Homosexuality is widely accepted in The Netherlands; this is what gay men and lesbian women experience. It is also the conclusion of the report “Niet te ver uit de kast” [Not too far out of the closet] by the Social Cultural Planning Agency (SCP), which was published in March 2012. The report is based on surveys held in 2010 and 2011 amongst gays, lesbians and bisexual people. A good sign of acceptance is that most gays and lesbians are open about their sexual preference.
Last year I was all of a sudden struck by a rather serious health problem. My two sisters and a few friends rushed to my aid. In a group mail I informed my steady lovers that I wasn’t available for a while. A few of them sent sweet mails in reply. “Take care and let me know when I can come visit you again.” But hey, nothing is very little of anything, so a few weeks ago I thought of a little mischievous plan. I surfed to bullchat.nl and placed the following add: “Senior gay rims young guy!”
The Netherlands and Amsterdam in particular have the reputation to be sexually liberal or tolerant places. The city is discussed in terms of a gay and sex capital where almost everything is possible. Dutch laws are liberal: no anti-gay laws, the first country to open marriage for same-sex couples, sex work legalized. The Dutch have the highest scores on sexual issues in value surveys: they say to be tolerant. There is little doubt that the Netherlands is a better place to enjoy sexually variant lives than the United States, Morocco, Zimbabwe and most other places.
It’s no secret that gay men are into keeping trim and working out - just take a quick look at the clientele at any gym around town. And the last two decades have seen an explosion in the number of gay sports clubs in Holland and the rest of the world, spawned in part due to the success of the Gay Games. Whereas gay men in earlier times were regarded as sissies and fems, today Muscle Marys, gym bunnies, and the entire bear family tree (from otters to pandas) have taken over a large chunk of modern day gay culture. Fem is out, macho is in.
Paul Haenen (1946) has been working with Dutch radio and television for almost fifty years and in May his alter ego “Margreet Dolman” will celebrate her thirty-year anniversary in the theater. This was also the reason for the release of a DVD box last year with his work. The box contains four DVDs and offers a good overview of what Haenen has done for television over the past half a century.
In the center of Amsterdam, on a square at the base of the Westerkerk, is the Homomonument. With its solid foundation in the streetscape this granite monument has been like the visible heart of gay life in the city for twenty-five years already. To celebrate this momentous occasion there’ll be a birthday party on the monument on the fifth of May, with cake, champagne and music. A week earlier a fund-raising campaign starts to keep the Homomonument alive.
From the 18th of April the Eagle is open again. The cruise bar has been completely renovated and to celebrate the opening the Eagle is organizing RECON Full Fetish Amsterdam on Saturday the 19th of May.
Except for a new logo nothing has changed on the outside of the Eagle. The facade has a new coat of paint, but you still have to ring the doorbell to get in. If you’re not paying much attention in the crowded Warmoesstraat you’d walk straight past it without noticing.
Psychotherapists are going to get more education to counter the ‘phenomena of lesbian women, gay men, bisexual or transgender people.’ The Malaysian government intends to spend €25.000 on special training programs. Vice-Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced this early April at a gathering at the Putra Malaysia University.
Parliament passed a motion that gay men should be allowed to donate blood again. COC Netherlands, which has lobbied for an end to the ban on blood donations from gay men for years, called it a break-through. Blood Bank Sanquin released a statement saying it wasn’t intent on adapting the guidelines, just yet.
Blood Bank Sanquin maintains that men who have sex with other men should not be allowed to donate blood.
For the first time a Turkish LGBT boat will take part in the Canal Parade. They won one of the coveted entrance tickets organizer ProGay issued for the Amsterdam Gay Pride’s highlight, the Canal Parade.
‘We are very happy with this boat,’ says ProGay chair Irene Hemelaar. ‘We estimate that there are about 20.000 gays and lesbians in Holland with a Turkish background, but they are largely invisible because of the lack of social acceptance. This boat, also commemorating 400 years of trade between Holland and Turkey, is giving them a face.’
On Thursday the 5th of April the board of COC Netherlands awarded Björn van Roozendaal with the Bob Angelo Charter.
The COC awards the Bob Angelo Charter to people or organizations that have done something special for the advancement of LGBT emancipation. Björn van Roozendaal was decorated because of his excellent work to promote LGBT rights internationally.