LGBTQ+ interest group calls for action after multiple homophobic incidents last week
LGBTQIA+ interest group COC Nederland called for more action against hate crimes after several homophobic incidents in the Netherlands in the past week. “Hate speech leads to hate crime, And that is exactly what you see happening now,” COC spokesperson Philip Tijsma told AD.
In the past week, employees of a drag bar were attacked in Groningen, a COC volunteer was attacked in Eindhoven during a meeting for teens in the community, and homophobic chants were clearly audible during a match between Spakenburg and PSV.
“The incidents you mention are horrific, outrageous,” said Tijsma. “In Eindhoven, children under the age of 19 were harassed, and someone was even assaulted. In Groningen, several employees were assaulted after a drag show. How do you wrap your mind around it?”
Two of the three recent incidents were football-related, Tijsma said. And while the football world is taking initiatives to stand up for equal treatment for everyone - for example, with the OneLove campaign - it can do so much more, according to the COC.
“It starts with the anti-gay chants, which are clearly audible to everyone, and which are tolerated as if it were normal. But that is not normal at all,” Tijsma said. “Make it crystal clear as football clubs and association: we do not accept LGBTQIA+ hatred. And don’t just stop matches for racist chants or jungle noises, but also for anti-gay chants.”
According to the COC, the number of people who think negatively about sexual diversity and the LGBTQIA+ community is not necessarily growing. “That in itself is reassuring. But the small group that does have a negative attitude towards us is getting louder. It often comes from an extremely conservative and orthodox angle, without me wanting to name names. The fuss they consciously create has a clear effect. Words have consequences.”