Whether you are heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, everyone should feel at home in Amsterdam. With its Pink Agenda, the City of Amsterdam continues to work towards ensuring that Amsterdam remains safe, open and appealing to the international LGBT community, and that the city is a haven to LGBTs from around the world due to its welcoming atmosphere, events and facilities.
Simone Kukenheim (alderperson for Diversity): "The College of Mayor and Alderpersons is committed to strengthening the position of the LGBT community. Amsterdam has long been a frontrunner when it comes to equal rights for homosexuals but we are not there yet. There are still too many Amsterdammers that dare not come out of the closet and too many LGBT Amsterdammers that dare not walk hand-in-hand down the street with their partner. I want you to be able to be yourself in Amsterdam. Unique to this plan is that we will assume a broad responsibility: from sports clubs to schools. We will talk to all institutions about how they can support and bolster the social acceptance of LGBTs."
International Pink City
It is essential that Amsterdam remains an attractive 'pink city' for international visitors. After all, in 2001 the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, Gay Pride is one of the biggest annual festivities to take place in Amsterdam, and in 2016 the city will play host to Europride. There is also a major focus on LGBT acceptance within the sporting world, and major events such as SAIL Amsterdam, the TCS Amsterdam Marathon and the Dam to Damloop running event typically assess whether LGBT components can be incorporated.
It all starts with youth
Even in Amsterdam, however, it is clear that LGBT youths do not always feel safe. They may feel rejected, excluded and sometimes even threatened. To be heterosexual is viewed as normal at schools; something that pupils and teachers are conscious of. In terms of education, the priorities of the Pink Agenda include: setting standards, actively engaging parents, establishing visible role models, training teachers to lead discussions and providing teaching materials that draw attention to sexual diversity. Every school must get started on this topic. Also within the realm of youth work, much more attention must be devoted towards sexual identity, empowerment and participation.
A dedicated desk focused on LGBT safety
To promote safety for all LGBT Amsterdammers, a dedicated desk focused on LGBT safety (Roze veiligheidsloket) is being initiated in the city. Here it will be possible to raise any concerns or ask questions about LGBT safety issues. Unfortunately, discrimination and aggression towards members of the LGBT community still occurs all too often. That's why the City of Amsterdam will collaborate with the police to encourage the victims of such behaviour to file official complaints, working together with the police network's own Roze in Blauw ('Pink in Blue') project team.
The elderly, women and transgenders
The number of elderly LGBT people in Amsterdam is increasing. It is essential that members of this community can enjoy the same positive experiences as any others. In particular, elderly LGBT citizens are often more susceptible to loneliness than their heterosexual peers. We want to be more responsive to the needs of the elderly LGBT community, utilising tools such as our district care teams. Additionally, lesbian women and transgenders are still not visible enough when it comes to gay emancipation. As such, Amsterdam will focus on increasing their visibility. An important emphasis will be on women and transgenders from a bicultural background.
The Pink Agenda is a visionary document, drafted with direct input from more than 150 LGBT organisations and professionals. A second Pink Agenda meeting will be organised in June 2015 to look at the implementation and the cooperation between different parties in the city. The results of this meeting will form the core of the implementation plan, which will then be submitted to the City Council.