called John Blankenstein Prijs 2019?
The Municipality of The Hague initiated the John Blankenstein Prijs in 2009. This annual LGBT+ emancipation award was created to highlight and stimulate initiatives that contribute to the LGBT+ emancipation. The award is named after the late referee John Blankenstein. The former referee openly came out and has done a lot for LGBT+ people in sports and society. That is why his sister Karin founded the John Blankenstein Foundation in 2008, which advocates acceptance of the LGBT+ community in sports.
With the annual granting of the John Blankenstein Prijs, the Municipality of The Hague marks the importance of opening up about LGBT+ issues and provides a platform for LGBT+ initiatives. Anyone who contributes to this is eligible for the award. COC Haaglanden is in charge of the organization of the award, which is the local chapter of our country’s biggest advocacy organization.
Ceremony John Blankenstein Prijs 2019
ceremony is this Wednesday evening. Out of the twenty-two candidates, eleven
candidates were nominated. I am one of those final eleven nominees. It is a
great honor for me to be on this beautiful list of LGBT+ initiatives from The
consists of Karin Blankenstein, Kasia Oberc, and Winston van Niel. From these
eleven nominees, they have already selected a top three. This top three and the
final winner will be announced by alderman Bert van Alphen during the ceremony.
That’s pretty exciting!
The winner will receive an amount of €2,500 that should benefit the promotion of LGBT+ emancipation. Moreover, the winner can count on publicity for a whole year as an ambassador. I don’t dare to dream about what I could do with that prize money and publicity. That could really contribute to the quality and growth of my website and YouTube channel, which in turn would help in how I reach LGBT+ people worldwide. However, with ten other beautiful initiatives, there’s not a high probability 😉
Recognition with this LGBT+ award
It hasn’t been easy, especially last year, to keep Meemoeder.com’s website and YouTube channel running, to publish blogs in Dutch that are of use to (future) lesbian parents, and to publish blogs, vlogs, and interviews in English about queer representation in media. Maybe that’s why it feels so good that I get this recognition at the end of 2019. I feel supported by the people who nominated me as a candidate.
people in The Hague know what I do. I mainly reach national and international LGBT+
people. That’s what makes this nomination so special to me; it’s an LGBT+ award
in my own city. Whether I win or not, I want everyone to know how special it
feels and how grateful I am!
The most magical moment of Love Fan Fest 2019 for me was the interview I had with Ana Paula Lima, Luciana Bollina, and Germana Belo of RED. This is the first part of the interview. In the second part of this interview, we discussed season four and five, the shooting style of RED, and how they do not pick sides when it comes to their characters’ relationship. Or, they might. Below, the questions and answers of this RED webseries interview LFF2019 have been written down, but you can also watch the video under this image.
RED webseries interview LFF2019: season four
were still talking about season four, and I thought it was so well done. I
really felt the hurt while watching it grow apart. I had a hard time watching
that relationship coming to an end. For me, the most heartbreaking to watch was
when your character [speaking to Ana] was actually becoming more uncomfortable
with the relationship and who she was becoming, but you didn’t say anything. Those
scenes where you did not say anything, and you just watched, those are so
powerful. I was wondering, how did you prepare for those?”
Lima: “We have been doing this for such a long time, like for five years. Each
year, I get to know Liz better. I think she has changed a lot and she changed
me as well. It’s funny because it’s like I have all those feelings with me since
the first season. She is a character that struggles all the time with what her
feelings are and how she should deal with that. So yeah, I think it comes
organically because of her, you know?”
more I get to know her, and why she acts like this, it’s what feeds me to put
this feeling in the scene. I’m like: okay, she thinks like this and she thinks
like this because of this. Sometimes, I create a story for myself that Germana
didn’t give to me. What happened to her when she was a child? Who is her mom?
Who is her dad? How does she feel when she has a lot of people around her? Does
she feel awkward or not awkward, you know? This feeds me a lot.”
