Friday 6 January 2023

Celebrating Pride in Maritime day 2023. Queer seafarers



Dutch gay seafaring steward from the SS Rotterdam looks at his voyage album, late 20C. He's helping in the Amsterdam Maritime Museum research project, 'Queer Spaces at Sea. Queer culture on merchant ships 1950 - 1980

Celebrating Pride in Maritime Day, Tues Feb 28 2023. This year join in some wonderful opportunities to celebrate queer seafarers and their place in maritime heritage: 

  • exhibitions
  • talks
  • events .

So why not try:

1. Seeing two European exhibitions on now till summer (both with English subtitles)

# Bergen, Norway: ‘Queer Lives at Sea’

# Amsterdam Maritime Museum, Netherlands. As yet 'Queer Spaces at Sea. Queer culture on merchant ships 1950 -1980' is in its early stages. 

Bob van de Poll, Curator of 
 Amsterdam's Queer Spaces
at Sea project

Curator Bob van de Poll invites you to:

  • Join in if you have memories. 
  • Read/hear stories. 
  • See the first-ever film of LGBT+ crew reminiscing about the oddly out -and-proud ships' subcultures in those early days.

Queer Spaces at Sea' is part of the wonderful new exhibition, Humans at Sea:

2. Helping develop Pride in Maritime Day 

It’s only the second year of its existence. Tuesday 28 Feb 2023. So let’s big it up. And join in the Diversity in Maritime UK discussion at

3. Catching this info, in talks, posts and films throughout LGBT+ history month. I’ll be sharing stories about:

Wendy at his piano in Hull, lifting spirits as he did
at sea.Picture courtesy Harriet Jones. 
# Entertaining 4 sanity@sea:  Roy ‘Wendy’ Gibson: steward, Falklands Conflict hero, and Hull’s answer to pianist Liberace 

You can hear about people - especially queer seafarers - who raised shipboard morale by making music and theatre. 
Discover how the exceptional gay-affirmative sub-culture on late 20C ships enabled some LGBT+ people to boost their mental health despite gruelling homophobia ashore. 
Show-biz style fun kept you sane at sea! Watch this space and social media for updates.

Comparing Europe’s queer maritime past 
New stories are emerging of Norwegian, Scandinavian and Dutch LGBT+ seafarers’ lives at sea. 
Compare revelations of below-decks fun and work, love and tourism, on late 20C ships of different countries. Watch this space and social media for updates on venues and dates.

1968: Yes, gay seafarers were aboard seemingly the queerest Dutch ship, Rotterdam, with two other ships of the Holland-America Line (Maasdam and Ryndam) at the Wilhelminakade in Rotterdam

For a roundup including Canada's exhibition on gay seafarers see also

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