After a series of violent incidents against the LGBTI community, the rainbow flag flew on various buildings today at the request of interest group COC Nederland and the regional COCs. The multi-colored flag was displayed at city halls, police stations, the Ministry of VWS and party offices, among others. COC Nederland had called for this after several anti-LGBTI incidents.
Last weekend in Eindhoven, the rainbow flag was snatched from the facade of the COC building by a group of about twenty people. That group tried to set the flag on fire and called young people present at a meeting as “cancer gay”. A volunteer who asked them to stop was slapped in the face.
In Groningen that same weekend, employees of a drag show bar were assaulted and homophobic chants were heard during the football match between Spakenburg and PSV. Reason enough for the COC to emphasize once again that hatred and violence must stop.
Dennis Bijleveld, one of the most famous drag queens in the Netherlands, has now been working in the drag scene for eight years as Ma’Ma Queen and has personally experienced the criticism of the community. “The more visible we are, the more commentary we get,” says the drag artist.
In the video below, Ma’Ma Queen talks about the growing criticism and incidents in the life of a drag queen:
Criticism on social media in particular has taken off, says Ma’Ma Queen. Being yelled at on the street is of all times and the drag queen still experiences that today. But a taxi driver who refuses to take you is also daily fare for the drag queens in the Netherlands.
According to Hanneke Felten, discrimination researcher at the Movisie knowledge institute, anti-LGBTI voices are increasingly finding their way to the media and social media. And she calls that problematic. “When that comes in the media, people think it’s an ordinary sound and that apparently many people think so.”
She says that there is a lot of disinformation going around and that it does not help acceptance. She also sees it happening around drag queens lately. “People often think: if other people don’t approve, then I don’t approve. As soon as those anti-drag queen stories go around, that sentiment grows,” said Felten.
Drag is an art form
Ma’Ma Queen wonders why people are critical and against drag. “Drag is an art form, as much as painting, dancing or acting,” says Ma’Ma Queen. “What exactly do they want? Drag stands for freedom and being able to be yourself, you can’t forbid that.”
The drag artist does not let himself be put off by it, in fact, the fighting spirit only increases. “The more we are limited, the more we will make ourselves visible,” says Ma’Ma Queen firmly.
Compliments on the train
“We are there because we can’t express certain sides of ourselves in everyday life and are not appreciated. When we are drag, we can celebrate it well. The increase in commentary on drags only makes me more combative.”
Fortunately, says Ma’Ma Queen, not only are the criticisms increasing, but also the compliments. “That goes the same way. When I’m on the train or public transport with full make-up, people also come to me and say how cool and cool they think it is.”
- COC reports ‘gay hatred against children’, building in Eindhoven attacked
- Groningen drag show bar employees mistreated: ‘It was very surreal’
- Spakenburg will confront supporters with homophobic chants: ‘This is a slur’