Tag: LGBTQ (page 1 of 5)

I’ve been nominated for an LGBT+ award in The Hague!

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. 

If you want to read the Dutch version of this blog post, you can find it here.

‘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. Here, I explain what the award means, what the process is like, and what being nominated means to me: http://bit.ly/JohnBlankenstein2019EN

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

The 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 Hague.

The jury 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.

Not many 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!

Love,

Greetje den Holder

BiPositive Podcast Interviewed Me. This is What We Talked About!

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 Interviewed Me. This is What We Talked About!’ I was invited for an episode of BiPositive Podcast. In this blog post, I highlight some of the subjects we discussed, such as lesbian parenting and feeling safe as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I also list where you can listen to the episode: http://bit.ly/BiPositive

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.

Momma’s boy

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!

ClexaCon London Friday Adventures

ClexaCon London Friday Adventures

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.

‘ClexaCon London Friday Adventures’ 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! I added a vlog, so you can watch everything as well: http://bit.ly/CCUKFriday

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?

PS here are my interviews with Kat Barrell, Natasha, Elise & AnnieJamie Clayton, the team behind I Can’t Think Straight, Nicole Pacent, Mandahla Rose,  the writer and producer of Different for Girls, and the directors of ClexaCon.

A Girl’s Band/Una Banda de Chicas: A Feminist Take on Argentina’s Music Scene

A Girl’s Band/Una Banda de Chicas: A Feminist Take on Argentina’s Music Scene

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will take place January 23-February 3, 2019 and one of the LGBTQ movies it is showing is A Girl’s Band or Una Banda de Chicas. I have seen a screener of it, which means that I can tell you all about it. If you are looking for good LGBTQ movie tips for IFFR or a good LGBTQ movie tip in general, this blog post might be something for you. Below, I explain what A Girl’s Band is about and what I liked about this music documentary.

‘A Girl’s Band/Una Banda de Chicas: A Feminist Take on Argentina's Music Scene’ One of the LGBTQ movies IFFR is showing is A Girl’s Band or Una Banda de Chicas. I have seen a screener of it, which means that I can tell you all about it. If you are looking for good LGBTQ movie tips for IFFR or a good LGBTQ movie tip in general, this blog post might be something for you: http://bit.ly/AGirlsBand

Synopsis of A Girl’s Band

For six years, Marilina Giménez rocked the bass guitar in Yilet, a three-woman band in Argentina. But like female musicians everywhere, she was constantly confronted with a male-dominated, often sexist industry. In this documentary, she probes Argentina’s music scene with her camera and many pertinent questions. Why are there so few female superstars who write their own music? Why is it almost obligatory to look a certain way? Has the position of female musicians improved in recent decades?

Giménez moves through Buenos Aires by night, filming female artists (many of whom operate underground) attracting sell-out crowds with punk rock, reggaeton, pop or electronic music. She films them behind the scenes and in full glory on stage and listens to their experiences. As diverse as these women are, their stories of the sexism, inequality, and aggression they face are equally painful – whether they have dreadlocks, twerk in a G-string or pose in hipster attire.

What I like about A Girl’s Band: the introduction to Argentina’s music scene

Actually, the first thing that I like about A Girl’s Band is a very simple thing. It introduced me to the Argentinian music scene. I don’t know anything about it, so to see a diverse sample of this country’s music was highly entertaining and an exciting learning experience. Because most of the bands are underground bands, I am curious to know what mainstream is in Argentina and what role the underground music scene plays in Argentina.

What I like about A Girl’s Band: the feminist take on Argentina’s music scene

I think Giménez has an interesting take on her country’s music scene. She was part of it for years, and she now takes a step back to review it through the camera lens (and allows us to go on that journey with her). As a result, she shows a good understanding of what is honestly going on in Argentina’s music scene for women, and she has the connections to tell the whole story. That insider perspective makes you want to listen.

I was quite blown away by the gender inequality in Argentina’s music scene. It made me compare Argentina’s music scene to the Dutch music scene. I have no inside knowledge of our music scene, but I do know that the music scene is just one part of a bigger whole: our culture. If I compare Argentina and The Netherlands, I think Argentina has a more significant gender inequality. This must be reflected in the music scene as well because I simply cannot imagine the things happening in this documentary happening in my country too. Yes, the Dutch music industry is a man’s world too but not to the same extent.

I feel bad for these women just trying to follow their dreams and passion and barely surviving. The bravery they show is fantastic. I think that courage combined with good music is what made this documentary a fun watch.

What I like about A Girl’s Band: the diverse range of LGBTQ women

Look, whenever you have a big group of strong women, it is only natural that a part of those women is LGBTQ, amirite? This documentary shows a diverse range of LGBTQ women. There are differences in how they identify and how they look and dress. There are individuals, couples, and families. To me, this type of representation is beautiful!

One thing A Girl’s Band could have done better

If I must make a statement on something this movie can improve, it is the following. I noticed halfway watching the movie that I was missing a sense of direction. Why am I watching band after band after band play and introduce themselves? What do these band presentations mean? I mean, they are cool, but is this documentary simply a list of women in bands sharing their experiences?

Then, at the end of the documentary, there is an event that brings all these bands together. I won’t give away what it is. You see many familiar faces, and you see that many of them know each other. It is the moment the storyline of the documentary comes together.

I just wish I had known this a little earlier. In the beginning, I was trying to invest in the first bands, thinking we’d see more of their journey. However, by the time the fourth band was introduced, I did not feel like paying close attention anymore because I knew we would not establish a deeper connection. Therefore, a more evident storyline would have led me through these introductions better.

Where can you watch A Girl’s Band?

