Yesterday it was Aids Memorial Day and in Amsterdam people gathered in the Dominicus Church to commemorate those who died of aids. There were several hundred people, gay, straight, transgender, from all kinds of cultures and nationalities. For the first time there was a speech by a muslim, Emir Belatoui of the gay muslim organisation Secret Garden. He spoke about the problems muslim people face when they are diagnosed with hiv/aids, often dying in loneliness, without being able to tell their family. Quilts were all over the church and in the middle was a big red ribbon where everyone could light a candle. It was very moving when the lights were dimmed in the church and hundreds of names were called out, of those who died of aids now and in the past (in The Netherlands there are still about 2 people each year who die of aids). This was followed by everyone standing and singing the moving aids hymn The Rose. We then walked in a parade from the church to the Torensluis bridge at the Singel, carrying white balloons with names of those who died on them. My lover Eric headed the group in his Scottish uniform, playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. Eric was diagnosed with hiv in 1987 and after several years of illnesses was saved by the medication that came available in 1996. He has been very lucky and we’re very happy he is one of the longtime survivors. At the Torensluis we let the balloons fly up in the air. The memorial day was like every year a moving social event.
Tag Archives: gay rights
Last Monday, the 17th of May, it was International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). This is often celebrated by holding a kiss in to show our pride and to demand our rightful and visible place in society without having to fear violence. In the past few years we have seen an increase of hate crimes against gays, lesbians and transgenders here in Amsterdam. On May 5, several gay people were attacked by homophobes by homophobe muslim boys, who called them “dirty faggots”, hitting and kicking them, leaving one man unconscious in a pool of blood and with a broken nose. This occurred at the Niek Engelschman bridge, right across from the Homomonument. The increase in antigay violence in The Netherlands, including in Amsterdam, is worrying all of us here and vigilance and continuing gay emancipation are still utterly necessary.
This Monday a group of about 50 gays, lesbians and transgenders gathered at the Homomonument to participate in the Great Global Kiss In that was held in many places and countries all over the world. After a speech we all kissed our partners for 1 full minute. The press was present and the next day we were in the papers. This is the article that appeared in Het Parool. You can see me and my boyfriend as the second kissing couple on the left.
This is the translation of the article:
French kiss for tolerance
AMSTERDAM – French kissing against hatred against gays, and a whole minute long. Yesterday evening the Great Global Kiss-In was held on the Westermarkt. About fifty people participated, with a significant number of lesbians among the participants, according to organiser Joost ten Broek. “Apparently they are just a little more militant.” The Kiss-In was held because yesterday it was Idaho, the International Day Against Homophobia. In 52 cities in 24 countries across the globe, people went onto the streets in the past few days to fondly kiss each other in a flash mob. In Amsterdam this happened at the Homomonument, in Paris at the Eiffel Tower and in Edinburg at the Royal Scottish Academy. In other cities like Shanghai, Asunción, Lima and Reykjavik a flash mob was held too. The sexual preferences of the participants did not matter, according to organiser Ten Broek of the Amsterdam Kiss-In. “Gay, straight, god or godless, as long as you feel good and believe in love and equality. And sympathize with the gay community.” The reactions of passersby were positive last night, says Ten Broek. He considers this very important. “Fifteen years ago Amsterdam was still the gay capital, but that has changed considerably now. The average gay person feels less safe because of a string of incidents. He mentions the gay man who was beaten into hospital after a party on Liberation Day, close to the Homomonument. “Photographer Erwin Olaf also experienced incidents lately and is now considering leaving Amsterdam.” According to Ten Broek Amsterdam gays should insist much more on their rights. “You should show yourself, that’s what fosters understanding. Not hide yourself or play straight. You should show yourself the way you really are.” Ten Broek hopes for a new generation of homosexuals that will become active in that way.
End of translation
For pictures of last years Idaho Kiss In, when we held a march from the Homomonument to Dam square where we kissed, and a bunch of religious bigots protesting us then, click here. Remaining vigilant and active are of utmost importance to retain the liberties we as gay people have in The Netherlands.
The organizers of the Kiss In have made this short film of the Kiss In at the Homomonument.
Welcome to my blog everyone! I am a psychologist and philosopher from the Netherlands who has worked with signing chimpanzees. In this blog I will post details about my work, my life, and my opinions and thoughts. My main areas of interest include the following: ape language research, animal communication, animal cognition, animal consciousness, animal ethics, leftwing politics, gay rights, photography, art, and nature. I hope you will enjoy my writings!