The University of
Amsterdam presented a study on Thursday revealing a
drastic increase in homophobic acts in the Dutch capital.
reported that 1,512 violent, discriminatory acts had been
committed in the first half of 2008, 150 of them targeting
gay people, mostly men. In almost 30% of the cases,
physical violence was involved, while the remainder
were mainly threats and vandalism.
According to some
Dutch police officials, these numbers are not fully
accurate because the victims of discrimination are less
likely to testify and many aggressions thus go
unreported, Agence France-Presse reports.
This wave of
homophobic crime has significantly altered the reputation of
the Netherlands as one of the most gay-friendly countries in
the world. For many years the country had been
considered a sort of gay mecca, especially since 2001,
when it became the first country to legalize
The University of
Amsterdam study provided a description of the typical
homophobic attackers. It concluded that they're usually
young men from 17 to 25 with little education who come
from dysfunctional families, feel insecure about
their masculinity, and are highly impressionable. As
explained in the study, many attackers claimed to have no
problems with gay people as long they do not approach
them and remain "invisible," AFP reports.
one of the study's researchers, revealed that 40% of the
attacks were the result of men feeling that gay individuals
were hitting on them, AFP reported.
The Dutch capital
is planning on taking measures to counteract this
nascent phenomenon. Authorities plan to fund a new
prevention campaign and allow greater police
visibility. Measures will also be implemented to
encourage victims of homophobic acts to testify and
increase awareness among the general public. (Thibault
Chareton, The Advocate)