RED webseries interview LFF2019: finally watching season four
you both feel differently after reading the script for season four and finally
watching it on screen?”
Bollina: “It’s always a surprise because Fernando doesn’t let us see anything.
Nothing! It’s ergh. Now, we are used to it, but in the first season, I was like:
‘Why Fernando? Come on, let me see this.’ ‘No. Just when I finish it.’ So,
seven months later, we can see it. It’s a really good surprise, actually.”
we trust each other so much. That’s what is beautiful because then we can
really jump to the characters, and I think it’s amazing when I watch. Nowadays,
I don’t want to watch. I want to be surprised, and I always do this. So, that’s
what I think is amazing; we really trust each other to work like this. It’s special.”
RED webseries interview LFF2019: handheld camera
thing that makes RED unique to me is the way it is shot. You can tell it’s
often done with a handheld camera. I don’t know what the technique is. Either the
camera is really close to your face, or it’s really zoomed in. Did you have to
get used to that in the beginning? Was it awkward, or was it fine?”
“It was very funny at the beginning. Yeah. We were on the bed, and Fernando was
like here [gestures]. One foot here, one foot there and the camera like here [gestures].
Fernando was like this [imitates]. And Ana and I had to like [mimics making
out]. It was very funny.”
“We had one lens. So, to do a close-up, he [shows the camera in Luciana’s
face]. They would have to be sexy and feel so into it and Fernando, well, it
was almost like a threesome.”
“It was really, really funny. But Fernando is a very serious man. So, we would
laugh, and Fernando would be like [serious voice] ‘Okay.’ Okay, breathe,
breathe. Because I would start laughing and he would be like [serious voice
again] ‘Okay, next scene.’”
RED webseries interview LFF2019: season five
Me: “Can we
talk about season five, or is it too early?
we can talk, yeah! For me, what is special in this season is that we get to
know the characters by themselves. How is Liz just with Liz? How is Mel being Mel?
It is not about relationships just with each other. It’s the relationships they
have with themselves. What are they struggling with, and why? And that’s what
makes it special because our time to tell the story is so short that sometimes,
we miss these details. So, this season five is special to me for this. We don’t
miss this; it’s about this.”
RED webseries interview LFF2019: Victoria
next question is not a question. I’m just going to say something, and then you
can respond. It’s a name: Victoria.”
is Victoria? Tell me!”
amazing friend, co-working friend. Bela is the best, a really, really great
know, there’s always an ex. So, it’s a representative character that the past
is there and something that was special. So, I think it was a very interesting
conflict between them. But I have my opinion.”
I really don’t understand Liz. No, I get the struggle but oh my God, tell me.
All the silence is killing me, killing Mel. As an audience, I was like: ‘Oh
Liz, tell her and fix it. That’s okay. She didn’t love her.’”
Ana: “And I
was like, ‘Well if she didn’t love her, why?’ But we don’t take sides. We don’t
did you write Victoria into the story?”
“We imagined Mel’s ex in the first season, and we planned to bring her, maybe
not exactly how it turned out to be. But we decided that if we got to season
three or four, we had this background story for Mel that included an ex.”
what I think was interesting was that she didn’t come in to be between them. What
you see and the reason why they grow apart was not because of Victoria. It was
mostly because of Liz’ issues with the relationship and insecurities, and how
she could no longer recognize herself in that relationship. I think Mel didn’t give any indication that she
would be interested in anything with Victoria since the beginning. Maybe it was
a threat for Liz, but she was not introduced like that. The same way Rafaela was
not introduced as a threat to Mel. So, we have two exes, but they were not
there to be between them. What tore them apart was just what was going on in
the relationship and not people outside of it.”
more mature like that, right?”
and I think that if they get to the point where they have a mature
relationship, they would gladly accept each other’s exes, as a part of their
lives. It wouldn’t be a problem.”
RED webseries interview LFF2019: mother-daughter relationship
Me: “I think
season five has two strong concepts in it. The mother-daughter relationship, that’s
really tough. It’s always in life; it has so many dimensions. How did you
prepare for that? How did that come across for you?”
