Expatica news

New youth, immigrant gay federation

1 October 2004

AMSTERDAM — Amid a turbulent week for the Dutch gay community, better news came on Thursday with the announcement that a new federation representing both young and immigrant gays will be launched in The Hague on 9 November.

The former chairman of The Hague wing of gay lobby group COC, John Blankenstein, said there was insufficient representation at the moment for immigrant and young gays. He said the furore surrounding gay youth magazine Expreszo this week had demonstrated this once again.

Many Christian and immigrant schools refused to accept or trashed the Education Ministry-funded magazine, prompting an investigation. The distribution of the magazine was designed to reduce discrimination against gays and lesbian students and teachers in schools.

The matter prompted the Social and Cultural Planning Office to demand a new study into the feared decline in acceptance of gay people in the Netherlands. The demand won backing from the Dutch Parliament.

But some schools said that the magazine was rejected because of its content rather than the subject matter. A “tolerance test” in the magazine included questions in relation to seeing a neighbour having sex with a goat and gave a multiple choice answer involving Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende masturbating.

Meanwhile, Blankenstein said accounts of physical violence in schools, spitting at gay teens and abuse are never found in official reports. He asserted that the country has not yet achieved the level of gay emancipation that politicians claim, despite the fact that gay marriages have been legalised.

The new federation will campaign for the acceptance of the newest generation of gay people. Blankenstein said his generation finally dared to walk the streets without shame after 30 years of work and that it should not take another 30 years for the new generation — both native Dutch and immigrant — to do the same.

But Blankenstein warned that young and immigrant gays will need to take the campaign up themselves. “As an individual, you get nowhere in these sorts of matters. You must combine forces,” he said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news