What you See in Utrecht stands up for LGBTQIA +

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Looking forward with bated breath to the What you See Festival later in the month. As we reported earlier, this is a long awaited showpiece that will inform and educate as well as entertain.

The What You See Festival will celebrate the beauty of diversity and all its forms. This will be the first international arts festival in the Netherlands about gender and identity, which has been made possible thanks to crowdfunding.

On a more sombre note, on 31 October, three weeks before the start of the festival, the festival page was blocked by Facebook and is no longer accessible for communication with the public. Apparently, subjects such as sexuality and gender are still perceived as provocative.

The existence of a festival such as What You See is therefore no longer visible on Facebook and once again, we can see the worldwide opposition in the field of emancipation that women and members of the LGBTQIA + community have to endure every day. And Facebook claim to represent Free speech!

All across the world we see countries biting back at hard won refprm, for example, the plans of the United States to legally establish that people are not allowed to change gender, the pressure of the Polish government on schools to stop activities to promote the acceptance of LGBTQIA + members, Hungary’s wish to Abolish Gender Studies and the recent election of homosexual and female hostile Bolsonaro in Brazil. Not to mention the disappearance of homosexuals and illegal detention centres for homosexuals in Chechnya.

Freedom of speech and self-expression is no longer self-evident in the Netherlands. Discrimination against, among others, transgender people has increased in recent years. And figures from the Global Gender Gap Report show that the Netherlands dropped from number 12 in 2006 to number 32 in 2017 in the ranking of Gender Inequality. Violence against the LGBTQIA + community is increasing and the #MeToo stories keep coming.

 “If you see in the world around you that the discrimination against transgenders increases rather than decreases, women still have to fight for equal treatment and equal pay and that gays are still beaten for who they are, then you can not other than getting up and opening your mouth, art can play a crucial role, and with a diverse program our festival offers a view of a possible new world. “

says Vincent Wijlhuizen, general & artistic director of What You See.

With dance, theatre, visual arts, film, parties, music and critical conversations, the diversity of people, bodies, loves and ways of being is celebrated during What You See Festival. Current gender norms are being stretched and undermining assumptions and clichés about femininity and masculinity. What You See Festival takes place from 23 to 25 November 2018 at various locations in Utrecht. For the complete program, go to www.whatyouseefestival.nl.

What You See Festival 2018 is a co-production with Theater Kikker and is financially supported by the City of Utrecht, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Utrecht, the KfHeinfonds, Voordekunst and the Fentener van Vlissingen fund. Thanks to: Gender Bender Festival Bologna & Orlando Festival in Italy.

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About the Author

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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