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2016 in a Nutschell

by Redaktie in History & Politics , 08 February 2017

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
length: 15 minuten

News comes and goes, usually only the 'main' news-items are remembered, such as the Orlando shootings. But as the smaller news items usually bear as much sorrow and greef as for the people concerning it, below our yearly news overview, so we will not forget.


Complaints Office for Problems with Gender Registration

The Kafkabrigade founded a complaints office to map gender registration difficulties. It was founded at the request of the Ministries of Safety & Justice, and Education, Culture and Science. For its complaints office, the Kafkabrigade is looking for stories of civilians who experienced problems with gender registration. The Kafkabrigade will then map the problems and possible solutions with the persons concerned on the basis of their stories.

Sex or gender registration (M/F) is still mandatory for many services, both with government and private organisations, even though this registration often is unnecessary for delivering or receiving that service. COC Netherlands has been arguing for the abolition of compulsory gender registration in official documentation, such as passports.

Internship Rejected for being Gay

Bas from Drachten was rejected for an internship because he is a homosexual. He reported this on Facebook, where his message has now been shared over 70,000 times. The COC has offered Bas help in fighting this decision. According to the interest group it is absurd and illegal to refuse an internship or work on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.


Solitaries Given in the Case of the Death of Les Strijder

The court in Lelystad has convicted two former inhabitants of Lelystad to one year of solitary confinement in the cold case pertaining to the death of Les Strijder. The two brothers were convicted for battery. Strijder later died from the effects of the abuse. According to the court, the men robbed and abused their victim 13 years ago at parking lot Bosberg, a gay meeting place along the A27 near Hilversum. Mr Strijder died of heart failure caused by the stress that was the result of the violent robbery.

In total, five men supposedly were involved in the abuse of Mr Strijder. The case against one of suspects was barred because he was a minor at the time. Two other suspects were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Compensation for Turkish Gay Referee

The Turkish national football association has to pay a former referee EUR 7,300 for discharging him because of his orientation. The association denies that he was let go because he is gay, but that his "shortcomings" were at fault here. The former referee, Halil Ibrahim Dincdag, sees the verdict as a victory in the fight for gay rights and against homophobia. Yet he appeals, as he finds the awarded amount too low. He had demanded nearly EUR 35,000 and also wants to continue his career as a referee.

In 2014, Dincdag received the Respect Award for his work in the fight against LGBT phobia and LGBT acceptance in sports from former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit. Dincdag officiated in the Turkish first division. He was let go in 2009.    


Italy Protest for Equal Gay Rights

In Italy, thousands of people have demonstrated in favour of equal rights for homosexuals. The demonstrations were held in at least 80 cities and villages. The largest demonstration, with several thousands, took place near the Pantheon in Rome. The Senate is due to vote for the very first time on registered Partnership, creating the right to adopt the child of a same-sex partner. In cities like Rome, Milan and Florence such a registration exists, but there is no nation-wide regulation in place.

Italy is the last western European country not to recognise civil unions or gay marriage. Italian politics is extremely divided on the matter, also within the centre left Democratic Party of Prime Minister Renzi, who submitted the proposal. The Vatican is firmly opposed. Pope Franciscus stated that homosexuals should be treated with respect, but that marriage and official partnerships were something for a man and a woman.


First Case of HIV Despite PrEP

For the first time ever, a case has been made public in which PrEP did not work. A Canadian man was infected with HIV in spite of dedicated use of PrEP. However, according to experts, it is nothing to be alarmed about. The high effectiveness of PrEP is still undisputed, in spite of this one exceptional case. The case was presented at CROI 2016, a leading congress on HIV and related matters. It concerns a 43-year-old gay man who had been using PrEP with high compliance.

Blood test revealed that he had been taking his medication following his daily prescription. It is striking that he contracted HIV. People were infected by the virus in various trials, but test always revealed that they had not taken their Truvada pills regularly or not at all.

