The Rotterdam Rainbow Coalition released this statement this morning. This spring, on May 22, the Coalition organized the protest “respect our existence or expect resistance: no LGBTQIA+ hatred in our city!” ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest. Doorbraak is also part of the coalition.
Last weekend the building of COC Rotterdam was struck by anti lgbtqia+ vandalism. In August something of the same sort happened when assailants put anti lgbtqia+ texts on the front side of a gym in Rotterdam. The owner of the same is also the founder of the Roze Kameraden, a Feyenoord support association of lgbtqia+ people. The summer of 2021 knows more of these hate crimes. Fourteen year old Frederique was met with violence when they refused to answer questions about their gender asked by a boy they did not know. In Amsterdam people set fire to rainbow flags in student apartments, and as a response rainbow flags were forbidden. People also smashed in windows because of rainbow flags.
The lgbtqia+ emancipation in the Netherlands is not okay. Recent research by EenVandaag shows that only one third of our community is satisfied with the emancipation of the community in the Netherlands. The country hasn’t moved forward since marriage equality was achieved. For three years in a row 4 out of 10 community members state they have been met with negative behavior and comments because of who they are. In addition to that, 61% of community members do not feel free enough to come out and share these parts of their identity. Furthermore, 50% of the people do not feel free or safe enough to hold their partner’s hand on the street and 54% do not feel safe enough to give their partner a kiss. Straight and cisgender people do not experience any problems with this. 23% of straight people are disgusted when they see two men kissing and 18% of straight people have these opinions about two kissing women.
Locally in Rotterdam the community does not feel safe as well. At the start of 2020 anti discrimination organization RADAR published a report about the safety of lgbtqia+ people in Rotterdam. In this report two important yet predictable findings are shared: people who do not conform to traditional gender expression/roles experience the most violence out in public. In addition, lgb people do not feel safe enough to hold their partner’s hand or give them a kiss in public.
The Rainbow Coalition Rotterdam calls upon the solidarity of society and the citizens of Rotterdam to stand up against lgbtqia+ violence. It is very important that every form of lgbtqia+ hatred is confronted immediately with a broadly shared signal that this hate is not accepted. The safety of lgbtqia+ people cannot be compromised. Furthermore it is very important that these types of vandalism and violence are met with consequences. Most of the time people opt for dialogue, and whilst dialogue can certainly help, it also creates a false sense of level playing field between a marginalized group and its assailants. In addition, the Rainbow Coalition Rotterdam calls upon Feyenoord to take stand against lgbtqia+ hate from their supporters.
Rotterdam, and the Netherlands in general, is proud of how it supposedly is open to everybody in society. But in order to be proud of something like that, it’s important that this pride is earned and that everybody in the city, citizen, organization and government, works hard to achieve it. Rotterdam as well as the whole country needs to take a stand.
Organizations can sign the statement. Click here for the possibility.