In the Netherlands, men are holding hands to show solidarity and support for a gay couple who were the victims of a horrifying hate crime.
Last week, a gay couple was holding hands as they walked home from a dance party together when they were viciously attacked by a group of men and youths. Their assailants reportedly used a set of bolt cutters to remove several teeth from one of the men.
Four people have been arrested for the attack, the NL Times writes. One of the group was 20 years old, but the rest were all teens.
The nation was shocked, both by the ugliness of the crime and the fact that it had happened in their own country. The Netherlands is very culturally progressive, particularly regarding LGBTQ rights. It was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, with the bill passing by a wide margin. An overwhelming majority of Dutch people support same-sex marriage and adoption, according to polls.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte condemned the attack, as did GroenLinks (Green Left) Party leader Jesse Klaver. And both men called for work preventing such attacks.
Then on Monday, Alexander Pechtold and Wouter Koolmees, two prominent members of the progressive D66 Party showed up to a government meeting holding hands. (No, they’re not a couple, as far as we know.)
— Lousewies v d Laan (@LousewiesvdLaan) April 3, 2017
The nation took note, and pretty soon more men (as well as a few women) started following suit. A hashtag, #allemannenhandinhand (“all men hand in hand”) spread across social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Men from all walks of life photographed themselves holding hands publicly.
— William Rutten (@WilliamRutten) April 3, 2017
— Jill Holterman (@Jillholterman) April 4, 2017
— Vera Bauman (@VeraBauman) April 3, 2017
— Eric van Tok (@Ericossie) April 3, 2017
— Lise Gregoire (@LiseGvH) April 3, 2017
It’s a beautiful show of solidarity for victims of a hideous, homophobic crime. And it stands out in sharp contrast to the Trump administration’s response to the rise in queerphobic and racist hate crimes and bullying incidents since the end of the election: resounding silence.
(Header image via Instagram)