As many of you might know, I’m from the Netherlands. I’m not sure how well known it is how progressive Dutch politics and Dutch legislation are when it comes to fighting homophobia. So, I'd like to share a few facts regarding Equal Treatment and gay marriage in the Netherlands. Don't worry, I'll keep it short. ;)
In 1994 the Equal Treatment Act passed, which prohibited discrimination, including those due to sexual orientation. The acceptance of homosexuality increased further late twentieth century. Since 1996, a procession of boats goes through the canals during Canal Pride every year. The boats are not only populated by interest groups of GLBTQ organizations. Even government agencies, companies and political parties have a boat with an appropriate theme.
Gaykrant, a magazine that appears since 1980, has vigorously lobbied for gay marriage, because many saw the opening of civil marriage to two men or two women as the crown on the emancipation of homosexuals. And under considerable international interest the first gay marriage became a fact on April 1, 2001 in the Amsterdam City Hall. It was the first marriage in the world between people of the same sex.
Does all of this mean there's no homophobia in the Netherlands? Unfortunately not! :(
Although the legal equality for homosexuals is completed, the public acceptance is not quite there yet in the Netherlands. Especially in strict religious circles - both Christian and Islamic - homosexuality is still cause for great tension.
For example in January 2012 the Dutch media reported that according to the Christian organization named Different, gay men ‘could be cured’. At the same time a chief rabbi ventilates that gay people 'need to go into therapy’. And although both examples got plenty disapproving reactions from various circles, including political, the fight for gay rights is certainly not quite over here.
Personally, I truly believe that reading (and talking about) gay themed books might contribute to spreading the awareness of homophobia. Even more so when these books deal with the topic of homophobia, like the fabulous book I just finished a few days ago: Out in the Field by Kate McMurray. It’s about being gay in the world of sports and it's only one of the many examples of wonderful books out there but I wanted to give you at least one recommendation in case you don’t have a clue which book you have to choose if you are the winner of my prize today. ;)
About that: my giveaway prize consists of one m/m book of your choice, for at least one lucky commenter on this post. I’ll buy the book at All Romance eBooks for you, so you’ll have to be willing to create an account there, in case you don’t already have one (otherwise I can't buy the gift for you).
What do you have to do to be entered? Just leave a comment on this post in which you say you want to be entered and preferably with a way for me to contact you by email. It’s not mandatory but I would love it if you’d share in your comment a little fact about the fight against homophobia in your country.
I’ll announce the randomly picked winner(s) in a blog post on Sunday the 20th, so be sure to leave your comment before then. If you don't leave an email address in your comment, make sure to check back for the announcement on Sunday. A winner has 3 days to claim their prize after the announcement. If the winner fails to do that, I'll draw another winner instead.
The giveaway is open internationally.
Good luck to you all!~