Pink Pearls Magazine Issue Nr. 3
presents the European Lesbian scene
Café ’t Mandje
Next year, Café ’t Mandje celebrates its 85-year anniversary. And on 29 April, it’s already 3 years ago that the little café was reopened. Old and new customers dance, sing and play music again like in the old days. And everybody is welcome.
“Despite the optimism, the last 3 years have not been easy”, says Diana van Laar, owner of Café ‘t Mandje – Bet van Beeren. “In times of economic decay, we are working hard for slow progress. The average undertaker would probably have given up by now. But for me, this is not an average company. My aunt has left her marks in the gay scene and my other aunt has dedicated 40 years of her life to her sister and the café to keep it forever. Should I then be the one to drop it?”
“The history of Café ‘t Mandje forces us to take a clear stand when it comes to LGTB subjects, even if we’re just a small café. Besides, I think it’s important myself too. That’s why I also organize events. In the past 3 years, amongst others during the Gay Pride and Pink Christmas, we’ve drawn attention to older gay men disappearing in the closet again in the old people’s homes, we held a speech-making ‘call gay election’, thought about what would make Amsterdam Gay Capital again, et cetera. Last Pink Christmas we organized the Pink Christmas Visibly Pink Princess Election; lesbians are still being discriminated against and are not as visible as the male gay community. We also think about STDs and HIV; huge problems that do not only concern the gay scene. Together with other gay bars we talk about these and other issues.”
“Many places for gay and lesbian people close their doors here in Amsterdam. For economic reasons mostly. Tastes differ, but the city could do with some more trendy places. And they’re working on it, but don’t think that the presence of trendy places only will make Amsterdam Gay Capital. Gay monuments, groups of youngsters, existing gay bars, soldier’s associations, gay marriage, a city council in favor of gay rights, … they’re all extremely important. Just like citizens who love their city, cherish freedom and contribute to a change of culture, conscience and acceptance. Being tolerant isn’t good enough. To me, that’s something like: OK, go on then.”
“At least as important as the new and trendy bars, are the existing gay places with an own character. If you ask me, it’s this diversity that makes a city deserve the title of Gay Capital of the World!”
An important part of this diversity is the Zeedijk. This street counts many old and characteristic bars including Café ’t Mandje. Diana: “I am proud of the cooperation between the various undertakers here on the Zeedijk. I am proud of the guests saying that they’re happy they don’t have to be ‘gay all night’ and that they can just enjoy their beer with us. And I’m proud of the parties on the Zeedijk, where a mixture of the LGBT community, young and old, has a good time. And, of course, we also have to make a living. We like to earn some money and fortunately business is improving little by little.”
What else is in this issue?
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