Dutch government to promote gay acceptance

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The government of Holland has committed itself to the active promotion of acceptance of LGBT people in the light of several high-profile homophobic attacks in the country.

In a memorandum on the 2008 Budget, the coalition government’s Cabinet said that respect for difference is a basic condition of Dutch society.

They committed millions of euros to fight homophobia and promote acceptance.

Gay rights group COC welcomed the government’s commitment, and said that ignorance was the cause of anti-gay feeling.

However, they said the budgets for individual departments remain vague and that ministers must bring forward concrete measures.

Over half of Dutch gays feel less safe than they did a year ago, a survey carried out in August by current affairs programme EenVandaag revealed.

Sixty-four per cent of anti-gay incidents were verbal but 12 per cent resulted in physical abuse.

Amsterdam’s image in the Netherlands as the ‘gay capital of the world’ is also under threat as the survey revealed gays there were more fearful than in other parts of country.

A substantial increase in attacks in the capital has been reported over the last few years.

Of the 23,000 people questioned, including 1,980 gays and lesbians, 61 per cent still maintained the Netherlands is a gay-friendly country.

The fact that 72 per cent of respondents claimed to be in favour of gay marriages seemed to bear this up.