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    December 02, 2007

    The science of anti-gay hate

    Posted by: Chris

    Dsc00862 Talk about stories hitting close to home. This UPI story out of Amsterdam certainly did:

    "Amsterdam to study why Moroccan Dutch gay bash"

    Dutch authorities are commissioning a study to determine why Moroccan men target gays in Amsterdam, considered one of Europe's most gay friendly cities. Amsterdam has experienced a growing number of attacks on gays and lesbians, Der Spiegel reported Friday.

    In 2006, the Dutch metropolis registered 32 hate crimes directed at gays, but during the first half of 2007, 26 had already been counted, the newspaper said.

    Mayor Job Cohen commissioned the University of Amsterdam to conduct a study on the motives behind the attacks. Half the hate crimes were committed by men of Moroccan origin. Some researchers believe they lashed out at local gays after feeling stigmatized by Dutch society, the newspaper said.

    Regular readers of this blog know that my partner and I were holding hands as we walked through the gayest neighborhood in "the gay capital" of Europe when we were bashed by seven men who looked of Moroccan origin. I wrote a column about the experience for the Washington Blade and it blossomed into a big news story over there -- probably because it touched lots of buttons, including the threat to tourism and the cultural effect of so many Moroccan and Turkish immigrants to Holland's famously tolerant society.

    It's depressing to see that the next year, in 2006, there were so many gay bashings, and considering the number that always go unreported the true figure was likely at a rate of one per week. And the number so far in 2007 is even worse.

    Mayor Cohen was wonderful to us, including an invitation back to Amsterdam for Gay Pride weekend in 2005, and it's good to see he's continuing to take the problem seriously.

    My only concern is the direction the university study might take, according to the UPI report, which is itself a translation of an article in the German newspaper Der Spiegel. The theory that Moroccan Dutch lash out against gays to protest their own mistreatment is not a new one. Scott Long of Human Rights Watch advanced a similar hypothesis about our attack.

    "There's still an extraordinary degree of racism in Dutch society," Long told PlanetOut in an interview back then. "Gays often become the victims of this when immigrants retaliate for the inequities that they have to suffer."

    It was extraordinarily dispiriting and offensive to have a so-called human rights activist excusing a violent attack because of "inequities" allegedly suffered by our attackers. I wrote another column back then taking Long to task, and he subsequently backed off some. But the Der Spiegel account makes clear that the "blame the victim" mentality still holds water in at least some P.C. circles.

    It's not just that whatever connection between mistreatment of Moroccans and gay bashings is extremely indirect, if causal at all. But it sends the signal that bashings gays is a legitimate way to register protest against Dutch racism. What's more, it lets off the hook those who could actually improve the climate in a much more direct way.

    The city of Amsterdam and especially it's gay community were incredible after our attack. Not so incredible were local Muslim leaders, who criticized me for describing the physical features (and accents) of our attackers, despite the growing trend of bashings there now obvious to everyone.

    I waited in vain to see one of these "leaders" take the initiative to condemn violence against gays, whatever their own beliefs about what the Koran says on homosexuality. Unless and until cultural leaders respected by the thugs in the street isolate and condemn the intolerance, expect it to continue.



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    1. Lucrece on Dec 2, 2007 1:13:33 PM:

      The theory is laughably preposterous. Out of all people they target, gays are chosen? Not the more numerous white heterosexuals?

      It doesn't surprise me,though. The study does not even bother to show studies revealing that gays are more open-minded than their heterosexual counterparts. Adding to that, the study is probably run by heterosexuals, thus taking away all credibility from the study's possible knowledge on Dutch Gay life.

      I just can't believe they're letting them off this easy, not that anyone who beats up a few fags ever gets the same reaction as someone beating other people on racial or religious bias.

    1. Just Meeeee on Dec 2, 2007 4:32:40 PM:

      How could this research possibly be classed as "blaming the victim?" Wouldn't finding out why gays are targeted be a step in the direction of helping to solve the problem? The researchers are in no way implying that gays deserve the attacks--quite the opposite. THINK ABOUT IT, PLEASE!!!!

      Sure, you just want whoever beat you up punished--who wouldn't? And then society would have retribution against a few people for that one specific act. But if a reason can be found for the behavior, and steps taken therefore towards eliminating the behavior, how can you, the victim, be opposed to that, much less feel that you are being blamed for the attack.

    1. Lucrece on Dec 2, 2007 6:56:41 PM:

      It's not the research, JM, it's the proposed theories that are being criticized.

      Great Britain is having similar problems with its increasing Muslim base. Why they give easy access into the country to such a socially backwards demographic, I have no idea.

    1. Geena The Transgirl on Dec 2, 2007 10:04:44 PM:

      Saudi Arabia funds Salafist mosques in Holland that teach homosexuality goes against Islam. And all that goes against Islam must be rejected, ( or even harsher language ). When Imans
      of these mosques are asked directly they will say homosexuals should not be harmed.
      Violent incitement through innuendo. Too many gays and lesbians are stuck blaming Christianity
      for all violence against gays. First step for us would be to accept the psuedo-hate being directed at us from radical Islam.
      By the way I've had it with transsexuals who claim Iran has a model of tolerance because gay men are asked to become women and wear a burqa, instead of being stoned.

    1. Jeremiah on Dec 3, 2007 4:21:42 AM:

      What an awful, auspicious way to be dragged into the public arena. Glad you weren't brutalized even more than you were.

      Join the counterjihad, Chris. The door is always open.

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