Ronnie and Jasper are grateful. Many Dutch had themselves photographed holding hands, to support the battered gay couple and to act against gay hate. “We get so much support from all reactions”. Özcan Akyol responds. And an overview of the ‘holding hands’ campaign. “Should we tolerate this? No of course not. Tolerance is a buzzword that is created by people who tolerate the deviation of others reluctantly. There lies a superiority in the idea that we need to squint one eye like two lovers of the same sex in public kiss each other. In the Netherlands everyone can manifest themselves on an equal basis. Infatuation can not be guided by the terror of the maladjusted. So it is not about tolerance, it’s all about acceptance. What we see in this photo, is one of the core values of our liberal state: freedom and equality. is not to change these achievements.”
– Özcan Akyol
Hand in hand
Yesterday Barbara Barend called to show that it is normal if two men or two women walking hand in hand. People massively responded to her call. We took to the streets to hear their stories across the country. A selection from all those pictures and stories can be found below.
LGBT visit King Willem-Alexander followed ‘from Uganda to Appingedam’.
King Willem-Alexander visited on Tuesday in Amsterdam the Dutch headoffice of LGBT, founded 70 yearsago. “That’s really very special,” said President Tanja Ineke, “because it is the first time in the world that a crowned head of state visits the LGBT community.” His visit is also followed “from Uganda to Appingedam” according to Ineke. She sees it as an honor and recognition for all that the the Dutch LGBT has achieved over the past 70 years. “It’s a huge boost for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the Netherlands and around the world.” In those 70 years, much has been achieved, but it can always be better, she thinks. As is ‘gay’ is still a widely used term of abuse in schools and discrimination against lhbt’ers not explicitly prohibited in the Constitution. And is the world still banned in 72 countries homosexuality.
The king allowed himself to catch a group of young people on projects they are developing in their schools. One of them was Nick Vijn. He thinks that schools increased visibility and attention should be paid LGBT’ers. “In the Netherlands we think too much in booths and if you are just outside, you’ll be pushed.” More visibility would prevent, according to him.
Because homosexuality is not accepted in many countries, he finds it “very cool from the king that he is coming to LGBT.” “The king is still a preview, so if you see that the king is going to this organization, this is really a helping hand.”
Souad Boumedien, one of the initiators of the Moroccan boat at the Gay Pride, was also at the meeting. She hopes that the visit of King Willem-Alexander has also affected countries outside the Netherlands. Such as Morocco, where homosexuality is still punishable. “The COC has existed for 70 years. That’s a very nice number, but they are still there because it is not finished. 70 years ago we could not openly be who we wanted to be. So there is already much changed and is beautiful . But it can always be better, and that’s our goal. “
During the conversation it turned out that the king’s daughters too are well aware of initiatives such as the Gay-Straight Alliance, Purple Friday and anti-bullying program in schools. The purple bracelets he was offered as a gift for his three daughters he seemed to know all of Amalia.
‘LGBT royal visit is important in times of increasing aggression’
“Sixty years ago, when I was young, homosexuality was completely taboo. The word did not exist,. There were only some weird gestures that you could specify that you suspected that someone was gay,” says the 84-year-old Gerda Tok. It is this afternoon at the visit of King Willem-Alexander of LGBT Netherlands, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the gay liberation movement. “I’m excited, but it’s a bit exciting,” she says in the NOS Radio 1 News. She wants to tell the king especially about what she does for the gay movement. “I give information to schools in Friesland, where youths are trained to care. We tell it how it used to be gay. There the young people have no idea.” Just people who work in health care can play an important role, says Tok. “Elderly gays are still bullied into nursing homes. Not by the staff but by the elderly themselves. They have nothing to do. Is there someone inside that says little about his or her life, then they begin to guess.” The visit of King Willem-Alexander is a festive recognition.
Historian and former politician Coos Huijssen:
It is the first time that the LGTB receives a visit from a head of state. It is an important gesture, says historian and former politician Coos Huijsen. “Both from the standpoint of the king and that of gay themselves. The king wants the heart of the nation’s sympathy with everyone. And for the gay, a discriminated group, it feels like recognition. A little solidarity of the head of state.” Huijsen also notes that there are now very different attitudes towards homosexuality. “About forty years ago I came it was completely taboo. Gradually it has become acceptable first parliamentarian in the world out of the closet.. The COC was founded in 1946, but only the organization was recognized in the 70s. And with the visit of the king, we are one step further. This is a festive recognition “. Before let Huijsen noticed that he believes that the LGBT the predicate should get royal. “That was mainly meant to titillate. I understand that this can happen only if an organization has at least a hundred years.”
Nephew out of the closet
Real examples of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are still been very little in the royal families in the world. “In the UK, has recently become a cousin of the queen out of the closet. That gave little surprised reactions and there was especially sympathetic. Britain’s Prince William has publicly supported the LGBT community and King Harald of Norway has in a speech full attention.” The visit of Willem-Alexander to the LGBT comes at an important time, says Huijsen. “We see the last ten or fifteen years, the aggression on the streets is increasing and increasingly made more jokes a decline in the public domain in the acceptance of gay people.. That makes this royal gesture even more important.”
