1. What is your name and age?

My name is Tom and I am 36.

  1. How long have you been involved with COC Haaglanden?

I started as a volunteer at COC Haaglanden at the beginning of 2022, just after the COVID-19 lockdown was over. Or was it 2021? I'm somewhat chronologically handicapped. 

And as a student social work At the age of 24, I already had contact with the then social worker of the COC in connection with my research into the importance of a safe social climate for the development of the sexual identity of “HoLeBi young people”, as it was then called. . Surprisingly… quite important!  

  1. Why are you a member of COC Haaglanden/what does COC Haaglanden mean to you?

I mainly knew the LGBTQIA+ landscape as a kind of hunting ground. Going out or online with specific goals and thoughts. That can be a lot of fun, but it also made me curious about a different kind of connection with my community. For me, the COC felt much more like an opportunity to really get to know people in a way that did not expect direct romantic or sexual contact.

For me, the COC is a cozy place and a... safespace. It is a space to be your authentic self, to get to know regular faces, but also to meet new people regularly, regardless of what you find attractive or how you identify yourself. 

  1. What do you do at COC Haaglanden? E.g. Volunteer, you go to activities and/or you often come for drinks.

When I registered with the desire to volunteer, many options were discussed with me. This includes communication and social media, information and bar work. Ultimately I opted for the bar during the diner. The catering industry is an old love and a great way to make contact with people in an accessible way. Even outside of volunteer work, I like to have a bite to eat or have a drink on Friday evenings.

  1. What is the first thing you would implement if you were in charge of the world?

I would appoint wiser people to delegate my responsibilities to. I'm glad I don't have to make choices for others. 

If I could steer humanity, I would like to do so in the direction of less anger and judgment. Isn't diversity something to celebrate? It would be boring if everyone had the same approach to life. And if “different” doesn't detract from you or your life, then I certainly don't understand why you should judge it or why you should feel angry about it. I think life is much more beautiful when you spend your time and energy on positivity and celebrating each other's differences.

  1. What's the nicest gift you've ever received?

Hmmmm… good question. I once received a beautifully illustrated version of Charles Darwin's “On the Origin of Species”. At the age of 7, I was ecstatic about the SEGA 16 bit I got for my birthday. But I still think, perhaps a bit vaguely, that the best gift is the people who really know me and see the value in that without wishing that I would be different.

  1. If you were to go to a desert island for the rest of your life and were only allowed to take one item with you, what would it be (and why)?

I know it should be for the rest of my life, but can I still have a satellite phone with a full battery? Then I can try to escape. Or then I can let people know where I am stuck and people can come by regularly with further facilities.  

  1. What's the best vacation you've ever had?

Ooh, I love to travel! I lived in Ghana and went on holiday there a few times. I loved Hong Kong because of the beautiful mix between modern and traditional. I thought Cape Town was a beautiful city to visit. And last year I was able to see Jamaica and South Korea. I can not choose. The nice thing about traveling and holidays is the opportunity to see and learn a lot of new things.

  1. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I would like to offer some perspective. The first time you find yourself in sackcloth and ashes, you have not yet experienced the possibility of getting out of it again. Then you really learn and experience that after valleys there are also peaks. And if other people explain that to you, it still doesn't register. That was my experience anyway. Maybe your future self is the only one you can assume that from? On the other hand, we are shaped by all our experiences and I am happy with who I am. Maybe speaking is silver, but silence is really golden in this case?

10. Who do you want to pass the baton to?

I select the one and only Inge! Love goes through the stomach and that is someone to love! 

You cannot reply to this post

Older posts