King of the Netherlands to make historic visit to LGBT group

The King of the Netherlands will make a historic visit to a Dutch LGBT rights group later this month, in a historic first.

It was announced today that King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who ascended to the throne in 2013 when his mother abdicated, will meet with activists from COC Netherlands, a Dutch advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The visit, thought to be the first time the acting monarch has made a visit to an LGBT group, comes as COC celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

The Netherlands has long been a progressive beacon, becoming the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001.
‘We are very honored that he will visit us.

COC Chairperson Tanja Ineke said: “We view his visit as a real show of support for LGBT people in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the world as they struggle for acceptance and equal rights.”

According to a release, “the King will speak with various LGBT people who represent segments of the population where acceptance is often still lacking and who are working together with the COC to improve their position. He will listen to LGBT youth, to LGBT people with a bicultural or religious background and to LGBT seniors tell about their various experiences. The King will also talk with volunteers and staff of both COC Netherlands and the 20 regional COC chapters.”

COC is the oldest active LGBT organisation in the world, over the years leading the fight to get homosexuality decriminalised, to legalise same-sex marriage and to require LGBT-inclusive education in schools.

Queen Máxima attended a European LGBT conference in 2013, as well as an international symposium on transgender health earlier this year.