Dutch municipalities trying to dismantle gay cruising spots

Rainbow flag
Rainbow flag. chtfj21 / Wikimedia Commons

At least 10 municipalities across the Netherlands are trying to get rid of gay cruising spots in an effort to reduce intimacies in public parks, the Volkskrant reports. The municipalities are doing so by placing fences,cutting down bushes and fining public nudity, according to the newspaper.

Closing down gay cruising spots is a problem municipalities have been struggling with for years, according to the newspaper. Closing them is complicated because sex outdoors is not illegal, though 'violating decency' is. In practice this means you are allowed to have sex outdoors, as long as you are not visible to others.

According to foundation Platform Keelbos, an organization that stands up for the rights of gay cruising spot visitors, municipalities have been trying to close a number of cruising spots since 2015. The organization mentions Engelermeer in Den Bosch, the area around parking lot Ginkelse Zand next to the A12 in Ede, lake Kibbelkoele in Coevorden and the Kraaijenbergse lake in the municipality of Cuijk, among others.

According to Juul van Hoof, program leader of LGBT policy at knowledge center Movisie, gay cruising spots is a controversial topic in many communities because it involves sex and sex between men. According to Van Hoof, gay cruising spots exist due to a demand created by a still existing taboo on homosexuality. Many cruising spot visitors are men who still keep their sexual identity secret. "By closing these places, you don't take away the men's need."

Van Hoof thinks that municipalities should focus on combating nuisance rather than acting against the spots directly. This can be done by planting bushes to shield the places better and by placing bins to reduce litter. 

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