I can’t say I am afraid. I am numb. I feel am impending sense of doom—but it’s a kind of doom I have already lived through. From seventh grade through 12th grade, I was tortured nearly every day I went to school. The common term for this is bullying, but that’s not what it is. It is torture. Just as John McCain suffered indecencies and physical abuses as a prisoner of war, so did I in my youth. If you hate me for making that comparison, you hate me for saying what is true. I was a happy, popular and active kid. When I reached puberty, my life changed. Before I knew myself that I was gay, others picked up on my mannerisms. My peers harassed me, demanding to know if I was gay. I didn’t know. My childhood best friend Nick McKinney stopped being a friend; he, along with a pack of neighborhood kids rode their bikes into me, threw things at me, called me faggot as I walked home pretending that this was not happening. If there was no empty seat on the schoolbus, I had to squat in the aisles. No one would let me sit next to them, and Betty, the blue-shadowed bus driver, would not drive until I squatted. At school, I sat near the teacher hoping for some kind of protection as fellow students called me faggot, flicked my ears and kicked my legs under the desk. I allowed the ringleader of the abuses, Ian Kelly, who went on to found a multi-million dollar clothing company, to cheat from my tests in biology and chemistry classes. All of this in front of teachers. I gravitated in hallways toward any adult who I hoped would be a port in the storm. From seventh grade until I graduated from high school, only one single adult ever intervened on my behalf: a business teacher who held me after following a particularly brutal class in which several of my peers relentlessly called me an ugly zitfaced faggot. She told me that I will grow into my appearance and myself, and that life will change after high school for the better. I will never forget her kindness—even recognizing that her response was inadequate, as the abuse carried on until I graduated from high school in 1996. My own grandmother, who always had been a doting, loving, spoiling figure suddenly didn’t seem to love me anymore. Nothing made sense anymore. Throughout my teen years, I felt unworthy of living. I was smart; science, English and art came easily to me. My mother let me stay home from school when I couldn’t bear to go—and thank God for her, because she saved my life. After high school, I found out that the world is kinder outside of those cinder-blocked walls. And in the late ‘90s, the world coincidentally began a major revolution. Thanks to the influence of Will and Grace, Queer as Folk and all that followed, average people realized that LGBT people are just…people who deserve to be treated with decency.
I discovered later in life that my grandmother resented post-puberty me because she had a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder. Her first husband, who moved her from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. just before World War II, turned out to be gay. She grew up in the Catholic church. The church refused to annul the marriage because it refused to accept homosexuality—and so my grandmother had no choice other than to divorce her first husband. As a result, she was excommunicated. She lost it all: church (not faith), husband, her reputation. She married my grandfather, a brilliant man haunted by his own demons and alcoholism, and her life took a direction she never planned it to take. Witnessing me grow into a gay man triggered my grandmother’s trauma, and she resented me—until we got to know one another again in the years leading up to her death. On her death bed, literally the evening she died as I was leaving the room, she asked me to embrace her and she told me that she always has been proud of me and always will be. I never expected that relationship to mend, and it did because my grandmother and I came to know one another as people—but also because the public attitude toward homosexuality changed. She couldn’t pretend to herself that LGBT people are evil anymore because it had become commonly accepted that we are not.
Our vice president-elect, Mike Pence, is the same kind of person who populated my middle school and high school. I can’t say whether he is one of the abusers who called me a faggot, who kicked me, flicked my ears, pinched and punched me in the locker room, and who ultimately caused me to read the suicide textbook “The Final Exit” and stockpile pills throughout my youth as an emergency escape hatch. I can say that he is now the vice principal of the school: he is the authority who not only ignores but who actively encourages abuses against people because of their sexuality. I am not afraid, exactly, but I do have trepidation about speaking out about this publicly. But I have been through this and I know how it goes. Mike Pence advocates conversion therapy. Make no mistake: Conversion therapy is torture. It involves electrocuting and drugging LGBT people to make them suffer while looking at homosexual pornography in order to “convert” them to heterosexuality. Not only has it been proven not to convert people, but it causes severe physical and psychological trauma and potentially can result in serious mental disorders. Teenagers have committed suicide in desperate moves to avoid ongoing conversion therapy. In the event a gay man, as an example, were coerced into either believing or pretending that he had been “converted” in order to stop the torture, the best-case scenario would be his entering into a marriage under false pretenses with a woman who otherwise could have found a loving partner. It is a crime against humanity. Science has proven conclusively that it does not work. Yet, under the influence of Vice President-Elect Pence and a fully Republican Congress and likely Republican-leaning U.S. Supreme Court, conversion therapy could become mainstream and supported by law if not codified in law. How did this happen? How did we get here? Conversion therapy is a blatant human-rights violation and a sheer demonstration of hatred. It is a hate crime. I survived six years of psychological terror and physical abuses, sanctioned by my peers and by authorities, throughout my youth. At that time, I had been convinced that something about me was “bad” and that I deserved it. I know better now, and I will not abide by it.
LGBT people and our allies must be vigilant as a new regime takes over our country. This is not a joke, and there is no evidence at this time that suggests fearing the worst—that our government would commit inhumane crimes against its own law-abiding people—is unreasonable. I have lost more faith in the decency of the American people this week than I knew I had. Because of what I went through when I was young, and because I have seen how quickly attitudes changed toward acceptance, I know how quickly those attitudes can revert with a little peer pressure. I know how cruel people can be without a second thought. LGBT people and our allies must not give a millimeter or else this administration may take 666 miles. We also must ally ourselves with all other marginalized populations because, from a practical standpoint, greater numbers equals greater security—but more importantly because all of us are human beings and all of us are at a very real risk of being confronted by overt state-supported hate crimes, and these things usually happen in waves, one targeted population at a time. We are all in this together, and we have to be ready to fight for our souls.