“That was really hard because that relationship is so real life. Mel just gets
insecure around her mother. In season five, you will see; it gets deeper. You
can see the love; it’s not just demanding things and ‘you don’t do this or do
this.’ It’s a real relationship. It’s my opinion that Mel really cares about
her mother and her opinion, and so she’s always like ‘Oh my God.’ So, it’s very
interesting. The mother of Mel will be deeper in season five.”
In my final question, I mention two concepts. I did not want to mention the other one because I do not want to spoil too much for people who have not watched all the episodes yet. You can watch all of RED on Vimeo. Also, you can enjoy these other videos of Love Fan Fest 2019.
Next week, I will publish the second part of the interview. There, we talk about season 4 and 5 in more detail. In the meantime, you can enjoy these other videos and blog posts about Love Fan Fest 2019.
June 29, 2019, marked the official opening of the second edition of Love Fan Fest. On Love Fan Fest 2019 Saturday, I picked up my press pass, visited the press interview and photoshoot, interviewed RED, watched a World Cup match, and went to most of the panels. You can read all about it in this blog post, or you can watch the vlog I made of this day. You can find it below this image.
Love Fan Fest 2019 Saturday started with a press interview and photoshoot
At 8:15 am,
I was already at the location to pick up my press pass. Unlike last year,
I received it immediately. All I had to do now was wait 45 minutes for the
press interview and photoshoot to start. I walked around a bit and said hi to the
people I know.
interview was interesting because all the actors were there at the same time.
So, it’s not like you can ask every single actor a question. I decided to ask a
World Cup question because that way, every actor had a chance to respond (and I
knew Elise would).
finished my question, nobody was very actively trying to take my microphone
from me. That was odd. Usually, we’re in a room with a bunch of people who want
to ask questions. I guess most of the press members were photographers this time?
I think four-five people asked a question, so we were done rather quickly. That
meant some of us, including me, asked a second question.
followed, so I was able to make some BTS from that moment as well.
Love Fan Fest 2019 Saturday: opening
press moment, it was time for everybody to enter the main panel hall and find
their numbered seats. This is always such an energetic moment because everybody
is still fresh, excited for the day, nervous, emotional, happy to see familiar
faces, and so much more.
unique about LFF is that they have an opening and a closing of the con. They
can do this because they have a reasonable number of guests (as opposed to the
huge list of ClexaCon) and only one panel room. It’s funny because the guests never
seem to know what they are doing on stage. They receive their applause, say hi,
and then try to leave. Then, it gets a bit awkward because some of them are
told to leave, and the guests who are on the first panel are told to stay. Everybody
just laughs about it.
have loved to stay for the first panel, but I wanted to edit the press
interview and give that to my YouTube subscribers immediately. As a result, I
had to leave after the first panel. I was allowed to edit in a friend’s hotel
room, which was super nice of her.
video was converting, I went downstairs again to visit Melanie’s panel. After a
few minutes, I had to leave again to work on the video. I missed the Hollstein
panel, but after 2.5 hours, the video was available for my subscribers. If I may
believe the comments, they appreciated the gift 😉
In the hour
lunch break, I visited a street with shops nearby. The food at the location isn’t
all that, unfortunately. I enjoyed a nice lunch by myself, went back to the
location, and met up with some friends.
Love Fan Fest 2019 Saturday: afternoon program
one-hour lunch break, it was time for the LGBT Fans Deserve Better panel. They
experienced some technical difficulties, but it was fixed later on, thankfully.
At 3 pm, the World Cup match between the Netherlands and Italy started, so I
found some fellow Dutchies in the lobby to watch the match with.
To be honest,
it was a nice distraction because I was getting nervous about my interview with
RED. I absolutely love the web
series and ehm; these women are gorgeous, so yeah… My nerves were definitely
starting to kick in.
