“In the Netherlands, people realize that the way in which the LGBTIQ+ community is treated is an important measure of how free a society is. It is important that we as a community emphasize that every year.” That is what Remy Bonny of the Belgian company Forbidden Colors said during the May 4 commemoration at the International Gay Monument in The Hague. His organization works internationally for equal rights for LGBTIQ+.

Romke Verf of police network Roze in Blauw The Hague and the Hague alderman Arjen Kapteins of Social Affairs and Employment also spoke during the commemoration, which could be physically attended again for the first time in two years. The commemoration was made possible in part by the municipality of The Hague and can be viewed via: https://youtu.be/_fqjPSKFhIc

Bonny warned: “As a European LGBTIQ+ community, we have been sounding the alarm since 2012. Then the Russian LGBTIQ+ community was like the canary in the coalmine. They have been made second class citizens by the Putin regime. We now live in the most volatile and insecure Europe since the Second World War. We used to be like the canary in the coal mine, now we have to escape from the coal mine.”

He has indications that Putin's regime would be out to kill leaders of the LGBTIQ+ community in Ukraine, if his raid there is a success. In collaboration with partner organizations, Forbidden Colors has already been able to provide safe accommodation for more than 500 LGBTIQ+ refugees from the Ukraine. Forbidden Colors has also, through contacts at the European Commission, put pressure on Ukrainian border guards not to stop trans women at the border, if they are still registered as men and as such would be obliged to remain in Ukraine.

In his contribution, Alderman Kapteijns drew attention to the importance of tolerance in his own environment. He called the removal of the rainbow flag from the Huygenspark in The Hague several times in recent months: "Cowardly and reprehensible, but also a sign of weakness for those who know that their fear has no future." He praised gays, lesbians, queers and others who are no longer intimidated by hatred, but are increasingly manifesting themselves in society. “As a municipality and community, we show that tolerance wins,” said the alderman.

Chairman Romke Verf referred to the establishment of Pink in Blue, now 25 years ago: “A network like ours remains necessary, because diversity always requires attention.” He also looked back on the role of the Police in the Second World War: “At the time, the occupying forces relied heavily on the cooperation of the police. The choices that have unfortunately been made in this regard have in many cases caused a lot of suffering among various population groups.” He regularly asks himself the question: Can I still agree with the social task of the police in our time? “My answer is: A police that seeks connection, stands up for equal rights, that protects the vulnerable, I can agree with that as a pink police officer. I want to continue to do this work, vigilant and subservient to the freedom fought by the people we commemorate today.”

Photo: International Gay Monument Foundation The Hague

You cannot reply to this post

Older posts