There were plenty of events organized by the many committees and the board of A.S.V.Gay in the months of May and June. There were the drinks with our sister associations in Groningen and dancing at “Sensation Pink! Vol. III” in Exit Café. Singing at an open mic night at Café Montmartre or participating in a pub quiz at Bar Buka. A.S.V. Gay was present at several hot spots in the Netherlands.
However, we did not limit ourselves to our familiar country of base. A delegation of thirty members went to Milan for four days in the middle of May. With the intention of seeing the most beautiful cultural sights and getting a taste of Italian night-life, we also participated in a fantastic urban game in the city center and had a traditional pub crawl and a cosy pub quiz planned.
Milan is known as the bustling fashion capital of Lombardy, and we certainly had no complaints about the Milan weather around this time of the year. However, the main reason for choosing Milan as the destination for our trip were the numerous bars, hotels, parties and cultural events aimed towards GLBTQ+ youth, as well as Milan being known as the most GLBTQ+ friendly city in Italy.
But how GLBTQ+ friendly is Italy exactly, and what about general gay emancipation there?
Italy was the last country in Western Europe that allowed registered partnerships for gays in 2016. Although the bill was accepted by a large majority at the time and was celebrated as an excellent start, the human rights situation of the GLBTQ+ community in Italy seems to have come to a halt. According to the “ILGA-Europe Rainbow Map,” which maps the legal and political human rights situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual people in Europe, both in 2016 and in 2019, Italy came thirty-fifth out of a total of forty-nine European countries.
What the “ILGA-Europe Rainbow Map” also revealed is, that in several countries, for the first time in ten years there is not only a standstill, but a visible relapse in policies that guarantee the equality and human rights situation of GLBTQ+ people. The result is an increasingly unsafe and unsustainable environment for GLBTQ+ organizations and human rights defenders in a growing number of countries.
With Pride Amsterdam around the corner, as an GLBTQ+ association we believe it is important to emphasize that there is no time to lose. Following the theme of Pride Amsterdam, we say “remember the past, create the future.” There is no better day than today to give GLBTQ+ equality a priority!
Again, over these past months, we fully enjoyed the many different events organized, with the long trip to Milan as a wonderful highlight. Time to look forward to the months of July and August, the time for Pride Amsterdam!
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Liselot Jacobs is board member of the student body ASV Gay. See www.asvgay.nl for more information.