During the Utrecht Canal Pride on Saturday, June 3, Vodafone will unveil the digital 'Real Models' collage artwork. The work, composed of various portraits, symbolizes the diverse face of the queer community. Pride visitors can become part of the artwork themselves, which changes in real-time. As the main sponsor, Vodafone strengthens the message of Utrecht Canal Pride: What if love is the masterplan? Could you be the masterpiece?

VodafonePride 23

Freedom to be yourself
When you feel the freedom to be yourself, you can truly maximize your potential. Role models that you can identify with play a positive and inspiring role in this process. Especially for LGBTQI+ youth, the opportunity for recognition through representation is crucial in their development. Although there has been increasing attention to freedom and self-expression in recent years, it also seems to become more challenging for young people to form their own identities. They express a desire to be less confined to labels. The different faces in the artwork 'Real Models' symbolize the diversity of the queer community and the ongoing process of identity formation.

Face of the queer community
The digital artwork aims to showcase realistic role models. Visitors to the Utrecht Canal Pride can actually become part of the moving artwork themselves. This can be done by having their portrait taken in the specially designed photo booth located at Stationsplein near Utrecht Central Station between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. The continuously changing face will be displayed throughout the day on various digital screens in the city center of Utrecht.

Queers Connected network
The initial 'Real Models' portraits are of employees from 'Queers Connected,' VodafoneZiggo's rainbow network. "With Queers Connected, we create a safe working environment for LGBTQI+ colleagues. We do this by uniting and organizing events and workshops. Additionally, we provide advice to the organization on LGBTQI+ issues. VodafoneZiggo supports us in word and deed, enabling us to realize initiatives like this digital artwork. In doing so, we create an ever-changing role model that symbolizes fluidity," said Steven Kroon, chairperson of the Queers Connected network.

Not only during Pride Month, but throughout the entire year, VodafoneZiggo works towards an inclusive society and a positive working environment for queer colleagues. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in the broadest sense are integrated into the business strategy of VodafoneZiggo, with LGBTQI+ inclusivity being an integral part of it.

Personal story mitch

Search for Identity
Someone who can speak about the ongoing process of formation and gender fluidity is colleague and board member of Queers Connected, Mitch de Vocht. "In the past, I would say that I was attracted to women and that was it. The label 'lesbian' never fit me because it refers to women who are attracted to women, and I am not a woman. Nowadays, I identify my sexual orientation as queer. This is an umbrella term that doesn't explicitly define my gender or who I am attracted to. It allows for space." In terms of gender, a few years ago, I identified as non-binary because I hadn't yet figured out who I was, except that I was definitely not a woman. That also gave me space in my search for identity. I have now realized that I am a trans man. I believe that it's okay to change and grow in that regard. The value that VodafoneZiggo places on the freedom to be oneself was a deciding factor for me to work here. Both internally and externally, VodafoneZiggo aims to bring about positive change in the areas of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. I experienced this myself when I proposed the implementation of gender-neutral toilets in all offices. It became a reality last year. Currently, I am also involved in the implementation of transition leave in our organization. The DE&I ambitions at VodafoneZiggo are not just empty words but genuine actions," said Mitch.