Amsterdam Rainbow Dress tours to advance LGBT equality

A living work of art, using art and design to highlight the inequality faced by LGBT people.

HomoCulture Equality + Rights Koelen Andrews

This article was published on June 28th, 2017

While continental North America has worked hard to secure LGBT rights, including same sex marriage equality, it is horrifying to know that there are still 75+ countries around the globe where homosexuality is a criminal offense. In 12 of those nations, the penalty can be as severe as death. There are those willing to stand up and fight these countries outside of the United Nations, through civil protest, art, and media. One such project is bringing international attention to the aforementioned places where being who you are can still be considered a crime. The Amsterdam Rainbow Dress, considered a living work of art, is one example of using art and design to highlight the inequality faced by LGBT people.

The Amsterdam Rainbow Dress is a dress made up of the flags whose countries denounce homosexuality. 75+ nation’s banners are sewn into the bodice which is the city flag of Amsterdam. This signifies that all people are welcome in the Dutch a capital, including the queer people from these countries, as Amsterdam has remained a safe haven to persecuted people for centuries. The flags each were originally carried on opening day of Euro Pride 2016 in a parade and then the dress, as a “finished/forever unfinished” work of art, premiered on August 5, 2016, in front in the courtyard of the Amsterdam Museum.

The dress is 16 meters in diameter, and is currently touring the world to bring further attention to LGBT in equality, globally. Flags will be removed from the dress once each of the 75+ nations adhere to further advancement of queer peoples and no longer penalizes homosexuality. Belize, for example, just decriminalized homosexuality and their flag has now been replaced with a rainbow banner. Until then, the dress will serve as a reminder of Amsterdam’s place in the world of being a refuge city. The city welcomes people from all 180+ nations to its streets.

The Amsterdam Rainbow Dress has already gained international recognition through a series of photographs that have gone viral watering the dress in front of Rembrandt’s Night Watch in the Gallery of Honour at the The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, San Francisco’s City Hall Rotunda on Harvey Milk Day 2017, in New York City, and of course in front of the Amsterdam Museum.

The Amsterdam Rainbow Dress is bringing light on the serious issue of violence and discrimination against gay people living in nation’s who regard them as criminals. Hopefully, we’ll all live to see the day that the dress is made up entirely of rainbow flags or deem it no longer necessarily to have.

Amsterdam Rainbow Dress

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