As mentioned, you can watch A Girl’s Band at IFFR, so check out their website for the schedule. However, if you are not close to Rotterdam January 23-February 3, you might want other options.

The best thing you can do is follow them on social media. There, they will tell you at what other film festivals the documentary will be screened. Here are their Instagram and Facebook pages. Another option is watching their Vimeo page since it has the trailer on it. They might upload their movie there after a festival run.

Want more tips on what to watch? How about The DateDifferent for Girls or Anne+? Subscribe to my YouTube channel to hear my suggestions the moment they are uploaded!

The Date: The New Lesbian Short Film You’d Hate to Miss

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.

‘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: http://bit.ly/TheDateLesFilm

Biased

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.

Want more tips on what to watch? How about Different for Girls or Anne+? Subscribe to my YouTube channel to hear my tips the moment they are uploaded!

Mandahla Rose Visited the ClexaCon London Press Room

Mandahla Rose Visited the ClexaCon London Press Room

On the final day of ClexaCon London, Mandahla Rose and Nicole Pacent visited the press room together. They are in Passage together, which will come out in 2019. They talked about other projects they have been working on, about queer and non-queer actors playing queer characters, and about mental health. Because the interview was so long, I have divided into two parts. Below, you will find Mandahla’s part and here, you will find Nicole’s part.

You can also find a video of the full interview here.

‘Mandahla Rose Visited the ClexaCon London Press Room’ On the final day of ClexaCon London, Mandahla Rose and Nicole Pacent visted the press room together. They are in Passage together, which will come out in 2019. They talked about other projects they have been working on, about queer and non-queer actors playing queer characters, and about mental health. Because the interview was so long, I have divided into two parts. This is Mandahla’s part: http://bit.ly/MandahlaRoseCCUK

Me: Mandahla Rose, you just said that you still had so much more to say in your panel. What were some of the things you wanted to talk about?

Mandahla Rose: It was about mental health. The question was about how people reach out to you. So, I have been reached out to by a number of people but one person in particular. This is a trigger warning. She heard me speak about my own vulnerable story, how I tried to take my own life, and it ended up saving her life. To me, if this platform is something that I can be on that can just save one life, then I am doing the right job.

Unfortunately, Tessa did pass away. Not by her own hand but it was because she ended up having a heart defect. So, the wonderful thing that I can take from that is that she could have gone from darkness and sadness in her heart. But what I ended up doing by speaking my truth is actually allowing her to go ask for help, let her family and friends know that she needed help.

She actually got that help. She met someone in care and ended up marrying and moving to Paris. And she had this beautiful, just six months of a new life where she has light and love in her heart. Unfortunately, she did leave but she left with that and love in her heart. So, this platform that I find myself on is wonderful for that reason. If just one life, that is life enough.

On your panels, you two did not get the chance to talk much about your upcoming projects. What would you like to say about them now?

Mandahla Rose: Let’s first talk about Passage because we are both in Passage. Do you want to…?

Nicole Pacent: You are a bigger part of Passage so why don’t you talk about it?

Mandahla Rose: I play agent Diana Atwell, a Caelus agent. It is Sci-Fi and it is kind of, I do not want to give it away, I can’t… It is going to be… I am very excited about it. I did spend a day at the graveyard running around, which was a lot of fun, with guns and everything.

My other project is BIFL. I won’t tell you what that stands for. Does it stand for anything? We don’t know. Find out. I play Sarah, they/them/their, ace lesbian. It is a lot about representation. It is an ensemble cast so there are six of us. Each of us has our own stories to tell. So that one was really exciting as well.

Forever Not Maybe

Forever Not Maybe will be coming out next year. It was originally La Douleur Exquise, a web series that ended up… Shot the first episode in December 2015, which was a while ago but that is the actual reason for me moving to LA in the first place. We were actually able to get the funds to turn it into a feature film. So, now called Forever Not Maybe because good luck pronouncing La Douleur Exquise. So, that one will be coming out next year as well.

Crazy Bitches season 2, I play Pandora, a 20-something YouTuber. I am a little baby lesbian in it, who has a bit of a crush on Guinevere Turner’s character. Then, Guinevere and I are in a series called Alice & Iza, which will be coming out soon. It is based on a one-night stand, which is a little bit of fun, on Tello.

Nicole, you have said on a panel that you have feelings about how important it is for openly queer actors to be playing queer characters. Would you mind going into that a little bit more?

[Nicole Pacent discusses this question. Then, Mandahla Rose adds her comment.]

Mandahla Rose: I think there is a fine line because I can see the “straight” world be like “Well, if you think queer actors should be playing queer characters, then straight people should only be playing straight characters.

Nicole Pacent: Yes, it does work opposite.

Mandahla Rose: It does. But in saying that, we are more than our sexuality. I can play a straight person and a queer person. It is still a talent. It is the talent we should be looking at, not the sexuality. But, again, I really love when… I mean, it is really heart-warming when queer actors are playing queer characters because the straight guys get them all the time. The straight people get everything.

Me: I was at the table reading of Passage. To me, the question is: does the Sci-Fi aspect of it bring more difficulties to shooting it?

Nicole Pacent: Well, we are not on the production side of it. It did not make it more difficult for us as actors.

Mandahla Rose: No, I got a plasma gun and I was really happy with that.

Nicole Pacent: Is it going to take more effects and camera tricks for them? Yes. We definitely were party to that, we could see that happening but luckily, I got to get home and be like “Bye!”

Make sure you follow Nicole and Mandahla on social media! Their handles are @NicolePacent and @TwiistedRose on Twitter and Instagram.

PS here are my interviews with Kat BarrellNatasha, Elise & AnnieJamie Clayton, the team behind I Can’t Think Straight, the writer and producer of Different for Girls, and the directors of ClexaCon.

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