Hero. Heroine. heroism. hero worship. Existing, fictional, historical. Warriors, rescuers, protectors: heroes can be role models for many people. A source of inspiration that helps you design your own life.

But whatever you call them, for the interviewed LGBTQ people who wanted to tell something about their hero, the term did not immediately evoke warm feelings. Or they thought it was very complicated: 'I'm not really into hero worship, but more into role models. A hero immediately creates a lot of expectations, as Astrid Oosenbrug says. According to Chris Rijksen, the concept lends itself pre-eminently to 'a kind of uncritical 'idolification'. And that is something that can never really go well.'

Nevertheless, the 'hero' they ultimately chose meant a lot to the interviewees. In this IHLIA exhibition, we let them talk about that one person who lifted them up and made them not feel alone for a while. But most of all, it inspired them to follow their own path. A journey full of obstacles that was not always understood by the heterosexual environment.

With this exhibition we want to honor these examples. And show that all of us – the interviewees, their heroes and of course you yourself – are once again standing on the shoulders of the illustrious and courageous predecessors who fought for a diverse and inclusive world.

The exhibition also includes beautiful collection items from the IHLIA archive, which give the heroes even more context.

Seven stories

HEROES! has invited Nassiri Belaraj, Splinter Chabot, Astrid Oosenbrug, Chris Rijksen, So Roustayar, Raisa Sambo and Thorn Vineyard to tell us something about their hero. In the seven panels in this exhibition you can 'view' and read their stories.

Of course, many more interesting things were discussed during the interviews. We have compiled a collection of these (more detailed) interviews. In this way we also get to know the interviewees a little better. The bundle is printed in a small edition and can be found on the exhibition floor, but can also be read online at IHLIA's website.

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