Amsterdam didn’t get off on a good start in 2018 with three different attacks on gay men. All three attacks happened in different parts of the city and seem not to be directly related. Each of the attacks have their own harrowing story, but on of them spurred the Black LGTBQI community into a action. On Sunday, January 28th, a ‘March of Love‘ will be held to celebrate the right to be yourself.
Attack on gay men no 1: New Year’s Day attack
On New Year’s day four men attacked 22 year old Victor near by the very popular, trendy nightclub De School. For the first time in all the years Victor is going out in Amsterdam, he was called a ‘kankerhomo’ (difficult to translate, but closest English terms are faggot or poof). Then the four men attacked him and knocked out two of his front teeth.
The uncle of Victor called out on social media to the four men, to man up and get in touch with him. He wanted to talk with these men about their action. Victor has reported the attack to the police. As of now there are no reports if the men have contacted Victor’s uncle or that the police have caught them.
Attack on gay men no 2: Gruesome attack
Only a few days later a gruesome attack took place on another young gay man, this time in the eastern part of Amsterdam. Xeverio (24) of Surinam-African decent was taking the metro on a Saturday night, to enjoy a party with colleagues. In the metro three men called him names like ‘homo’ and ‘boeler’, the latter being Surinam for gay or faggot. He tried to quickly leave the metro station when he got of the train, but noticed that he was being followed.
Then the men suddenly kicked him to the ground from behind. They also punched him in the face by those men from the metro. The men then robbed him from his watched and tried to get hold of a bracelet. When that didn’t come of quickly they hit him with a brick. In the struggle with the men he did hold on to his mobile phone, because Xeverio wanted to keep that as a lifeline to the rest of the world. Then the men ran off and Xeverio could call the emergency number.
An ambulance brought Xeverio to the hospital where they treated him for severe injuries and concussion. Luckily tests showed that there was no further damage to his brain or permanent damage to other parts of his body. His parents rushed to the hospital in no time. On social media his farther shared his shock when he saw his son bloodied and bruised.
Police making a big gaffe
In the days after that the police initially refused to call the attack an anti-gay attack. That caused a wave of protest on social media, where people questioned what needed to happen to qualify a blatant attack as this as anti-gay. After a few days the LGBTQI policy network ‘Roze in Blauw’ stepped in. Their spokesperson Ellen Lust, admitted that the police pr department made a mistake here and that the Roze in Blauw team would speak with the police force to prevent these kind of mistakes in the future.
Meanwhile the search for these attackers is still going on.
Attack on gay men no 3: Couple to the rescue
About a week later two men attacked a 48 year old men in the Westerpark. This park houses bars, restaurants, tv studios and the buildings where the popular Funhouse and Rapido parties are held. On a Saturday morning between 2am and 3am the 48 year old unnamed man entered the park, crossing between two neighborhoods bordering the park.
Two men in dark clothes and with helmets approached him, called him names and started to beat him. Only by the intervention of a man and woman, who were sitting on a near by bench, did the attack stop. The attackers fled out of the park and jumped upon a scooter to get away.
The police this time didn’t waste any words and called the attack outright an anti-gay attack.
Protest against violence, exclusion and for love
Especially the second attack caused anxiety and anger in the LGBTQI community. The organization Black Queer & Transgender Resistance organizes a protest march and debate on Sunday January the 28th. This march will start at 12.30pm at the metro stop where Xeverio got out of the metro, metro stop Wibautstraat. After a few speeches the march will start at 1pm. A debate will be organized between 2pm and 4 pm at the end point of the march at the Society ‘Ons Suriname’ (Zeeburgerdijk 19A).
This march is in the first place a show of support to Xeverio, his family and friends. But the aim of this protest is broader. The organizers also want to challenge the racism within the LGBTQI community where people of colour are often excluded, discriminated and/or sexually objectified.
Amsterdam LGBTQI friendly, but not always safe
So 2018 got off on a rough start in Amsterdam. It is not rare though that LGBTQI people get attacked in this city. Also in previous years LGBTQI people got regularly attacked. In 2017 alone a young gay man from Surinam got attacked, a gay couple from Amsterdam got beaten just of the ferry near Central Station and couple of gay men got attacked near Club Church. We also reported on the attack on two lesbian women who visited the IDFA festival in november 2017.
That shows that however gay friendly the (image of) Amsterdam is, you still need to be careful on the streets of this city.