I am not a nationalistic person. Actually, I’m quite anti-nationalistic: I’d rather live in the UK than in the Netherlands, for numerous reasons. But sometimes, just once in a while… this small country seems to be the most perfect place on earth.
About 9 years ago, there was a particular Turkish family in the Netherlands with a 9-month old son, and two older kids. The parents in this family were abusive, so eventually, our child services organisation decided to take the children away and to put them in a different family. In the case of the 9-month old Yunus, that family consisted of two lesbian women.
In the Netherlands, that’s not very uncommon. There are a lot of gay couples, and as you might have figured out, gay couples can’t have children in the natural way, so they often end up adopting children. Now, of course, child services takes very good care when it comes to selecting the right parents for a child, but things like ethnicity or sexual orientation are not the first things they consider, if they even consider them at all.
And that is how little Yunus, born in an Islamic family, ended up with two lesbian parents. As it happened, these parents were absolutely amazing. They recognised that Yunus was Islamic, and because there is always a chance that a child is placed back into his own family, they decided to raise him in an Islamic way. They took him to the mosque, and although these two white lesbian women were perhaps the opposite of what most Muslims are like, they raised their child as if they were Muslims themselves.
Nine years later, Yunus and his new parents were still living happily, when suddenly, his mother decided that her son couldn’t grow up in a lesbian family. Perhaps she had protested before, but she chose this moment, after 9 years, to protest properly: she asked the Turkish president, who will be visiting the Netherlands soon, for help.
The president responded angrily, claiming that the Dutch were trying to steal their children. In Turkey, documentaries were made about those insane Dutch people and their ridiculous gay rights. Yunus and his adoptive parents had to go into hiding while the Turkish president made claims to challenge our gay rights. Tension built up, and the question became, what will Dutch politics do?
And that’s where the pride comes in: Dutch politicians threw away all their political niceties to defend the rights of our country. They immediately announced that nobody was going to touch gay rights, and not a single voice in the entire parliament spoke up to defend the Turkish president. Soon, the media took over, with opinion pieces all pointing in the same direction: gay rights are here to stay.
That is what makes the Netherlands so wonderful. There is no doubt about gay rights. No politician, not even the strongly religious ones, would speak up against it. When you compare that to countries like the US, France or Italy, where people are still too ignorant to even get a majority in favour of gay marriage, then I realise that I am quite blessed with the country I was born in. If only the same could be said about all those other countries, where gay rights are still nearly non-existent.
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