Interview with RED
As always, it
turned out I had nothing to be nervous about. We had a really good talk. I got
to ask questions about the beginning of the show, about their new season (you can now watch season 5,
which I highly recommend), and a few other things. We ended up talking for 22 whole
minutes! Wow. After the interview, I was also able to share a few personal
words of appreciation. All in all, this was the most magical moment of LFF2019
I will divide
the interview into two parts and upload these two videos in a few weeks. Subscribe to my channel to watch
them the moment they come out!
I visited their panel too.
Love Fan Fest 2019 Saturday: Word Cup and panels
panel, I ran to the lobby to watch the final minutes of the match and cheer
with the other Dutchies after our victory. After that, I ran back to the panel
room to catch a few minutes of the panel with Rhiannon, Ivana, and Isabella.
You know you will have fun when Isabella is on a panel, and indeed, she made
the room laugh quite a few times.
ended with the Wayhaught panel, which drew a big crowd. After that, I didn’t really
know what to do. All the guests were signing autographs, so I chatted with some
people. I ended up watching the second World Cup match of the day as well. It
was just fun to hang around in the lobby with all the people you hardly ever
get to see in real life.
Some tapas near
my pension were calling my name, so I had to give in and eat. I was quite
relaxed because the next day would start much later for me. Watching the
footage I shot that day made me so incredibly happy!
BiPositive Podcast Interviewed Me. This is What We Talked About!
You may know that I occasionally get to interview interesting LGBT+ people and allies on my international con trips. Well, a while back, I was interviewed myself, and that was a refreshing experience. It is funny to be on the other side. Mari and MD invited me for an episode of BiPositive Podcast. Thanks for the invite and the relaxed conversation!
Fun fact: we are all living in The Hague, and we were all at ClexaCon London, but we didn’t know about each other. We found out about it on social media afterward. So, this is the first time we met!
In this blog post, I will highlight some of the subjects we discussed. As we talked for about an hour, this is only a small part, and you should definitely listen to the entire episode! You can follow BiPositive Podcast on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can listen to the episode on a bunch of websites, including iTunes and SoundCloud.
BiPositive Podcast: the start of Meemoeder.com
I think most of my followers abroad know me from my LGBT+ con trips but have no idea what meemoeder stands for and why my website is called this way. It was indeed the first question I was asked.
Simply put, meemoeder is the word the Dutch government gives the non-biological mom of a married lesbian couple that has a kid together. When my wife was pregnant, I was looking for experiences from other lesbian moms, but I could not find any. I could only find info from the government and lawyers. Also, at almost every parenting blog, I was addressed as a father, which started to bug me after a while.
So, I started to describe my own experience (in Dutch) so that others would not end up in the same situation as me. This is my way of giving back to the LGBT+ community. I am now one of the first search results, which means others can find me easily.
I noticed I always somehow ended up talking about movies as they are one of my passions. Then, I saw videos of the first ClexaCon edition on YouTube, and I received a press pass for the second edition. That’s how this whole English version of my website and my YouTube channel came into existence. Funny how things sometimes go, right?!
BiPositive Podcast: being a lesbian parent among other parents
Mari and MD wanted to know how it feels to be a lesbian parent among other parents. Thankfully, most of the time, there is no difference. I do remember two incidents when things were different for me.
One funny situation occurred at Schiphol Airport when we were taking a trip to the U.S. and Canada when our son was eleven months old. We did not even think about bringing his birth certificate. That caused some problems when we tried to leave The Netherlands.
The border control told us that they could not see if he was our baby. We were finally allowed to go on our trip by saying he has my wife’s looks and my last name, and that we were both wearing the same wedding rings. We were pretty scared when we crossed the American-Canadian border that trip, but nothing happened, fortunately.
One not so funny situation occurred a while back. I had an appointment somewhere and what often happens during such an appointment, is that you start talking about your family. You know the type of appointments, like at the hairdresser.
This woman started asking how we got our son, and I explained. Then, she started calling him my wife’s son, and I constantly had to say ‘our son.’ And it’s not like you can leave the appointment halfway through, so it’s just awkward all around.
