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Monday 22 December  
Sam and Robin
Myrtille van Bommel's picture
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Lesbians flee Amsterdam for Bible Belt

Published on : 5 October 2011 - 2:48pm | By Myrtille van Bommel (photo: Myrtille van Bommel)
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The dream is slowly dissolving. The Netherlands was once the promised land for homosexuals. In 2001, this resulted in the first legal same-sex marriages in the world. Now more and more couples are being persecuted by their neighbours.

Robin and Sam (not their real names) no longer dare to walk hand in hand in Amsterdam. They have decided to move to the Veluwe region in the east of the Netherlands.


Still a tolerant country

The Dutch police’s National Diversity Expertise Centre has recorded reports of discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people since 2008. The number of reports increased by 54 percent in 2010 compared with 2009. The increase from 2008 to 2009 was 13 percent.

The Amsterdam police primarily put the increase down to a greater willingness to file a report. This is contradicted by a survey among homosexuals in which many victims said they do not often go to the police.

The Netherlands still remains one of the most tolerant countries. Recent studies by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research showed that 9 out of 10 Dutch people accept homosexuality. Ethnic minorities are less accepting, particularly Turkish Dutch (30 percent) and Moroccan Dutch (25 percent).

In 86 percent of cases, homophobic attacks were committed by native Dutch people. In 2008, the percentage of attacks by people from ethnic minorities was 14 percent. The number of attackers of Moroccan origin was markedly higher in Amsterdam – 36 percent.

I'm the man
The first time they were confronted with aggressive behaviour was seven years ago. They hadn't been together very long and, like many couples in love, they were walking hand in hand.

“A Moroccan came up to us and said: which one of you is the man? Because I hate all that ‘butch, femme’ stuff, Sam said: I’m the man. We both had to laugh, but the man took a swing at me. Luckily he missed my face, but his fist hit my shoulder. It was incredibly painful.”

We'll knife you
They never reported the incident to the police. Robin says they couldn’t describe the man. “What do you say then? Someone hit me?” When the aggression got worse they didn’t know how to deal with it.

“In the supermarket I always used to go to – I avoid it these days – they started playing a kind of game with me. There were two boys, I’m sorry to say they were Moroccan too, Dutch of Moroccan origin. They blocked my way and started hassling me. I didn’t realise at first it was about my being a lesbian. As I walked away they called after me: next time we’ll knife you, you filthy dyke.”

On the lookout
Robin regularly finds pictures of women having sex with men in her letter box. It makes her feel sick every time to realise they know where she lives. However, she has no clear idea who ‘they’ are. The persecution has achieved its aim. Robin and Sam no longer feel free to express their sexuality openly in their own neighbourhood.

“We don’t walk hand in hand any more. Always keeps some distance between us. You go first and I’ll follow. When we walk through Amsterdam we’re constantly on the lookout. If we spot a group of youths hanging around, we go ‘oops’ and take a different street. We’re really afraid.”

Born and bred
Robin says being forced into this evasive behaviour is not the worst problem. It’s not even the abusive comments. The feeling of helplessness: that they can’t defend themselves, that they have to keep their mouths shut and accept discrimination is much worse. “If you do react, they may scratch up your car or pull a knife on you.”

Sam has had a house in the Veluwe for some time. She prefers not to visit Amsterdam any more. As soon as she drives into the city to see Robin she starts to get nervous. Robin, born and bred in Amsterdam, would prefer to stay there but she too has had enough. She has registered for a house in Harderwijk, on the edge of the Veluwe.

Safe again
Their friends and acquaintances are amused by their choice. Harderwijk is in the so-called Dutch Bible Belt, where Christians generally have fundamental objections to homosexuality. Robin says there is actually room for discussion and their sexuality is respected.

“They are hypocrites, though. We’re told that as a couple we’re okay. But they would kick their own children out the house if they turned out to be gay.”

At least in the east of the Netherlands they have never been threatened. They feel safe there.





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C H Ingoldby 28 October 2011 - 9:16pm / England

So, Muslims are violently harassing the women for being lesbians, while Christians provide a refuge and place of safety. In response, not one single word of criticism against Islam, but the Christians are called 'hypocrites'.

