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Public Coming Out of Bi-cultural gays

by our Editors in Lifestyle & Fashion , 04 juni 2016

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Social workers and volunteers who try to help bi-cultural LGBTs should not want to steer them too quickly in the direction of a ‘Dutch’ coming out. Bi-cultural LGBTs often develop so-called subtle strategies to be themselves and make their own choices when it comes to love and sexuality.

This can be concluded from the report Biculturele LHBT’s aan het woord over hun doen en laten, a literature search of the Platform Integration & Society (KIS).

“They often think that when you're not completely out of the closet, you cannot lead a happy life,” researcher Marian van der Klein notes. According to the research, the most room for a coming out seems to be within the Turkish-Dutch community.

For this research, Van der Klein and her colleagues studied a total of 400 articles on and interviews with bi-cultural LGBTs that appeared between 1975 and 2015. They looked for cultural patterns and individualism. All the information was then compiled into one fact sheet with information about all bi-cultural LGBTs and three brochures that specifically deal with the comings and doings of Turkish-Dutch, Moroccan-Dutch and Surinamese-Dutch LGBTs.

Support from Mothers and Sisters

The coming out of many bi-cultural LGBTs is often in small steps. Public strategies, for instance participation in the Canal Parade during Amsterdam Gay Pride, do occur, but much less so.

“If people stop asking a Turkish-Dutch lesbian when she'll be getting married and start having children when visiting family in Turkey, she can interpret this as a sign of acceptance, not rejection,” Van der Klein notes. “From a Western Dutch perspective, people tend to think: that which you cannot talk about is taboo. But this is not necessarily true.”

Social workers should guard themselves against generalisations. “It is important to look at the individual, as the individual is better able to indicate what accents in culture are important.” An ally in the family (or within the community) can also help. LGBTs often mention mothers and sisters as cornerstone.

The situation of bi-cultural LGBTs is often made into a problem by the media, the researcher states. To a large extent rightly so because of the taboos around homosexuality, as well as the degree of acceptance that is somewhat lower than the Dutch average. At the same time, Turkish-Dutch, Moroccan-Dutch and Surinamese-Dutch boats are participating in the Canal Parade of Amsterdam Gay Parade, actors make and can be seen in theatrical performances on this theme, and with some regularity, there are autobiographies published about bi-cultural LGBTs.

Turkish-Dutch Have More Elbow-Room

The collected material revealed that for LGBTs, there is more elbow-room within the Turkish-Dutch community to use different strategies. “There are examples of 13-year-old gays and lesbians starting the conversation with their parents.”

The emphasis on economic independence within the Turkish-Dutch community gives women more freedom, also when it comes to love and sexual identity. In the stories of Turkish-Dutch LGBTs, there regularly is a progressive father figure; more often than in the interviews with Moroccan-Dutch LGBTs, where fathers are conservative without exception.

Self-acceptance Crucial for Coming Out

A (good) level of education, a job (income) and a loyal circle of friends makes it easier for all bi-cultural LGBTs to lead an independent life.

“In the end, self-acceptance is the most important factor,” Van der Klein notes. “Self-accepting LGBTs have a more open outlook than those who do not. If the community or the family is intolerant of homosexuality, it may help to take some distance - both literally and figuratively. Not everything will be 'coming up roses,' but leaving and choosing your own community usually does not end in tears. ”



In the New Issue of Gay News, 322, June 2018

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