Last Sunday, married couple Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes divulged their assault from a gang of youths in Arnhem, the Netherlands. A police statement revealed the assailants were wielding bolt cutters and had smashed out the teeth of one of the men.
In response, Dutch journalist Barbara Barend tweeted out a request, asking that “this whole week all men (straight and gay) please just walk hand in hand …” The request was quickly fulfilled as civilians and politicians in the Netherlands and embassies across the world began sharing photos of them holding hands in unity with the couple and gay couples all over the world, from two-year-old children to the Deputy Prime Minister of The Netherlands.
— Raymond Braun (@raymondbraun) April 5, 2017
Channel 4 News in England shared the following video on their Twitter, showcasing the international response to the beating. In it, Alexander Petchold states, “In the Netherlands, we think it is quite normal to express who you are, but apparently for some people, it’s not. Particularly not in daily life, so I think it’s very important that we show this week it’s absolutely normal.”
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) April 5, 2017
The Netherlands has long been a center for LGBT+ rights. Amsterdam markets itself as “the gay capital of the world”, and homosexual acts were removed from the Dutch criminal code in 1811. The country became the first to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001, and updated the Equal Treatment Legislation in 2013, demanding “equal treatment of persons irrespective of their religion, belief, political opinion, race, sex, nationality, heterosexual or homosexual orientation or civil status.”