Someone has their values twisted up and it isn't the Christians.

waggledance 17 January 2012 - 1:33pm / UK

Do you not see what is happening here? Christians, Muslims, Gays. Who is more entitled to attack whom? The article is about two people who are being terrorised for being part of a minority. All minority groups have their different areas of grievance, need and concern, but all minority groups have in common that they are divided and isolated from belonging and having the rights that others enjoy. Do you really want to allow yourselves to be the instruments of hate and be part of the hell for a different group just because it isn't YOUR group? You just take your place in the merry-go-round of victim/abuser. Your God and your creed of love do not authorise or legitimise your part in the cycle of hatred. It is not Christians or Moslims who are responsible for oppressions Gender and Sexual Minorities, it is SOME Christians and SOME Muslims, and SOME atheists. At the end of the day, are you a disciple of growing beyond hatred, growing into spiritual teaching, or are you blaming your stupidity on God? The world was made more diverse than your human prejudices and limited thinking. Any time we strike against another for their difference we strike against that which is greater than us. It is an anti-godly act.

Anonymous 28 October 2011 - 3:37pm / usa

What is most interesting about this article is not the muslim intolerance for gays or their willingness to harm the native Dutch in Amsterdam; this is already well known. What I find interesting is that the only qualitative noun used is reserved for christians. They are "hypocrites". There is no perjoritive statement at all describing the "boys". In fact the victim goes as far as to express her deep misgivings about her persecutors origins: "I'm sorry to say they (another group that attacked her)were Morrocan too". Really? Why? Does it make her feel racist?

Political correctness is the root of your problems in the Netherlands. If it weren't so sad, it would be laughable.

Anonymous 28 October 2011 - 5:31am / Canada

The gays now get a taste of what REAL HATE looks like. They remind me of the boy who cried wolf (falsely accusing Christians) then no one will take them seriously when Muslims (the real wolf) rip them apart. The difference is that whereas in the fable people just stopped believing, idiots like awesome Ted are just too delusional or spineless to do anything.

Ray 27 October 2011 - 12:13pm / South Africa

It is clear that Islamic ideology is the problem here, and it is a theology of non-tolerance. Europeans have let in immigrants including those with such theology, leading to threats, hate and violence. Bible believing folk may not approve of gays, but they won't threaten or hurt you for being gay- there is tolerance. Look at the birthrates of Europeans, and those of the immigrants- Europe is doomed.

Anonymous 27 October 2011 - 10:34pm

Thank god for diversity, its the only way you godless white devils will ever be brought to jusitce. Allahu Ackbar!

Anonymous 29 October 2011 - 12:03am / Canada

Mohammed is being sodomized by pigs in hell.

Anonymous 14 October 2011 - 7:57am / NL

This is what you get when you open the immigration doors without making contingent that new immigrants assimilate the local Dutch culture of tolerance. Keep your culture, religion: YES, YES. But one thing that is not acceptable is not to embrace NL culture of tolerance.

Anonymous 10 October 2011 - 4:42pm / Canada

It's very disturbing to see homosexuals harrassed in this manner by Muslims.

Perhaps gays will finally learn what “hate” is really all about and that disagreeing with them (as Christians do) is not “hate”. Perhaps they will rethink their use of the term "homophobia" to describe people that mere express a different opinion.

Cecilia Roders 10 October 2011 - 7:38am / U.S.A.

We Christians may disapprove of the gay lifestyle and gay sex, but that doesn't mean we hate gays. Not at all. Hate the sin, love the sinner, that's my take on gay people. I think that's what Robin and Sam are finding in their country's Bible Belt. The people won't hurt them and are even willing to be nice to them. They just don't want their kids following in Robin and Sam's footsteps.

Many gays assume Christians hate them because we disapprove of their lifestyle. Rosie O'Donnell even made some stupid comment about fundamentalist Christians being as dangerous as the jihadists who brought down the towers on 9-11. Boy, did that make Christians around the country roll their eyes at the ignorance she displayed.
My thought was that I hoped she never had to learn the hard way just how wrong she was. If the Islamic fundamentalists ever really start to take over, they will try to kill all the gays, including Rosie. Then Rosie might have some fundamentalist Christians hiding her to save her life from the jihadists. Now that would be learning the hard way for Rosie.

Jade Alexander 7 October 2011 - 8:27pm / Violence

It should be an alert the simple fact that it represents aggression and violence. The cases should be reported to police, even if you don't know details of the aggressors. It will keep the police aware that there are such cases, and perhaps their frequency increases. Further national awareness raising campaigns will be initiated by the government and even the police will be more receptive. Never be afraid to report the case to the police.

cliffy 7 October 2011 - 10:38am

Did importing thousands of muslim peasants _really_ seem like such a good idea at the time?
Honestly, I'm not seeing any up side to having hundreds of thousands of Turks and/or Moroccans in western european country.
Why are they there again?

