Serena Freewomyn

Why I Love the Dutch!

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | November 08, 2007 10:29 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: foreign policy, Netherlands

I'm probably biased because my family's from Holland and all. But man, I love the Dutch! I mean, aside from the obvious reasons like good chocolate and even better cheese, there's this:

The Netherlands has told its ambassadors in countries receiving foreign aid they must lobby those nations to decriminalize homosexuality and provide LGBT civil rights. The announcement was made in the Netherlands' Parliament by Development Minister Bert Koenders.

Koenders told Parliament that a study by the government found that homosexuality is illegal in 18 of the 36 countries to whom the country provides financial aid. "The Netherlands will promote as much equal treatment of homosexuals as possible. We will not avoid awkward discussions about this," he said in a statement to lawmakers.

It's not enough for the Dutch that gay folks can get married in Holland and do all the things that other people do (have kids, visit a loved one in the hospital). No, no. We gotta make sure other LGBTQ folks have rights, too.

He also said, however, that ambassadors have been told to avoid the subject of gay rights in those countries where international rights groups believe such a discussion could result in a backlash against gays. Koenders's statement does not tie foreign aid to gay rights, but the move is the strongest yet of any Western country.

So three cheers for my homeland, friends!

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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 9, 2007 6:10 AM

Serena, that is so cool about Holland. In general, the EU is far ahead of the US in terms of supporting LGBT civil rights. Seriously, I think most Americans don’t realize how far behind their country is slipping in this regard. I was raised to believe that America was the beacon of human rights and liberty in the world, but when I moved to Ireland in 2004 I was shocked to discover how much more progressive the EU is than my homeland.