“Without shadows you can not stand in the light”

(Photo Noah Valentine) (Interview Paul Hofman)

Amsterdam Pride has eight ambassadors this year who will promote the theme “Heroes”. With her story and infectious laughter, the young Loena Maas (20) immediately stands out. She was chosen from nine nominees, which took her by surprise. “I was very tense and it took me a while to realize that I had won.” It was as if her girl’s dream came true.

Her parents gave her up for the title. The fact that she got the most votes online, according to director Lucien Spee of Amsterdam Pride, was due to the fact that “she enthusiastically uses her frankness for the transgender community”.

The fact that she is seen as a role model for young transgender people means a lot to her. “I can give something back now.” Did she also have a hero herself as a young queer child? She does not have to think long: “That is absolutely Lady GaGa. Her message and music touched me. “Always fight for someone” is her motto. That appeals to me enormously. She was my eye opener and she really inspired me. ”

She is proud to be the first Youth Pride Ambassador. “The fact that I have already reached this at the age of 20 means a lot to me.”

Loena briefly talks about her childhood that she spent in Limburg. “There I was born as a boy.” She discovers that she is not comfortable in her body. When she watches the documentary about transwoman and former Pride ambassador Valentijn de Hingh she knows for sure: “That beautiful film made me see the light.”

When she is fourteen, Loena comes out of the closet as a transgender. A year later she starts her transitioning process. It is a difficult period in which she encounters many prejudices from her environment. Loena does not like to think about that anymore.

Now that she is one of the figureheads of the Pride she wants to commit herself even more to transgender people. “There is still a lot of misunderstanding. And there is also a lack of knowledge about us. “It hurt her deeply that in 2017 the word “gender neutral” was declared as the most irritating word of the year. “It is absurd. It makes me sad.”

She has a number of special tattoos on her arm that immediately catch your eye. Will she add one of the Amsterdam Pride? “Absolutely. I only need to think about the design.”

It is clear: she is ready for her new role.

“WITHOUT SHADOWS YOU CAN NOT STAND IN THE LIGHT”

Pride ambassador since 2018