“Most of my life I’ve been involved with gay emancipation and gay rights, so it’s very difficult to capture this in just a few words. I started my advocacy work when I was a young art student for communication and graphic design at the art academy in Rotterdam in 1978. I had just come out of the closet myself and used my final project to make an informative exhibition about homosexuality. I was angry for being misled during my upbringing and by the society—not being given any information, any role models or any other possibilities than being straight—and I didn’t want other young people to have the same terrible experience. I think it was the first exhibition ever done on this subject in all of Europe that was aimed at gay as well as straight people. I felt from the beginning that I wanted to fight for this issue and try to make the world a bit more human. Whether you are gay or straight, we are all experiencing expectations from our upbringing and our environment which do not always fit with what we need, want and feel ourselves. Therefore, the fight to become who you really are is a fight for everyone. I believe that being who you are is a human need and, above all, a human right. These are basic qualities for our society that should be protected by everyone, gay and straight. I want everyone to feel responsible for this and stand for these qualities so younger generations feel encouraged to become who they really are and to make their own personal choices. To stand for yourself and to make your own decisions is not always easy and it needs sometimes a lot of courage but realize that the best you have is yourself; be it, live it and show it!”

“Maybe I just fall in love when I fall in love and the labels don’t matter.”

“I should worry less, be less scared and just let it wash over me.”

“I think an ally’s job is to help spread the message of equality.”