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Dear Neighbors to the North, It is forbidden by law to deny that the Holocaust ever happened during the Second World war. And with reason. The denial of very different forms of violence, physical or mental, however, is not penalized. In this case: gay bashing.

Sep 2018       
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Never before had it been that warm and dry, this twenty-third edition of Pride Amsterdam. With temperatures above 25ºC and an average of 27.9ºC, we truly can speak of a Tropical Pride. The Friday before, the temperature had risen to 37ºC, but on Saturday, fortunately that was not the case. At night, there had been some rain, which made the temperature drop to a pleasant 25ºC.

Sep 2018       
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Before I met my present partner, I hadn’t bothered to attend the Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade for some years. I’m not very tall, and the past few years the canals were dominated by tall inebriated straight women in pink hats and trendy high heels, who responded with irritated looks when I politely asked if I might move to the front so I could catch a glimpse of the parade.

Aug 2018       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, In the Dutch media it was reported that - although they use different wording as to not mention their true motives - municipalities and governments do their utmost to “eradicate” gay meeting places. A kind of hidden agenda, so to speak, under the guise of all sorts of fallacies while not actually saying that the elimination of such meeting places is in fact the real reason, and not the consequence of a certain policy.

Aug 2018       
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Dolly Bellefleur is the alter-ego of cabaret performer and lyricist Ruud Douma. For twenty-eight years now, Dolly is “Frau Antje van het Verkeerde Kantje” (Miss Antje of the Other Side), both on the barricades and on stage. As winner of the Canal Parade 2017, Dolly Bellefleur & Friends will sail the Amsterdam canals again this year.

Aug 2018       
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I am running a cosy hotel with my best female friend Pascale in the centre of the “country’s most beautiful city,” as singer Wim Sonneveld once described Amsterdam. It has its advantages. Although our hotel is not “Fawlty Towers,” every day something new happens.

Jul 2018       
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In recent months, A.S.V.Gay had the pleasure of having a full and great schedule. We were bestowed the great honour to speak at the Remembrance Day commemoration at the Homomonument. For the first time in the history of our association, we travelled to Manchester by plane.

Jul 2018       
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Last year’s Pride Amsterdam, we stayed true to ourselves looking at what Pride is all about - our Pride and sharing our Pride. It was my-your-her-his and our Pride. Now, we have emphasised this sense of community by deleting the word gay from Gay Pride. By doing so, we have become more inclusive, and radiate that Pride is for the entire LGBTI community.

Jul 2018       
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I turned fifty this month. On the morning of my birthday, I looked at myself in the mirror, saw some new crow’s feet around my eyes, and grabbed the framed family photograph that was made when my father turned fifty (in 1985) to compare myself to him.

Jul 2018       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, The Belgian Pride of May 19 was held over a month ago. It was a pride that is memorable for several reasons. In the first place because of the Pride itself. For obscure reasons, the parade went through the narrow streets of Brussels’ centre.

Jul 2018       
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Just thirty minutes sailing from the former Dutch Antilles Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, you will find a president who not only lets his people starve, but also die from infectious diseases that are completely treatable, such as HIV.

Jul 2018       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, It is time for the first media review of 2018, with quotes from well-known or lesser-known Belgians - whether or not GLBTQ - about (homo) sexuality in the broadest sense of the word, and recorded in Flemish media.

Jun 2018       
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Our Pride, which due to its special character is often forgotten to be named in the list of the largest and most important festivals in the Netherlands, has now received such national recognition. At the end of March, I received word that we were nominated for best public event in the Netherlands.

Jun 2018       
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As we all know, Amsterdam is seen as the “Gay Capital of Europe,” probably for being the capital of first country to legalize gay marriage, and it’s high tolerance to all types of sexualities. Although my plan of moving to the Venice of the North was unexpected, so far I have had great adventures and lots of fun.

Jun 2018       
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Last April it was fifteen years ago my father died at the age of sixty-eight. My father loved reading and my mother, a former nun. He also loved his children, which manifested itself mainly in the chores he did for them. Less in showing physical affection.

