“I don’t think it is realistic to expect homosexuals to be accepted by everyone at all.”

Is violence towards people of different sexual orientation or gender identity on the rise?
“Unfortunately it seems so. The number of recorded cases of discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons increased from 428 in 2009 to 2471 in 2021. This is evidenced by figures from the interest group COC Netherlands. Seven out of ten LGBT people experience discriminatory violence, both verbal and physical.

In the CTC report ‘Lhbt monitor 2018’, victims of violent crime indicated that they were mainly subjected to threats. For lesbian/gay, this was 78 percent, and bisexual 61 percent. A smaller group was also subjected to physical violence. It is not only about violence in public places, but also at home, at school or at work.”

These numbers are not positive. What about the youth?

“We also know from research that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTI) youth are more likely to be bullied in school than heterosexual youth. We see clear differences in victimization. Lesbian youth who deviate more from gender norms are exposed – boys who act” My girls,” or girls who act “boyish” — to bully more often than gay guys who don’t deviate from gender norms.

I myself have done research on petty assault, which is also a form of violence. It showed that between 40 and 80 percent of LGBT youth experience petty-aggression every week.”

What exactly are microaggressions?

“This is a daily, subtle form of discrimination that is often not meant to harm, but comes across that way. Think about using the word ‘gay’ for something that isn’t fun. Or superficial acceptance, like parents who say, ‘I’m fine with my child like me’ , but in a relationship with a boy? That is not the intent.”

Another example: having sex with bisexual women. That straight guys turn up the trio right away. Such experiences have a negative impact on the mental health of LGBT people.”

Movisie’s research shows that young people in particular experience gender-based violence. How did this happen?

I think there are many things at play. Today, the LGBTI guys are coming out early. This makes them more vulnerable and more likely to be victims of bullying. While they are still very sensitive to rejection. At a young age, you don’t have much to say about where you live and with whom. And which school do you go to?

As you get older, you have more control over the people you associate with and the environment in which you live. People used to go out later, if they were already living alone and had their own social network.

In addition, the LGBTI community is becoming more visible, also in the media. This is of course positive. It seems that deviation from gender norms is gradually becoming more acceptable. At the same time, this increased social acceptance is also eliciting reactions. People who are more negative about it, they make themselves heard more clearly.”

When it comes to verbal and physical violence, who are the perpetrators often?

“Most of them are young people. For example, the LGBT youth I spoke to for my research report that they feel intimidated by the groups of young people of the same age who hang out in the neighbourhood. Often these are still teenagers.”

Where does this violence among these young people come from?

“Gender roles in early adolescence – ages 12 through 14 – are very important. At this age, young people begin to develop and fall in love for the first time. There are all kinds of feelings involved. Who am I? Who am I falling into? When other teens drift apart. About the norm, this sometimes elicits strong reactions.If you can also be gender fluid, what does that say about me?Does it still apply?Does it still matter?

Sex plays an important role in our society anyway. From the moment we are born, there is a difference. you are a boy or a girl. It includes all kinds of predictions. What games do you use? What clothes do you wear? How do you act? If a person subsequently deviates from social expectations and norms, this is noticeable. Trans people, in particular, go against those deeply rooted societal norms. This creates friction or a lack of understanding in some people.

Sometimes these gender norms go too deep. A good example of this is the color pink. We now see it as a female colour. While pink or red was seen as a masculine color at the beginning of the last century. It symbolized “strength”. We can hardly imagine it now, can we? “

Is the Netherlands as tolerant as we think?

“Let me say first, if you compare it to a country like Russia or Poland, we are definitely progressive. Social acceptance of sexual minorities has increased in recent years. Now it seems to be stagnant again.

However, there is still a lot that could be done better in the Netherlands. The numbers I mentioned earlier say it all. In addition, the percentage of homosexual youth with mental problems is significantly higher than that of heterosexual youth. They often have symptoms of anxiety, smoke and drink more, experience a lack of understanding from caregivers and are bullied more often. So the Netherlands certainly isn’t the worst place to live as an LGBT person, but we’re not as tolerant as we always pretend.”

From which countries and/or cultures can we learn something?

“In some cultures, the third gender has been accepted into society for much longer. Like Berdaches (from Native American culture), Hijras (from South Asia) and Xannit (from Arab countries). We will now see these groups as trans women. They are born as women, but live as men.”

How do you see the future?

“I don’t think it’s realistic to expect gays to be accepted by everyone. Strict religious groups will always exist. Or people who can’t accept that society is changing.”

At the same time, I am positive. The current generation of young people already perceives gender and sexual orientation differently than previous generations. Representation in the media also plays a role in this. K . series trance or modern family Show that you can be different. On my way to work, I always passed a daycare center. The pride flag was hung there recently. This put a smile on my face.”

Written by: National Education Guide / Bent Schrewers

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