Most candidates for the Zoetermeer city council believe that the LGBT people should do more for their own emancipation during the election debate on 13 March. But a Pink Saturday in Zoetermeer certainly has opportunities.

Jakobien Groeneveld of GroenLinks thinks it is a matter of concern that there are schools that assume that homosexuality does not occur in their school. 'But as a municipality you can't impose anything on a school. We can, however, enter into discussions with the schools about this point.' The Local Educational Agenda is an instrument for this, says Mariëtte van Leeuwen (List Hilbrand Nawijn). The frontrunner funds that Zoetermeer receives went to information activities, among other things. 'Schools have indeed started working on this', says Margot Kraneveldt (PvdA). In general, however, the feeling is that education about sexual diversity is a national topic in which the municipality hardly plays a role.

Most participants in this pink debate do not show great commitment to pink topics. There is a lot of chatting and laughing among themselves. People do not really listen to each other and rarely look for opportunities to put forward their own point of view. Since most candidates explain that the policy is aimed at all groups, this means for the future that not only the pink community will have to count on little attention from the city council. During the council meetings, some councilors will mainly be busy outdoing each other with witticisms.

Bureau of Discrimination Affairs
But how well is it organized in Zoetermeer? For example in the field of safety? Can LGBT people tell their story if, for example, they are being bullied in their living environment? Robin Paalvast (D66): 'The police have followed training to better deal with reporting discrimination.' Margot Kraneveldt wonders whether that is enough. 'There are signs that people don't feel taken seriously. The security monitor shows that many people do not report at all. Then you as a municipality have to take action.' Marijke van der Meer (Zo Zoetermeer) does not agree with her. 'The Discrimination Affairs Office should take care of that. They receive a subsidy from us from the frontrunner funds.'

The municipality apparently does not deal with home care either. If home care workers treat a pink elderly person with disrespect, they should just bite the bullet. “You are so in the victim role. You have to be more resilient', says Van der Meer, who uses home care herself. “If a home care worker makes weird comments, just tell her not to interfere. Or the client submits a complaint to the home care organisation.' But training employees to deal with sexual diversity is nonsense. 'The training courses should ensure that,' says Robin Paalvast. Ron Verhaak (Trots Zoetermeer), who is a member of a client council of a healthcare institution, finds it sad when employees react in this way. 'That is discussed in the client council. But we don't get any complaints, so what can we do?' A Pink Carpet is also not a good idea. 'There are institutions that want this, but the bar is set high and there is not always a budget for it,' says Klaasjan de Jong (CDA). 'But they do want to organize something for LGBT people, and I think that's positive. Perhaps the COC should relax the conditions for a Pink Carpet.'

Pink Saturday
At the end of the evening, a pink point of light appears. Jakobien Groeneveld does feel like bringing a Pink Saturday to Zoetermeer. The council wants to support that. 'If it comes from the organizations themselves, and it yields something for Zoetermeer, then I'm in favour', says Marc Rosier (VVD). Elmer Tan (List Tan) also says 'yes' to a Pink Saturday. There appears to be a 'bubble pot' for supporting events. Fred van Elleswijk (SP): 'They can be addressed. But there are also other subsidy pots, which you can use as well.' A resident of Zoetermeer says: 'There is little to do here. Sounds like something to me, a Pink Saturday in Zoetermeer.'

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