I don’t know why but I started showing her pictures. Then, she started saying things like: “Oh yes, he really looks like her. Oh, that’s really a momma’s boy.” It hurt me, but I still have no idea how to respond. I did turn it into a Dutch blog post.
BiPositive Podcast: social stigma
Mari and MD also wondered if we were worried about a social stigma for our kid before my wife became pregnant. I answered that we still are. I guess we’ll find out when he goes to school.
Right now, at his daycare center, it is no problem at all because toddlers don’t know any better. We are hopeful that things are better for him now than they were for me growing up. I think there is a change in how kids deal with homosexuality nowadays. Therefore, we hope his teenage years will be okay.
The one thing that we try to teach him is confidence. If you have confidence, you can speak up or fight back when something bad happens. If nothing bad happens, well great, you have confidence.
Our episode of BiPositive Podcast
I focused on the lesbian parenting part in this blog post as it is something I rarely talk about on the English version of my website. I thought it would be nice to give you my ideas on this topic for a change. We talked about plenty of other topics. As Mari and MD are from Ukraine and France, we talked about the differences in our cultures and in how safe we feel being queer. Naturally, ClexaCon and queer representation in media came up. SO, I encourage you to go to iTunes or SoundCloud and to listen to our episode of BiPositive Podcast!
As you may know, I visited ClexaCon London in November last year. I have been publishing the interviews of the press room but I have not had the time yet to write down everything about my experience there. So, here are all my ClexaCon London Friday adventures! Below this image, you can also find my vlog.
Flight to London
November 1, I flew to London for ClexaCon’s first international pop-up event. The official event was on Saturday and Sunday but since I know that ClexaCon always has fun activities for us before the event, I flew in a little early. That Thursday, I walked around London a bit and enjoyed the view from Tate Modern.
The next day, I wanted to vlog at the ClexaCon London Friday activities. There was a bus tour but since I have visited London more than once, I did not buy a ticket for it. Still, I wanted to see if I knew some participants and I wanted to see how excited everybody was for the event.
Well, I didn’t. I could not find the bus. I did not know the official meeting point, so I just wandered around Trafalgar Square until I saw some queer people near a bus. It turned out it was somewhere near that square. Hashtag fail.
ClexaCon London Friday activities: screening of I Can’t Think Straight
I visited the British Museum before I headed to the Prince Charles Cinema, where I Can’t Think Straight was screened. It was the movie’s tenth anniversary.
I did not want to visit the actual screening though as I had recently watched the movie. I was told I could pick up my press pass there. Unfortunately, as I expected, the press passes weren’t there. I already thought it sounded kind of random. One of the organizers told me that they had thought about it but decided not to. Oh well, I was planning on going to the badge pick-up party later that night anyway.
I was kind of nervous going to the screening if I’m honest. I knew I would see some of you there. My YouTube channel has received quite some attention after visiting Love Fan Fest, so I didn’t know how people would react. And when you’re already nervous, things seem way worse than they really are, right? I saw some familiar faces and some new ones. Sorry if I was being weird, I just felt like a lot of eyes were watching me. It was probably imaginary 😉 At that point, I wished I had not been so active on the relevant hashtags…
Badge pick-up party
I arrived at the badge pick-up party a little late. That was great though because now, I was able to pick up the press pass immediately. I did not have to wait in line for a long time. I saw some people I already knew, some people I met at the screening, and some new people.
Mandahla Rose and Nicole Pacent hung out at the party as well. I was wondering if they recognized me from ClexaCon Vegas because, you know, they meet so many people at these events. Turns out they did.
Historic moment: I met Emma. Who? She co-wrote and directed the lesbian short film The Date (get your copy!). We met online a few weeks earlier and this Friday evening, we finally met in real life. Loved talking to her! Also, she now adds her magic to my videos. See what an event like ClexaCon can do for our community?
