Dutch increasingly positive about LGBTI people


Dutch people's opinions bout lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are increasingly positive, social and cultural planning office SCP said in a new report published on Thursday. Despite this many Dutch still have problems with seeing same-sex couples kissing, Het Parool  and NOS report.

Currently 74 percent of Dutch are positive about homosexuality and bisexuality, compared to 53 percent in 2006. In 2006 around 15 percent thought negatively about LGBTI people, now it's 6 percent. "The attitude is more positive in all sections of the population, even in groups where people traditionally were negative about homosexuality and bisexuality, such as older or religious people. School pupils are also increasingly positive about homosexuality." the SCP noted. 

A fifth of school pupils think it impossible to come out as gay or a lesbian at their school, the SCP found. Just over half of secondary school pupils think that they can be honest about their sexual identity at school, though mostly to their friends. Three quarters of pupils don't mind having gay or lesbian friends. 

Yet many Dutch, both adults and school kids still don't like seeing same sex couples kissing. 29 percent find two men kissing offensive, and 20 percent feel the same about kissing women. Among school kids those percentages are 30 and 19 percent respectively. More than a fifth of Dutch said that they have more trouble with men walking hand-in-hand down the street than a man and a woman doing so. 73 percent of Dutch support equal rights for homosexual and heterosexual couples when it comes to adoption, though 13 percent are against it.

Population groups that think most negatively about homosexuality and bisexuality are Protestants, members of other religions and people with a non-western background, according to the SCP. "The differences between the population groups have become smaller in recent years", the researchers add.

LGBTI interest organization COC feels ambivalent about the increasing acceptance figures. "It is simply beautiful that so many people are positive, but at the same time you see that people still have trouble when LGBTI people are visible", chairman Tanja Ineke said to Het Parool.

That this is still a problem in the Netherlands is demonstrated by the negative reaction to clothing chain SuitSupply's ad campaign 'find your perfect fit'. The campaign consisted of billboards and bus stop ads showing two men kissing or otherwise being affectionate with each other. When the campaign launched in March, dozens of these ads were vandalized. 

Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science, which also covers Emancipation, sees that there are still areas where improvement is needed. "The good news is like a thin layer of varnish. Underneath that is the raw reality that people accept homosexuality as long as it does not become visible. As long as it stays behind closed doors. Apparently you may be [homosexual], but you may not be seen!", she said to Het Parool.

In Europe, the residents of Iceland are most positive about homosexuality. The Netherlands is in second place. 

Earlier this week it was revealed that the Netherlands dropped out of the top 10 of the Rainbow Europe Index 2018, which ranks the European countries with the best regulated LGBTI rights. According to the researchers, the Netherlands dropped out of the top 10 mainly because the rights of trans and intersexual people are not yet well regulated in the country. For example, the Netherlands does not explicitly prohibit discrimination against these groups.