On paper, the Netherlands is an LGBTI-friendly country, but in practice, LGBTIs do not all feel free to be who they are. This is the conclusion of a survey by TV News programme EenVandaag among three thousand LGBTIs.
"A very recognizable situation," said COC President Astrid Oosenbrug in a response. She calls for more and better attention to LGBTI acceptance in schools and wants Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus (Justice) to do more to improve the safety of LGBTI people.
The research shows that one in four LGBTI people experienced negative behaviour in the past year due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This usually concerns verbal abuse or annoying jokes, but a total of 20% were threatened (9%), spat at (6%) or beaten (5%).
Most LGBTIs (59%) think that the acceptance of their community in the Netherlands is going well. Many respondents do comment on this. In terms of legislation, they think it is going well, but there is a lack of acceptance below the surface. According to 61% of the LGBTI people surveyed, it is a problem to be open about your orientation in the Netherlands.
One respondent says: Officially, it is well regulated and accepted in the Netherlands, but in practice, many LGBTI people are confronted with a society that is not that tolerant."
Intolerance in practice ensures that many LGBTI people are reluctant when out and about. For example, 58% of respondents do not feel free to walk hand in hand with a partner. "That is still being looked at and reacted to in a strange way,” a panel member says. Among non-LGBTI people, the hesitation is significantly less to go hand in hand. Of the entire panel, 23 percent prefer not to.
In addition to this, 63% of LGBTIs do not feel free to kiss in public. One participant says: "I'm not giving my date a good-bye kiss at the bus stop because of the bystanders." This share is also considerably higher than among non-LGBTI people: 31 percent.
A substantial group of Dutch people have difficulty with people who do not adhere to traditional gender roles. For example, one in five (18%) find it hard to take when men behave "feminine," and one in six (14%) find it hard when women behave "masculine".
21,450 members of the panel took part in this survey, which was held from 3-15 July 2019, and presented in August, including 2,993 LGBTI people. The results are representative of six variables, namely age, gender, level of education, marital status, voting behaviour and distribution across the country.