Anonymous 7 October 2011 - 7:48am

The govt needs to kick all these muzzies out, and Christians like hiram1 too

Andrei Yudin 5 October 2011 - 8:34pm / Moscow,Russia

In the ussr and east-european communist countries those men who just showed their penis to unknown women were convicted up to 3(!) years of prison.I would like to look in the eyes of the vile women who reported the "exhibitionists" and "frotteurs" to the police,thus ruining their lives.Curiously,"frottage" is considered to be a crime in Holland and in all other developed countries,whereas in Brasil since the 1950-ies it has been popular with young men and women.The same was with homosexuality.In ancient Greece and Rome it was wide-spread,whereas since the Middle Age and up to most recent times it was considered to be a crime.So as we can see,everything depend on customs which prevail in society.

Anonymous 5 October 2011 - 8:25pm

When you work hard to survive and feed your family you don't have time to think about sex, sexuality and sexual inclinations or parade in sex shows or sex cafes.

Andrei Yudin 5 October 2011 - 8:39pm / Moscow,Russia

Yeah?you should have made abortions instead of procreating.Then you would have more time to think more of sex and sexuality and have not to feed your family.

Andrei Yudin 5 October 2011 - 7:24pm / Moscow,Russia

I guess,Holland and all other countries should become more tolerant not only with regard to homosexuals and lesbians but also with regard to all other patterns of sexual behaviour.I don't think that being a homosexual or a lesbian is more "lofty and noble" than being an "exhibitionist" or a "frotteur".Both homosexuals and "exhibitionists" and "frotteurs" just can't restrain their sexual reactions.A homosexual can't restrain himself from attracted to man's body,an "exhibitionist" can't restrain himself from showing his penis to coming-up women,a "frotteur" standing near a nice woman in the crowd can't restrain himself from touching her and rubbing his genitals against her body.homosexuals are not punished any longer in the developed countries,whereas "exhibitionists" and "frotteurs" are charged with "hooliganism" and severely punished.

PeterNY 5 October 2011 - 6:06pm / USA

Another example that Muslims destroy free societies.

user avatar
Awesome Ted 6 October 2011 - 4:10pm

Social conservatives destroy free societies. It doesn't matter from which religion they come. We see them in all countries. Often insecure men who wish all society to function under their rules. There are a couple of them commenting right in this thread. Wear this, don't wear that, do this, don't do that. It's true that there's often a religious connection. That's because religious organisations are usually the most conservative components in societies.
The countries with the greatest social freedom, especially for women, are the least religious.

Hiram1 6 October 2011 - 6:12pm

"The countries with the greatest social freedom, especially for women, are the least religious."...Question: According to the article more and more situations like the one mention is happening. Does that mean the Netherlands is becoming more religious. In previous articles it was mentioned that Christianity is on the decline in the Netherlands. Now "if" Christanity is on the decline and millions of Muslims are entering the Netherlands and E.U.; then, would it be safe to say women in Europe are in danger? Awesome, did you ever ask yourself why these two women chose to move to the Bible area of the Netherlands? They understand the belief system of the Christians and they understand that they are far safer around Christians then Muslims. No, awesome it is not the social conservatives who destroy a free society. It is those people on the left who smoke so much dope that start believing it is okay to allow millions of Muslims into their country. If "the countries with the greatest social freedom, especially for women, are the least religious." then why are you supporting more religion. More religious people means less freedom for women, right? You are for the abuse of women. Why? Because you support more mass immigration of religious people from Islamic countries.

user avatar
Awesome Ted 7 October 2011 - 10:32am

Once again, Hiram, you're galloping along with your blinkers on. Islam is on the decline in the Netherlands also. But the countries I was referring to are the Scandinavian ones. They consistently are the least religious in Europe, and score the highest on ratings of gender equality.
Your lack of interest in social freedoms is exposed even as you try to hide it. By attacking Islam (yet again) you show your disdain for freedom of religion. By equating others' viewpoints with dope smoking, you reveal your aversion to freedom of choice there also. In other threads, you've declared your opinion that homosexuality is wrong.
Hiram, you oppose real freedom with every keystroke.

