Amsterdam is capital of the Netherlands and the first country in the world to legalize same sex marriage. In 2016, the King of the Netherlands publicly visited the organization COC, which is an organization that fights for LGBTQ+ rights in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is known as one of the most, if not the most, accepting city in the world when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community.
However, as a teen partially living in Amsterdam, I know better. Violence, assault, bullying and humiliation still happens. A same sex couple that used to live in my father’s neighborhood moved away as a result of assault and bullying by their neighbors. Elderly members of the LGBTQ+ community living in nursing homes are bullied on the daily by other elderly people living in the nursing homes. Students get bullied away from school because of their sexuality or their gender identification. “Faggot”, “tranny” and “gay” are still insults, random assault of LGBTQ+ teens and discrimination: it is all still happening in “the most accepting city in the world”.
This scares me. If “the most accepting city in the world” is not accepting, what does that mean for the rest of the world? If the LGBTQ+ community is not safe in “the most accepting city in the world”, where will they be safe? If “the most accepting city in the world” is not accepting, where will the LGBTQ+ community find true acceptance?
Though besides fear, I also have hope. It is not going fast enough in my opinion, but things are changing. Sixty years ago the COC (the Dutch organization that fights for LGBTQ+ rights) was not even recognized as an organization: now the Dutch King is visiting them. But we have to keep our eyes open. Amsterdam may be the most accepting city in the world, but it is still not where it should be. I will keep fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, also in Amsterdam.
Though this article may seem bleak, I hope it will encourage you to stay woke and keep fighting. One day there will not be a “most accepting city in the world”, the entire world will be truly accepting of us all.