May 2018       
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May to me is a special month. It was one year ago in this spring month that I entered into a relationship with my Syrian-Armenian friend. This year for the very first time, we stood hand in hand at the Remembrance of the Dead in Amsterdam. A day later, we celebrated freedom together.

May 2018       
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Most of us will not have offspring. However, it is our duty to ensure that we can pass on the rainbow in all its bright colors to future generations. With this in mind, I have been taking part in the festival consultation with the municipality of Amsterdam regarding a new events policy since 2014.

May 2018       
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Spring Has Arrived! In February and March, we have welcomed new members of A.S.V.Gay, almost all attending our introduction weekend. The theme was “Gays in Space,” and so the program was filled with activities such as lightsaber fighting and landing on the moon. Our traditional beer relay was also scheduled, including bananas and biscuits, as well as our infamous “wild” evening.

May 2018       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Through Facebook you read personal stories, outside of your circle of friends, for instance a shared appeal from a Fleming, a person in his fifties from the province of Antwerp. The man had met a man from West Africa a few years ago, his ideal husband and partner according to his post on Facebook. At his own expense he had the man come over to Belgium, in the hope and assumption that he would be able to marry him in no time.

May 2018       
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As Pride Amsterdam wants to be an open and attractive organization people are keen to join, I looked forward to the new and young faces in the hall during the kick-off of the twenty-third Canal Parade. At the same time I was gloomier than ever on stage.

Apr 2018       
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The municipal elections are just behind us. In my municipality, Zaanstad, sixteen parties participated for thirty-nine council seats. It was very difficult to make an informed choice. Not only am I confused, I am also split.

Apr 2018       
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Last year saw the thirtieth anniversary of the Homomonument, signifying that for three decades now, the call “Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen” (Such an endless desire for friendship) can be heard from the old centre of Amsterdam. In 1979, when the plans for the monument were just in the early stage, this line of poetry by Jacob Israël de Haan had already been used as the title of an anthology of Dutch homoerotic poetry.

Mar 2018       
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A.S.V.Gay’s first trip of the year! Last January, we went to Düsseldorf for a weekend with a group of about forty-five people. As this trip was in the form of a car rally, our destination was not known in advance. We only knew that the weekend’s theme would be “James Bond,” so naturally, most teams wore matching outfit.

Mar 2018       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, For a while, Flemish political TV journalist Boudewijn Van Spilbeeck became international news. This time as “Bo,” as of January 30th, Boudewijn is going through life as Bo. A remarkable story, especially if you have a lot of respect for Boudewijn’s long professional career and how he could keep this a secret for so long.

Mar 2018       
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I saw #ikbenhetzat (I’ve had enough) on the social media profiles of gay friends after a twenty-four-year-old gay man was beaten and robbed in Amsterdam.

Mar 2018       
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In awe, I was standing in front of a beautiful country house and looked again at the paper on which I had written down the address. Yes, the address was correct. “Just a minute...” I recognised Simon’s voice. He opened the door and said “Come in” with a big smile on his face. I entered a beautiful space. There were paintings on the walls, and there was a large crystal chandelier hanging in the middle of the room.

Mar 2018       
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In Belgium, the next municipal elections will take place on October 14. Perhaps not that important, you might think, but they will say something about the results of the next national elections in 2019. Left-wing versus right-wing (or vice-versa), just as in the Netherlands. There is no place in the elections for moderate opinions and election promises, even at a local and municipal level. The fight for a seat on the city council will be with boxing gloves on.

Feb 2018       
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It is a fact that people, especially the male population, spend less and less time reading. I find this incomprehensible. I myself do not feel comfortable when I am not tackling one or two books. How do people living in a bookless environment spend their time? Are they just sitting behind their computer or in front of the television?

Jan 2018       
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Those who follow the reports on the many accusations of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault must have experienced some mixed emotions. I don’t want to diminish the people who truly have had experienced something traumatic, for instance dealing with rape, but now, everything seems to be cross-border behavior.

Jan 2018       
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In Amsterdam on the night of November 20-21, two kissing women were assaulted in Amsterdam by a group of guys. The women, including Brazilian documentary filmmaker Denise Kelm Soares, were both in Amsterdam for the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA).

