Utrecht Ballroom Scene was forced to remove Palestinian flag by Utrecht Pride organisation

On June 1st 2024, we participated with the Utrecht Ballroom Scene in the Utrecht Pride Boat Parade. We were selected by the Utrecht Pride organisation as boat number one, leading the parade. To make this happen, we worked together with VAIN Beauty for sponsoring. We decided to make a statement about the ongoing genocide in Occupied Palestine, by waving the Palestinian flag and showing a statement sign that said “No Pride In Genocide”. Unfortunately shortly after our boat had departed, we were forced to remove the flag and sign by the Utrecht Pride organisation. After more than 2 weeks of following up with them, we still don’t know why. We personally believe that whilst our experiences as a marginalised community are different from the 75-year oppression of Palestinians living under the occupation, we should be expressing our solidarity boldly and loudly with the people of Palestine. Oppression anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. There is also a big history of pinkwashing by the Israeli state, including propaganda that LGBTQIA+ Palestinians do not exist and that Israeli violence against Palestinians is in the name of love; even putting pride flags on tanks and bombs. There is no pride in a genocide, and no pride in an Apartheid state. This is what we protested against. Ballroom is not the just the fun, the glamour and the voguing. Ballroom, at its core, has always been about fighting oppression and standing up for collective freedom. We can’t throw balls and celebrate our community without acknowledging the hurt and violence that is happening against humanity. To embrace our flashiness and boldness, but silence us when it comes to what we stand for, makes us feel like we don’t belong.

Andre and Sharmila Gabbana op Instagram.