Russians Want to Cure Homosexuals

The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation has proposed for hospitals and psychiatric institutions to set up examination rooms to treat homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders. Health officials describe the rooms as part of a treatment for gender identity disorders, and disorders of sexual orientation, which they describe as mental and behavioural disorders. These examination rooms would be set up in hospitals and psychiatric clinics, where patients can be advised on gender identification and sexual orientation "problems," and other deviating sexual preferences, such as paedophilia.

A dildo needs to be present in each room, but it is unclear why. Mentioned as well are diagnoses and treatments of children and teenagers with sexual "abnormalities," and consults for boys on sexual education and gender knowledge. The Russian Ministry of Health states that it first wants to consult the population before setting up these rooms.


Only one out of then Amsterdam LGBTs Report Unsafe Situation

Of the respondents in the LGBT AmsterdamPinkPanel, 25% has had to deal with an unsafe situation in 2014. It mostly concerned verbal abuse and / or experiencing a hostile atmosphere. Only one in ten LGBTs actually reported the incident to the police. This is the result of the annual neighbourhood survey 2015 of COC Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) by the AmsterdamPinkPanel (APP). With one third of the group experiencing an unsafe situation, there were no bystanders present.

When bystanders were present, only 17% of bystanders tried to help the victim(s), for example by verbally or physically trying to support the victim or alerting the police. A small percentage of respondents was also pushed, beaten, spit at or threatened.

No Separate Shelter for LGBT Asylum Seekers
Gay interest group COC Netherlands is extremely disappointed that the Dutch cabinet will not provide separate and safe shelter for LGBT asylum seekers in distress, as the Dutch Lower House requested. This is the response of COC Netherlands in a letter to State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff. According to the COC, the lack of safe and separate shelter will lead to dangerous situations for LGBT asylum seekers. In its letter, the cabinet writes that it will arrange separate shelter locations for discrimination offenders.

The COC is in favour of dealing with offenders harshly, when possible, but separate offender shelter alone will not solve the problems of LGBT asylum seekers. When LGBTs are discriminated in shelters, the perpetrators often are not in the picture, and therefore cannot be dealt with. For instance, it is still unknown who stabbed a knife in the mattress of a gay asylum seeker in Heumensoord, and who placed notes on the bed of another asylum seeker with the text ‘kill gay’.


Gay Activists Murdered in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh the gay activists Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mojumdar were killed with chopping knives, most likely by Islamic activists. COC chairwoman Tanja Ineke speaks of ‘an abomination’. “It deeply affects me that our brothers and sisters, who are fighting for love in Bangladesh, are confronted with such extreme hatred and violence,” Ineke notes. “It looks like extremist wanted to silence the still young gay movement, but they will not succeed. The fight for gay human rights is unstoppable.”

COC is in contact with gay activists in Bangladesh and the Dutch government to see how the movement in Bangladesh can be best supported.

Xulhaz Mannan and Tonoy Mojumdar were killed with chopping knives in their apartment in Dhaka. The five or six murderers accessed the apartment by pretending to be couriers delivering a package. One of the guards of the apartment was injured and admitted to hospital. According to witnesses, the killers yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) leaving the apartment.

Ultra-Orthodox Jew Found Guilty of Murder during Gay Pride

The extremist and ultra-orthodox Jew Yishai Shlissel was found guilty of murder and six murder attempts. On June 30, 2015, he attacked six people during the Jerusalem Gay Pride, after which a 16-year-old girl died of her injuries. The degree of the punishment has not been established yet.

Attacks of homosexuals and transgenders are more of an exception in Israel, where homosexuality has been legal since 1988. Since 1994, same-sex couples are also legal and can also adopt children (as of 2008). Since 2006 foreign same-sex marriages are also recognised, and as of 2014, same-sex couples can use surrogate mothers. There are also laws in place that protect against discrimination, and transgenders can legally change their sex.


