Support for gay rights improves, but schools and religion still a problem

The lack of acceptance for gay people under youngsters, orthodox Christians and Muslims, the low-skilled and some immigrant groups is still cause for concern, according to a new report from the government’s social policy unit SCP.

Support for gay rights in the Netherlands is higher than other countries and the report shows some improvement. Although some 9% of the population still have ‘serious objections’ to homosexuality, but this is down from 15% in 2006.
Nevertheless, one in five people don’t think gay people should be allowed to adopt children and one in 10 thinks same sex marriage should be abolished. Some 40% of the population feel uncomfortable if they see two men kiss in the street.
The report says that in particular more effort should be made to help gay school pupils who are often bullied and ostracised by the teenage need to conform. One third of school pupils believe a gay friend has to keep their sexuality secret and effeminate men are widely considered to be ‘fake’.
‘Homo’ is also widely used as an insult by school pupils.
Half of young gay men have had suicidal thoughts, a far higher percentage than in the youth population at large. Nine percent of gay boys and 16% of gay girls have actually attempted to kill themselves, the report claims.
More effort also has to be made to combat ‘gay bashing’ following a number of high-profile cases. Last year, there were 82 reports of anti-gay violence in Amsterdam alone.
Verbal abuse is more common. One in ten gay men reported being verbally abused at work or at school because of their sexual orientation, three in 10 had been insulted by strangers.
Lesbian mothers are also likely to face verbal abuse and gossip. Some 61% said their children are teased about their mothers.
Gay rights organisation COC has written to cabinet coalition negotiator Uri Rosenthal and party leaders urging them to put gay emancipation on the political agenda.
‘The acceptance of lesbians, gay, bisexuals and transgender people is the litmus test for our open and tolerant society,’ the organisation said.

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