Jan 2018       
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It was the middle of the night. My father woke me up. “Come...,” he said, and lifted me out of my bed. I was six years old, and he carried me to my parents’ bedroom. I had no idea what was going on. My mother was sitting near the window that was open. She was sitting there with a blanked wrapped around her.

Dec 2017       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Believe it or not, 2017 is almost over. Time for the traditional review of articles published in the Flemish media in the second half of 2017, with homophobic and less homophobic statements by well-known and less well-known people.

Dec 2017       
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We have a new group of members each year. Students with different backgrounds, different studies, and with their own stories. Our student union has approximately 280 members.

Dec 2017       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Despite a busy work schedule, I always try to organize a little get-together with some friends during the week in Brussels. A moment to talk, to hear the latest gossip, to exchange ideas on politics, or learn something new.

Nov 2017       
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I was twenty-years-old, new in Amsterdam and looking for some nice people to hang out with. A student association sounded like a great plan. But an initiation where I would be yelled at about my incapable self and where I would have to stay standing for twelve long hours and then get applesauce in my hair? Nah...

Nov 2017       
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I ran into Johan at the Amstel Taveerne. “Are you here by yourself?,” I asked him. “Yes, tonight I am,” he said. “Nice to see you again. How have you been? You look great in that leather jacket. Want to go to my place? I don’t live far from here.” Well, I was certainly keen, but first I ordered us some more drinks. Two bar stools became available.

Nov 2017       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, The asylum and immigration crisis in Europe is not over by far. The distinction between refugees and economic or transit migrants may be quite clear on paper, but in practice it is quite complicated for officials to test the story of the refugee or migrant.

Nov 2017       
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With a few remaining beers running through my bloodstream and a light thumping feeling in my forehead, I look back at a successful night. The first open drink as the new chair of Amsterdam’s most fun GLBTQ+ student association, A.S.V.Gay, is an accomplished fact. The introduction period is in full swing. New members and everyone who is interested could get a first taste of our weekly drinks.

Oct 2017       
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Mark was very hairy, and we often met at the bar De Spijker. One night, we were at the bar with a pint. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of his chest hair. Big tufts came out of his shirt with two open buttons. “They often call me names,” Mark said. “I often hear such things as: ‘I have hedge-clippers at home.’ And so on.

Sep 2017       
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On Saturday morning, the 29th of July, while setting up in the rain, I was caught by a deeply sad feeling. It had been a difficult year full of obstacles and challenges, and that morning, everything seemed to fall through. I was soaked, but thankfully at one point the clouds dispersed, and the sun reappeared.

Sep 2017       
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“Don’t look! Don’t look yet.” Vincent poked me in the side. We were at the Monopole bar, popularly called “the moustache bin.” We all had a moustache in those days. But of course I did look. A hottie entered, with a very attractive face, a mischievous moustache, and in a tight jeans outfit. His shirt was wide open and showed an attractive hairy chest.

Aug 2017       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Brussels, or should I say some over-zealous French-speaking and Brussels-based interest groups in the GLBTI community, want to organize EuroPride in our capital in 2020. Bringing the EuroPride to Belgium is a good idea, but the thought of organizing it in Brussels gives me the chills.

Aug 2017       
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“That guy looks like he has a nice package,” Cees said in a naughty way while he rubbed his mustache. Jaap and I had to laugh. “And...” Jaap asked when the boy came closer, “what’s your name?” “Govert,” the guy answered. “It’s my first time here. Nice to meet you.”

Jul 2017       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, In the summer recess, we will look back on the first six months of 2017, with statements in the media by well-known and lesser-known Belgians about homosexuality, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, as recorded in the Flemish media.

Jul 2017       
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Although I do not know if there are any female readers of Gay News at all, I want to start with a “we’ve all been there.” It’s thirty degrees in the month of May. You’re really too busy to take it easy, but at thirty degrees Celsius you do not feel obliged to be active.

Jul 2017       
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Pride Amsterdam is the annual GLBTI festival to celebrate to be who you want to be, and to love who you want to love. Up to a year ago, this was self-evident for most straight journalists to such a degree, that to my chagrin, I was always asked whether a Pride in the Netherlands was still necessary.