Education Minister Calls Orthodox Christian Organisation to Account

At short notice, Education Minister Jet Bussemaker wants to meet with Hart van Homo’s. She is surprised that with subsidy money, this orthodox-Christian organisation is offering a course in which homosexuals are advised not to have sex.

Hart van Homo's LOGO Hart van Homo’s is a new organisation that introduced itself on June 4 at the Youth Day organised by Christian radio and television broadcaster EO. That day, the organisation's website was also launched. The organisation is meant for youth from reformatory or evangelical circles who chose not to have sex on grounds of the Bible. This is also the focal point of the founders of Hart van Homo’s.

First Pink Passkey Awarded to a Hospital

The ultimate guarantee of excellence for‘geriatric care, the Pink Passkey,’ has another first: the Radboud University Hospital in Nijmegen has been awarded the Pink Passkey (Roze Loper) by Roze 50+, ANBO and COC.
The Pink Passkey is a quality mark for LGBT friendly organizations that want the best for lesbian women, homosexual men, bisexuals and transgenders. By means of the Pink Passkey Tolerance Scan®, the Radboud University Hospital has successfully gone through a process to increase social acceptance of sexual diversity. This scan was developed in geriatric care, and has now also become available for social work, the care for the disabled, and hospital care.


Amsterdam Gay Couple Receives Death Threats from Neighbours

According to the couple living in the New-West district in Amsterdam, the harassment by their neighbours started in spring. "We have Moroccan-Dutch neighbours, who are of the opinion that two cohabiting men is simply not done. All homosexuals need to die," Daan Winter-Stroman reports on their ravings in a message on Facebook. According to Daan, everything that has been said by the neighbours is 'too disgusting and beyond description'.

And there is more than that: "Our dog cannot enter the garden because they are throwing sharp objects in it (…) The windows are bombarded by rocks, and they keep us awake at night." Initially, the couple was over the moon with their 'wonderful ground floor flat and beautiful garden,' but after many threats and intimidations, the couple decided to leave Amsterdam for their own safety. They say it is harder than expected, as they cannot get urgency on the housing list.

Transgender People Are Self-Medicating

Patient Organization Transvisie presented its research into care for transgender people in the Netherlands. The research specifically studied the consequences of the long waiting list in the Netherlands. On average, patients wait 18-24 months for help. 26% of transgender women and 7% of transgender men are self-medicating, with serious consequences.

The research shows that 25% of transgender people that is self-medicating had severe medical problems: heart palpitations, depression, extreme osteoporosis, anxiety syndromes, sleeping problems, and in one case even a cerebral infarction.

Transvisie Chairwoman Eveline van den Boom calls these results “alarming and distressing”. According to her, the waiting for a psychologist to determine whether someone is suffering enough to receive hormones is “a completely outdated idea if the person has already made the decision to start hormones”.  


Amsterdam Ahead in the Fight against AIDS/HIV

Alongside four other cities in the world, Amsterdam is ahead in the fight against AIDS/HIV. The initiative Fast Track Cities announced this result at AIDS2016, the international AIDS conference held in Durban, South-Africa. Of all the new HIV infection in the world, a staggering 89% is registered in a city. AIDS is truly urban guerrilla warfare. Half the world's population now lives in urban areas, and it is expected that in 2030, this has grown to 60%. The cities in low and middle income countries grow fastest. The success of the AIDS response thus depends mainly on what happens in the cities.

“A city has a unique and important part to play in the fight against AIDS,” President of Aids Fonds-STOP AIDS NOW!-Soa Aids Nederland Louise van Deth notes. “In cities, it is easier to reach the right people at risk of contracting HIV, such as young people, men who have sex with men, transgenders, migrants, sex workers, and drug users.”

