Roze Gebaar at the Canal Parade: Go Fund Them!

Pride Amsterdam is almost here! One of the annual highlights is the world famous Canal Parade which features eighty boats representing organizations and initiatives from all over the LGBTQ+ community.

Roze Gebaar (‘Pink Sign’ in English) is one of these organizations. WINGS sat down with spokesperson Hendrik de Jong (he/him) and his Dutch sign language interpreter Maartje (she/her), to find out more about Roze Gebaar and the important work they do for deaf and hearing impaired members of the queer community.

Hendrik, what does your organization do exactly?

“Roze Gebaar is a network that supports members of the LGBTQ+ community who are deaf or hearing impaired. We are part of the Dutch queer rights movement COC. One of our goals is to make it easier for deaf people to access information on topics like sexual diversity and sexual health.
The broader queer public might know Roze Gebaar from our interpreters who are super visible at events like Pride Amsterdam or Milkshake Festival. They translate the lyrics of songs live on stage or they interpret speeches.”

I have to confess that I love seeing your interpreters on stage. They have such good energy, especially when they are translating lyrics. It feels like they always manage to connect to everyone in the audience, including those who can hear, like me.

“I fully agree! They don’t just stand there, but they move along to the rhythm and bass, and they clearly enjoy what they are doing. For deaf people, it is really nice to know what words are being sung by the performing artists.”

Why do you want to participate in the Canal Parade?

“Roze Gebaar already took part in 2014 and 2016 with its own boat, but there is a new generation of interpreters that we would like to offer this experience to. We also want to celebrate that Dutch sign language has been recognized as an official language in 2021.
In the end, it is all about inclusion and showing ourselves. There are those who believe deaf people are limited in what they can do, but we live like anyone else. We have sex, we drive cars, we study at universities, and we want to make that clear to everyone!”

The theme of Pride Amsterdam 2024 is Together. How will you incorporate that togetherness on your boat?

“We have invited guests from all over the deaf and queer community. Some have learned Dutch sign language through, a website that we partner with. We have invited sign language users from many places in The Netherlands, and interpreters from other countries including Germany, The United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark and Belgium. We want to show the outside world that together we are one community.”

You also started a GoFundMe campaign. What are you planning to do with the donations?

“They will mostly cover the costs for decorations, boat rental and the fee for the skipper. We want to get some big, bold banners to clearly bring our message across. Our slogans will state that we are proud to be deaf and queer, and that we are more than proud to serve and support sign language users whenever they need us.”

The last question is for Maartje, the sign language interpreter who has joined us in the background to make this interview run as smoothly as possible. Maartje, what has been your favorite event to interpret at?

“Remembrance Day on May 4th at the Homomonument in Amsterdam. On that day, the Dutch commemorate those who have died during wartime. It was impressive to hear the speakers talk about the violence they have encountered as queer individuals. We Dutch like to think that we are really free and openminded, but sadly that is not the case. It was a genuine honor to interpret the speeches that evening. The whole gathering touched me. It was a beautiful experience.”

Support Roze Gebaar by donating here: Want to know more about their important work? Then check out and follow them on Instagram @rozegebaar! 🥰🫰🌈