Homophobic incidents have increasingly been making the news in the Netherlands – once so proud of its international reputation for tolerance. Recently in the central city of Utrecht, homophobic threats and abuse drove a lesbian couple, a gay couple and a transgender woman from their homes. However, there are no reliable figures showing an increase in homophobic attacks.
René Tigges, a 40-year-old gay man, recently moved to Utrecht, unperturbed by the recent reports. He lives in a multicultural neighbourhood and has no intention of changing his behaviour. For example, he doesn't worry about who's watching when he kisses a male friend goodbye in the street.
"I just stay myself. If I'm in the street with a gay friend or if I walk him to the station, for instance, then I say goodbye just like anyone else would. I don't start looking round, thinking 'Oh, who's watching, oh no, I shouldn't do it, because someone might say something.' No."