Schiedam wants to ban Hookers' Ball in gay bar
The council of Schiedam has refused to grant permission for the town's annual Hoerenbal Hookers' Ball. The gay event is scheduled to be held in the Melody Bar on 27 November. However, the council says that the ball, which is to be attended by dozens of transvestites, glorifies prostitution.
Melody Bar owner Jeroen van Prooijen says: "The annual Hoerenbal is a tradition at all gay bars in the Netherlands. The name is a sort of sobriquet for a cheerful costume ball. It has nothing to do with prostitution or even sex."
In previous years, the Hoerenbal was never a problem, but the council has recently tightened its rules regarding noise and the opening hours of bars and discotheques. However, Mr Van Prooijen says bars are entitled to an exemption at least five times a year, and has informed the council that the ball will be held as planned. City officials have said they will take further action to ban the event.
In an official reaction, the Schiedam council on Sunday said it did not "want to ban anything. We simply refused the exemption request because we thought the name of the event was inappropriate for our town, and we have informed the owner of our objections."
A spokesperson for the council was unable to explain why the name was not considered inappropriate in previous years. He was also unable to say whether the council would take steps if the Melody Bar went ahead with the party under the name of Hoerenbal.
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