The Date: The New Lesbian Short Film You’d Hate to Miss
I watched a new lesbian short film called The Date and I can’t wait to share with you how awesome it is and how soon you should watch it. It is the happy modern love story we have been waiting for. I have seen many short films this past year but none of them made me feel as happy as this one did.
Okay, I am coming out right from the start: I am biased. Writer and director Emma contacted me online to talk about the movie. We had some fun conversations and were able to meet at ClexaCon London. I now call her my friend and naturally, you want your friends to succeed. So, there you go, that is my bias.
However, do you know how sometimes friends ask you to share something and you’re not really a fan but you share it anyway because that person is your friend? Well, that was completely not the case with this film, fortunately! I tweeted about the Indiegogo campaign quite a few times and was happy to see the movie got funded 113%.
The reason I wanted this crowdfunding campaign to succeed is that I was able to receive a sneak peek of some footage and I could immediately tell it was the good stuff. I knew this short was going to be of good quality if they just had the funds. Can you imagine how nervous I was when I was finally able to watch it?!
By the way, it is not just Emma’s work. Hansof Waller was a great help writing the script.
The Date’s promise to you
“The Date is the story of two women looking for love in the dating world of the 21st century.
Lizzy and Olivia might be total opposites when it comes to careers and dress sense BUT they do have one thing in common… They both swiped ‘right’ on each other. After swiping right, the two hit it off almost immediately but there’s still one thing left to do: meet.
In this day and age, where meeting new people happens mostly online, we wanted to write a story about the good relationships that come from online dating.
Our aim is to also have real interviews at the end, with couples who have met on dating apps and are the happiest they’ve ever been.”
The first thing I liked about The Date: the dialogues
The dialogues in this short film are sooooo good. You know how some short films try to be as artistic as possible and make the characters say these really special lines to showcase how intellectual the creators are? That is not the case in The Date.
The Date shows the date you can have. The characters make the jokes you would make. And they have the exact same insecurities as you and me. Is this next date going to be as bad as the previous one? Will she be who she says she is? Will she be a serial killer? Am I going to be stood up?
Nope. This is a happy movie. You know, the one we do not always get.
The second thing I liked about The Date: the chemistry
What can I say about their chemistry? You will feel it. Big time. And you will want them to end up together.
The third thing I liked about The Date: the happy feelings
The Date reminds me of when my wife and I just started dating. We often went clubbing and loved dancing together. So, seeing their first date start with dinner and end with dancing brought back so many good memories.
My wife and I actually watched this movie together. I sometimes looked at her to see what she thought of the movie and she had happiness written all over her face. She even grabbed my hand at one point. That is how this movie will make you feel.
By the way, her review of The Date: “Is this it?! I hate short films. I want to see the rest of the story!” 😉 I think that if you have accomplished that as a short film, you did something right. Over the past year, I have seen some shorts that I wished had been shorter, so…
The fourth thing I liked about The Date: the editing
The editing tells you there is a highly skilled team behind this movie. I do not want to give anything away but the keyword here is delayed gratification. You will get it when you watch it.
The fifth thing I liked about The Date: the credits
So, the credits actually play an important part in this movie. The movie is 9.5 minutes long and the credits are six minutes long.
You will want to stick around for those six minutes because, in these credits, you will watch videos of real couples who met online. They tell you how they met and how happy they are.
How brilliant is it to have actual people from our community participate in the project?! I greatly appreciated it and I loved seeing some familiar faces and names. It really takes a village to make such a project happen!
Where can you watch The Date?
Because the movie had a successful Indiegogo campaign, that page will continue to be open. That means you can still buy the perks that will grant you access to the movie before release. This way, you can support their project AND you will have the movie ASAP. Sounds like a good plan to me!
In addition, their plan is to make a festival run before releasing the movie to the public. That means that if you want to see this movie ASAP, you will have to visit a film festival near you that will show this movie. Consequently, it would be wise to follow the movie on social media to see when and where this will happen. This is their Twitter account and their Instagram page.
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