Since Friday 10 June, the Pride Photo exhibition has been in Almere and right at the opening there was a commotion. A photo showing the partially covered genitals of a man (after transition) was displayed frontally at the bus station crossing. It was quickly moved to another spot, so that people were not immediately confronted with this photo when they stepped off the bus.
I don't see the fact that the images were placed in a different order as a problem. However, the reaction of Almere's alderman De Jonge, who is responsible for integration, diversity and inclusion in Almere, is.
The alderman thinks that some of these pictures belong in the bedroom and not in a public exhibition. Not only does she seem to have little understanding of art, but also of inclusion and diversity. After all, the purpose of art is to get people to talk to each other about subjects that are difficult to discuss. The viewer is not asked to like or dislike something, but to look at and think about the vision of the maker.
The aim of the Pride Photo exhibition is to counter the stereotypes surrounding gender and sexuality and to give more visibility to the diversity of people. The organisation does this with an exhibition, shot by national and international photographers. Each image is accompanied by the story of the people in the photo. The exhibition has already been held in several cities. Since this week, also in Almere Centrum behind the railway station.
Through these artistic photos, people are encouraged to learn more about the world of the LGBT+ community and the issues they are struggling with. It offers our residents an opportunity to start a conversation with each other. To empathise with what they don't know yet. In addition, the exhibition helps people who struggle with issues such as gender and/or sexuality. It shows them that they are not alone and supports them with visibility and pride.
It is precisely because of this that these photos do not belong in the bedroom. The alderman should actually visit the exhibition on a daily basis in order to discuss it with visitors. But instead, with her remark, she undermines the essence of the exhibition. That is embarrassing. Certainly because three days later those very images are smeared. But it shows all the more why this exhibition is so important. That's why I call on the alderman to enter into a conversation with people who walk by and people who are struggling with these major issues. Ask for instance, what a remark like that from an alderman for Diversity and Inclusion does to them.