photo: Natasja Gibbs

AMSTERDAM – “Within the gay community in the Netherlands, we are often seen as a pleasure object or used as a ‘diversity mascot’. We do not feel safe with the police through ethnic profiling. And in our own black community, we are still a taboo.”

The Curaçao Naomie Pieter of Black Queer & Trans Resistance is fed up with the discrimination and violence against black LGBT people in the Netherlands. Together with, among others, the Curaçao activists Collin Edson and Wigbertson Julian Isenia, she organized the ‘March for the Right To Be Yourself’ on Sunday. More than 200 people arrived in Amsterdam.

In the first month of 2018 alone, four people fell victim to gay-related violence. “The most recent victim was a 24-year-old black boy. But that was dismissed by the police as ‘an ordinary robbery’. While his situation was similar to that of the other victims, only he was black”, says co-organizer Isenia.

Wigbertson and the other organizers of the march want a more serious treatment by the police and by the gay community in the Netherlands. “Hashtag I am not a lust object and hashtag I am not your chocolate, use those hashtags if you say something about this march or film on social media”, co-organizer Collin Edson calls just before the march.

Religious environment
“The facilities for black gay people are less than for white gays”, says Naomie Pieter. “It is assumed that if you are black and gay you need the same support as all other gays. But no account is taken of our Caribbean background. We come from a religious environment that hardly talks about sexuality, let alone about homosexuality.”

The initiators of the march want more places where black LGBT people can get support from their own Caribbean background, and finally more places where they also feel at home. “Count on us instead of just showing up when something is done with diversity.”