From pseudonym to standing strong together

Do your part for the rainbow community! We make that call along with ambassadors such as actress Hanna van Vliet, human rights activist Boris Dittrich and inclusiveness activist Sherry Jae Ebere, who talk about the importance of activism and what COC means to them.

Because although we have achieved an incredible amount together since the founding of the COC in 1946: recent times have once again shown razor-sharp how much our work is still needed.

You can contribute by becoming a volunteer, donor or member of the COC. Of course everyone is welcome, whether you belong to the rainbow community or are an ally.

Get involved too!

Become a volunteer!

Please contribute as well!

Become a member!

Support the COC!

Donate here!

Where do we come from? COC was founded in 1946: a club where lhbti+ persons could meet. That sounds nice, but at the time, only members of COC knew it stood for that. Because being openly lhbti+ was impossible, to the outside world it stood for Culture and Recreation Center. Lhbti+ persons could then hide behind the letters COC.

For years now, COC has been able to be itself: an organization that believes in a world where everyone can live in freedom and safety. Where you can be yourself and love who you want. Where everyone can participate and people have the chance to develop to their full potential. Regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. The pseudonym COC has therefore grown into an advocacy organization where everyone can feel openly at home. Finally! Together with everyone in our community, we stand strong and work hard to make the whole world a home.

The letters C O C have made a transformation in recent years. From pseudonym to call sign. Because now we stand loud and clear for who we are. But: the past period also shows again how much our work is still needed. That it is not yet self-evident that everyone can be themselves. That is why we asked a number of people from the community what the letters COC mean to them!

Wielie Elhorst - Pastor for the lhbti+ community of Amsterdam
BeyonG - Trans activist and Amsterdam Pride ambassador
Emre Hoogduijn - Lhbti+ youth activist

Wielie Elhorst is a pastor for the lhbti+ community of Amsterdam and sees COC as an organization that is also there for Christians in the lhbti+ community. BeyonG started at COC as an intern and has worked there for a total of 12 years! Because she was able to be completely herself at COC, she experienced it as a safe-haven to openly be herself as a trans woman and continue to develop. She therefore sees it as an open-minded center of the community. Lhbti+ youth activist Emre Hoogduijn sees the COC as an organization that is progressive, brings about change, and creates a strong sense of community.

Sherry Jae Ebere - Trans & inclusivity activist and Amsterdam Pride ambassador
Hanna van Vliet - Actress, including Anne+
Boris Dittrich - Writer and Senator

Also for Sherry Jae Ebere, the COC is an open organization that fights for the rights of the lhbti+ community. According to Hanna van Vliet, the COC is a place where (all charming) people come together, join forces, and at the same time can be vulnerable. On a regional and (inter)national level. For her, it means standing strong together in fighting for progress. In Boris Dittrich 's ideal world, there is no discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The COC is a place where people can freely meet and enjoy culture. Because, according to him, culture - such as literature, music, dance, film etc - binds people of diverse backgrounds across all borders.

Nana Adjoa - Musician
Astrid Oosenbrug - Chairman COC Netherlands
Daan Smeelen - Chairman Gay Monument Foundation

For Nana Adjoa, the COC is a caring, open-minded organization that stands for creating connections inside and outside the lhbti+ community. For Astrid Oosenbrug , the words "coming out, openness and cohesion" point to the objectives and activities of the COC. This means: promoting acceptance and equal rights for lhbti+ persons, providing a place to meet and support lhbti+ people, and organizing activities and campaigns to increase the visibility and acceptance of lhbti+ persons. Together Strong, for her that is what it is all about. Daan Smeelen sees COC, as the oldest still-existing lhbti+ advocacy organization in the world, as the "Center Of the rainbow Community"!

Debbie Helaha - President COC Leiden
Ricardo Brouwer - Chairman COC Midden-Gelderland
Pien Adriana Merkx - Chairman COC Tilburg-Breda e.o.

The COC connects the lhbti+ community according to Debbie Helaha (COC Leiden president ). In addition to decisiveness, love and inspiration, connection is precisely one of the core values of the COC. Ricardo Brouwer (chairman COC Midden-Gelderland) sees the COC as an interest group for all letters within the lhbti+ community, as the connecting factor between all lhbti+ people. According to him, together we stand up for equal rights, promoting acceptance and inclusion. By joining forces with other (advocacy) organizations and people, the COC gives a stronger voice to lhbti+ persons. This, according to Ricardo, is how we work toward equality for all of us. For Pien Adriana Merx, president of COC Tilburg-Breda and Surroundings, COC is the epicenter of the lhbti+ community, and represents infinite connection within the rainbow community.

Get involved too!

Become a volunteer!

Please contribute as well!

Become a member!

Support the COC!

Donate here

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Photo credits © Isabell Janssen