Hiram1 7 October 2011 - 1:06pm

"In other threads, you've declared your opinion that homosexuality is wrong."...No, only for those who call themselves Christians and who practise homosexuality. To call oneself a Christian and practise such a lifestyle is spiritually deceptive and one only fools himself/herself. Awesome, it you who is anti-woman and anti-freedom. You support the mass immigration of Muslims into the West and therefore you support the abuse of women and freedom. Freedom of self-expression and freedom for women to be equal with men are not allowed in Islam. Read the Quaran. Your preposterous opinion on this subject shows you are anti-freedom and anti-women, and anti-homsexuality. Why? Because your thread and the Quran says it so. Why did these women move to a Christian region? Because they know it is far safer for a gay person in a Christian community and you and the gay community knows it, too.

user avatar
Awesome Ted 7 October 2011 - 2:45pm

Strawman argument. Being tolerant of people from other cultures and supporting mass immigration are two different things. I'm encouraged by the fact that all religions are on the wane in the Netherlands. (For your information, Muslim immigration to the Netherlands occured mostly between the 60s and 80s. Immigration these days is mostly from other countries in the EU, None of which are predominantly Muslim.)
Hiram, you take every opportunity to declare homosexuality to be learned behavior and aberrent. You are a religious conservative. There is little difference between you and conservatives from other religions. And you use untruths as a debating strategy. How do you explain all your comments on almost almost all stories relating to the subject of homosexuality, including ones about muslims?

Hiram1 7 October 2011 - 6:11pm

"Being tolerant of people from other cultures and supporting mass immigration are two different things."...Not, true awesome! If you are tolerant of a culture that has long history of abusing women, then you are implying you don't care about equal rights for women. You are tolerant of Islam and support the mass immigration of Muslims in to Europe; therefore; you do not support equal rights for women. You don't know what you are talking about and you know competely nothing about women in a Muslim society. You are preposterous in your logic. Read the Quran, mate! They put their beliefs into action and you see it in how they treat women, block streets for their prayers, and fight their holy wars.

Andrei Yudin 5 October 2011 - 5:22pm / Moscow,Russia

In Holland muslim barbarians attack lesbians,but in Moscow other barbarians who came from caucasus kill Russian young men just because they dared to look at and talk to their girl-friends as it was the case of the murder of the 19-y.o. Russian student Ivan Agafonov committed by the caucasian master in martial arts Ruslan Mirzaev.It is remarquable that other barbarians who came to Moscow and Russia from ukrain justify this murder in Russian media.

Andrei Yudin 5 October 2011 - 5:13pm / Moscow,Russia

It is worth mentioning that usually it is homosexuals who are attacked in the streets and persecuted rather than lesbians.In the 1950-ies homosexuality was still a crime in England where homosexuals were put into jail or submitted to castration,whereas lesbians were not punished at all either in the Western countries and the usssr or submitted to cruel medical experiments as in the Nazi Germany.In the muslim countries too it's homosexuals who are punished,not lesbians.

Anonymous 10 December 2011 - 10:22pm / USA

No, Andrei it isn't worth mentioning if your ignorance outweighs the thought. "Homosexuals" is a umbrella term for ALL people who have same-sex relationSHIPS. This includes lesbians. Broken down would be: Gay Men and Lesbians. All homosexual behaviour or PERCIEVED behaviour was punishable and still is in some countries by death or incarceration. The Germans not only rounded up gay or perceived to be gay men but also women. Women, straight or gay during the Nazi reign were submitted to horrible torture, including but not limited to slicing pregnant women open alive to see how fast both child and mother die, and what the body/organs do in the process. Nazi reign was hell for a lot of people. London punished women gay or straight for a plethora of reasons throughout history. Everyone, despite gender or sexuality has suffered in one way or another worldwide for ages. Lets not forget that it is women who till this day are enslaved for sex, gang raped (for being a woman or for being a gay woman) and die at the hands of an oppressor or predator far more then the male of the species. But honestly, this shouldn't even be an issue. GAYS and Lesbians AKA "HOMOSEXUALS" should not have to suffer this kind of abuse strictly because of who they have no choice in loving...NO ONE should regardless.

Anonymous 5 October 2011 - 5:12pm / UK

I think this article is not newsworthy, based on one couples experience.
Would there be an article if one muslim family left Amsterdam to the biblebelt if they experienced overt Islamphobia?

Write some think worth reading accurate and relavant.

Getta grip 6 October 2011 - 10:43am

I beg to differ. I think that this one couple's experience is relevant. It is unfortunately reflective of what is happening and becoming more widespread at the moment in the Netherlands. These Maroccan youngsters are cowardly targeting the homosexual society and destroying our country's
culture of acceptance, love and tolerance.

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