Jul 2017       
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It was 1974. We didn’t have computers and cell phones yet, but what I did have was a subscription to “Binky,” a sex magazine for gays. It contained pictures of naked boys, some exciting stories, and contact adverts. I read those adverts and thought of the people placing them.

Jun 2017       
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Not coming out of the closet publicly with your sexual preference, not understanding what this feeling of being in love exactly means, or simply not being able to come out because of religion or social situations. We have all experienced it, hiding at the back of the closed closet.

Jun 2017       
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A recently published American study in the “Columbia Journal of Gender and Law” examines the extent to which - according to US legislation - assault, rape or the administration of intentional injuries related to stealthing can be determined. For those who are not familiar with the term: stealthing means that the man removes the condom during anal or vaginal penetration unnoticed.

Jun 2017       
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This month, I can only share my worries about the future, as the financial feasibility of the Amsterdam Pride in its present form is under pressure. If Amsterdam wants to celebrate a Pride in 2018, it will be necessary to take a look at how the city can embrace the festival in a different way.

Jun 2017       
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For a while, Peter Kogge was my friend. We sat next to each other in a class of the Albert Schweitzer School. The school still needed building when we had to go to primary school. Pending the completion of our new school, we were taught in an emergency school, two classrooms near the little river the Gouw in Zaandam. Finally our new school was ready, and the school was officially opened.

May 2017       
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After the huge success of the EuroPride and putting free-thinking Amsterdam and the Netherlands on the map, this year we will look inward to see what we really are all about. Your Pride and sharing that Pride. This is your Pride, her Pride, his Pride, our Pride. This is My Pride!

May 2017       
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Some weeks ago, A.S.V.Gay celebrated its seventh anniversary. We had a toast on our anniversary at our weakly drink with a shot of our notorious drink, the Troika. The Troika shot is inexplicably linked with A.S.V.Gay: pink, sweet, and a little spicy. We drink it too often, and drink too much of it, just as Sambuca gets too much when you are over twenty years of age.

May 2017       
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On May 7, we will know who the next French president will be for the coming five years. Polls indicate that, after the first round, only Emmanuel Macron – independent without a party in the centre of the political spectrum – and the far-right Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN) will go on to the second round. But polls are not always correct, as we now know all too well.

May 2017       
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I was in the Zandvoort dunes, naked. The sun was comfortably warming my skin, and occasionally I would get up to see if any guys were around. After a while, this man with a semi-erect cock approached me. He saw me too, and squatted in front of me, saying: “I’m Paul from Haarlem.”

May 2017       
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A remarkable and somewhat painful incident on March 10 in Tongeren’s criminal court. The twenty-three-year-old Abdullah Essah stood trial for the murder of the fifty-year-old gay man Erik Janssen. Janssen supposedly had paid Abdullah for sex, but when Janssen said he would make Abdullah’s homosexuality public, he apparently went nuts.

Apr 2017       
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“That is SO gay!” “But you don’t look lesbian.” “Well, they did a great job.” “Don’t you miss penises?” Or: “Bisexual? Can’t you choose?” We are all familiar with thinking in boxes. If my best friend, who is also extremely gay - here we go again - says something about my dyke blouse, we all get the joke. I define the blouse as a “just went wood chopping in the forest” blouse. Or perhaps not wood chopping, as that is bad for the environment.

Apr 2017       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Do I think that PrEP should be reimbursed by the RIZIV (the Belgian public health insurance)? It’s a trick question, as most people know what I do professionally, and how the subject sometimes involves me. They try to figure out my position on the subject, knowing that I’m gay. This is perhaps a reason to expect an appropriate answer from me?

Mar 2017       
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“Wanna go to my place later?” Paul whispered in my ear. We were at the Amstel Taveerne. “It is ten o’clock, and Wim is probably at home now.” I was fascinated by Paul’s large moustache. It was also obvious he was going to the gym regularly. At precisely that time, we got some more beers.

Mar 2017       
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A.S.V.Gay’s winter months are almost, but not entirely behind us. After all the wonderful activities organized by the committee members over the past few months, it was our job as the board to put the members in the limelight at the Day of the Committee. The day is meant as an opportunity to give thanks to it.

Mar 2017       
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