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COC Award for Kevin Jennings and Hans Verhoeven

by Redaktie in Scene , 06 March 2019

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

This year, COCs Bob Angelo Medal has been awarded to LGBTI activist Hans Verhoeven and Kevin Jennings, initiator of the worldwide GSA movement at schools. COC President Astrid Oosenbrug presented the medals to the winners at COCs sold-out True Colors event at Paradiso Amsterdam.

In her New Year's speech in Paradiso, Oosenbrug called on the National Police and the Public Prosecution Service to tackle violence and discrimination against LGBTI people more firmly. She now has discussed the matter with police chief Erik Akerboom and the Chair of the Board of Procurators General of the Netherlands Gerrit van der Burg.

Kevin Jennings

The American Kevin Jennings received the Bob Angelo Penning for his great contribution to the improvement of the position of LGBTI youth in schools worldwide. In 1988, Jennings founded the world's first Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA). GSAs are clubs of LGBTIs and allies working together on acceptance at schools. Jennings started an international movement with this.

Thanks in part to the Gay and Lesbian School Education Network (GLSEN) established by Jennings, thousands of schools around the world founded GSAs. In the Netherlands, 80% of the secondary schools have a GSA. GSAs have a demonstrable positive effect on the position of LGBTI students.

Also, as a member of the President Obama's administration, Jennings was committed to acceptance at school. Up to 2017, he was the Director of the Arcus Foundation, one of the largest US funds for LGBTI goals.

"A great honour from the oldest gay organization in the world," says Kevin Jennings in Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant about the Bob Angelo Medal. “It can be compared to the Gay Nobel Prize.”

Hans Verhoeven

Activist Hans Verhoeven has organized and initiated an impressive series of LGBTI events, initiatives and demonstrations over the past four decades. Thus, he is a driving force for the Dutch LGBTI movement.

In the early 1990s, for instance, he was one of the initiators of EuroPride, the European Pride event that is held in a different city every year. He organized EuroPride in London, Berlin, and in 1994 in Amsterdam. Nowadays, he is one of the driving forces behind the Pride Walk, the parade for LGBTI acceptance and human rights that forms the starting point of Pride Amsterdam.

Among the many demonstrations organized or co-organized by Verhoeven are meetings against LGBTI prosecution in Chechnya, as well as the recent Celebration of Love against the Nashville Declaration. He also organized numerous LGBTI events, such as Leather Pride.

Bob Angelo Medal

Bob Angelo was the pseudonym of Niek Engelschman, in 1949 the founder and first president of gay interest group COC. The Bob Angelo Medal was introduced in 1991. Previous winners were Erwin Olaf, Boris Dittrich, Paul de Leeuw, Joke Swiebel, Hans van Manen, Judith Schuyf, Andreas Burnier, Arie Boomsma, and André van Duin.

In her New Year's speech, COC chairman Oosenbrug called on the Dutch Lower House to vote for a ban on intersex and transgender discrimination in the Equal Treatment Act (AWGB).

She also called on the Chair of the Board of Procurators General of the Netherlands Gerrit van der Burg and Police Chief Akerboom to take a firmer approach to violence and discrimination against LGBTIs. "I will explain to them that swearing using phrases such as 'kankerhomo' truly is homophobia. Also, I will point out that 10 convictions for LGBTI discrimination per year is far too little,” Oosenbrug states in her New Year's message.



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