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New LGBT emancipation policy is ambitious, but not yet very concrete

Minister Dijkgraaf's new LGBT emancipation policy is ambitious. However, concrete measures in areas such as safety, education and legislation are still lacking. The COC calls on the cabinet to speed up implementation of the Rainbow Ballot Agreement.

'We are pleased with the minister's ambition,' COC president Astrid Oosenbrug responded. 'Now it's about taking action. Ensuring concrete measures so that LGBT+ persons are better protected by law and feel safer on the streets, at school and elsewhere.'

Minister Dijkgraaf wants "a country in which everyone can be themselves," he stated in the Emancipation Memorandum 2022-2025 released on Friday, Nov. 18. He sees it as the government's task to remove barriers and bring about a "culture change.

The minister is committed to an intersectional approach to emancipation, mindful of the sum of unequal opportunities that black trans women or older LGBT+ persons may face, for example. There is much attention to the position of bi+ persons in the workplace and in healthcare, and to the risks of artificial intelligence for LGBT+ equality. The Rainbow Municipality policy, which promotes emancipation at the local level, continues.

However, many measures from COC's Rainbow Ballot Agreement are missing from the paper. That agreement was signed by 10 political parties in March 2021. The coalition agreement of VVD, D66, CDA and Christian Union stipulates that the Rainbow Accord be implemented.

However, many promised measures against violence from the Rainbow Agreement are missing. For the Pink in Blue teams in the police, contrary to what was promised, there is still no extra time and money allocated. This means that these officers have to do the support of the LGBT+ community in their spare time. Only four discrimination investigators will be appointed nationwide to combat all forms of discrimination. Also, there will only be an "inventory" of discrimination on the Internet.  

Each year, approximately 2,500 people report or report violence and discrimination against LGBT+ persons, while fewer than 10 perpetrators are convicted.

The paper lacks several measures from the Rainbow Accord to improve acceptance in education. For example, there is still no ban on so-called "identity statements" by which religious schools reject LGBT+ persons. Education core objectives have not yet been tightened to prevent school rejection.

Otherwise, the paper announces little new legislation. There are, however, several initiatives coming out of the House of Representatives. For example, GroenLinks and ChristenUnie are working on a bill to punish discriminatory violence more severely. D66, VVD, PvdA, GroenLinks, SP and PvdD are writing a proposal to criminalize so-called "LGBT+ healing.

The Netherlands currently ranks 13th in Europe of countries that have LGBT+ human rights well regulated.     

The Rainbow Accord further promised legislation to better protect multi-parent families. The Emancipation Memorandum reports that an interdepartmental working group is currently mapping out how multi-parenthood - and authority can be secured in future laws and regulations. There will be more clarity on this before the summer of 2023.

Source: COC Netherlands - Image: Minister Dijkgraaf of OCW and Emancipation (photo: Rijksoverheid)