The Dutch Government is making funds available to promote the acceptance of homosexuality within the Dutch Caribbean community in The Netherlands. The Daily Herald writes that the Dutch Minister of Education, Cultureand Science Jet Bussemakerannounced this at the annual CanalParade in Amsterdam on Saturday.The Dutch cabinet actively supports gay rights and participated inthe Canal Parade with its own boat that included Minister Bussemaker and representatives of Dutch Caribbean, Surinamese, Moroccan and Turkish organisations in The Netherlands.
Bussemaker, who is also in charge of emancipation, stated that the Ministry of OCW will allocate some 800,000 euros in the coming years to promote the acceptance of homosexuality within the Antillean, Surinamese, Moroccan and Turkish communities in the four largest cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Homosexuality is a sensitive issue in these communities. Many members of these communities have trouble accepting homosexuals and trans-genders, and the issue is often an immense taboo, especially in the Turkish and Moroccan community.
The overall Dutch population is generally positive about homosexuality and same sex marriages. However, youngsters in general are increasingly expressing non-supportive feelings towards homosexuality. Research has shown that one third of the Dutch youngsters would rather have homosexual peers stay in the closet. Almost half of youngsters with a Turkish background and more than one third of youngsters of Moroccan descent denounced homosexuality.
Bussemaker expressed concern about this negative attitude in her speech on Saturday. She said it was important to make the homosexuality theme visible and open to discussion. That is why the Dutch cabinet supports initiatives that aim to teach youngsters to accept and respect each other’s differences, such as the Gay Straight Alliances. According to Bussenmaker, the four largest cities in The Netherlands can have an important added value in the increase of the acceptation of sexual diversity. “You can only experience true freedom when you are able to walk around with your arms around your partner in the sun not only today, but also the rest of the year. When you can live together somewhere without being intimidated by your neighbours. A safe and nice environment whereby everyone can be him or herself is important. Unfortunately, this is not a given for everyone and there is room for improvement,” she said.