Photo of Banned Istanbul Pride Wins Pride Photo Award 2016

A photo of the Turkish riot police preventing the Pride Parade in Istanbul in June 2016 is the winner of the sixth edition of the International Pride Photo Award. The photo was taken by the Turkish photo journalist Akin Celiktas. The award ceremony and official opening of the accompanying exhibition will be held on September 16, 2016 in Amsterdam's Oude Kerk. Photographer Akin Celiktas photographed how a young woman defies an increasingly conservative culture.

We see her on the side of the road, while the riot police march by. The Istanbul Pride Parade, which was scheduled on June 26, was banned for ‘security reasons’. In spite of the ban, demonstrators showed up and spread out in small groups to show visibility as an alternative to the parade. The police eventually dispersed them with tear gas and rubber bullets.


Students from gay student's union in Delft verbally abused and spit at

The Delft police have fined three men for disturbing an introductory activity of the Delft gay student's union Outsite. The students were verbally abused and spat at. Because of the start of the academic year and the arrival of new first-year students at TU Delft in September, activities took place all week. The youth division of the Delft Work Group Homosexuality (DWH) organised a Gay Bingo on the Lange Geer in the centre of Delft.

'A group of about five to six men of in between 16 and 20 years of age was verbally abusing the visitors,' DWH chairman Bram van Meurs explains. It occurred around 23:00 after the bingo had ended. 'We were clearing out our stuff when the group appeared.'

Bisexuals more often in the Closet

“It's just a phase.” “You cannot choose”. Or: “You're gay, but you don't realise it yet.” These are just some of the many examples of the numerous prejudices bisexuals have to deal with. Emiel Maliepaard (27) did his PhD on these prejudices for his social geography degree at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He interviewed 32 bisexuals in the age bracket 18-35 and asked some of them to keep a diary to describe their experiences. It revealed that bisexuals have to deal with persistent prejudices.

“Both homosexuals and heterosexuals find this group hard to take. They usually think you're either gay or heterosexual and, according to the bisexuals themselves, they do not think there are other preferences. It is seen as a phase,” Maliepaard notes. Partly because of these prejudices, bisexuals are too afraid to express themselves, Malipaard says. The group therefore is much bigger than is visible: according to the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) 3% of both men and women consider themselves bisexual, while 10% of men and 12% of women have had sex with a man and a woman.


Drag Queens Harassed in Maastricht

After performing in Café Rosé of COC Limburg, Lady Galore and two other drag queens were harassed by youth on the Markt in Maastricht. The way police officers intervened in this situation, are reason for questions by COC Limburg and MP Ahmed Marcouch. After their performance at COC Limburg, the drag queens Lady Galore, Delicious and Patty Pam ran into twelve tipsy youths. In passing, the drag queens were called names - ‘filthy faggot’ and ‘don't touch me before I get AIDS’, was uttered. “Two of them even spat at me,” Delicious stated.

This led to a skirmish with pushing, and one of the drag queens was pounded. Two police officers rushed to the scene and separated the parties, sending the drag queens on their way. The drag queens resented especially the latter. They are of the opinion that they were the victims, and that the police should have protected them. They also resent a remark made by one of the police officers. Apparently he said: “What did you expect, being dressed like that”.

UN Appointment Independent Expert for LGBT Human Rights

The Human Rights Council of the UN has taken an historic decision with the appointment of the Thai human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn as the first ever Independent Expert for LGBTs. He will be in charge of combating violence and discrimination against LGBTs, and the promotion of advancing their human rights. The appointment of the Independent Expert was achieved after years of fighting for this by LGBT movements within the UN, including COC Netherlands.

Vitit Muntarbhorn (63) is a Professor of International Law at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and is regarded internationally as a human rights expert. The Thai had previously been involved in UN surveys in Syria, and was a special observer for North-Korea. Moreover, in 2006 he was closely involved in the drafting of the Yogyakarta Principles - the blueprint for LGBT human rights.

Professor Muntarbhorn will now get a mandate to investigate human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity for the next three years. He also gets the task of promoting the implementation of LGBT human rights, for instance through dialogue and giving advice on this in cooperation with UN Member States.




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