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A remarkable and somewhat painful incident on March 10 in Tongeren’s criminal court. The twenty-three-year-old Abdullah Essah stood trial for the murder of the fifty-year-old gay man Erik Janssen. Janssen supposedly had paid Abdullah for sex, but when Janssen said he would make Abdullah’s homosexuality public, he apparently went nuts.

Apr 2017       
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“That is SO gay!” “But you don’t look lesbian.” “Well, they did a great job.” “Don’t you miss penises?” Or: “Bisexual? Can’t you choose?” We are all familiar with thinking in boxes. If my best friend, who is also extremely gay - here we go again - says something about my dyke blouse, we all get the joke. I define the blouse as a “just went wood chopping in the forest” blouse. Or perhaps not wood chopping, as that is bad for the environment.

Apr 2017       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Do I think that PrEP should be reimbursed by the RIZIV (the Belgian public health insurance)? It’s a trick question, as most people know what I do professionally, and how the subject sometimes involves me. They try to figure out my position on the subject, knowing that I’m gay. This is perhaps a reason to expect an appropriate answer from me?

Mar 2017       
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“Wanna go to my place later?” Paul whispered in my ear. We were at the Amstel Taveerne. “It is ten o’clock, and Wim is probably at home now.” I was fascinated by Paul’s large moustache. It was also obvious he was going to the gym regularly. At precisely that time, we got some more beers.

Mar 2017       
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A.S.V.Gay’s winter months are almost, but not entirely behind us. After all the wonderful activities organized by the committee members over the past few months, it was our job as the board to put the members in the limelight at the Day of the Committee. The day is meant as an opportunity to give thanks to it.

Mar 2017       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Following the death of British pop star George Michael, the GLBTQ community praised George Michael as a role model. To some degree, his coming out was very brave indeed, but it should not come as a surprise that precisely the coming out of role models is part of the marketing and public relations of the celebrities’ personality cult.

Feb 2017       
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I was standing in between Hans and Pim. They were great kissers. Suddenly, I was pushed down. They opened their flies. “Here you go,” Hans said, “Time for you to give head.” I sucked as hard as I could. Pim held my head tight and gave me a corrective slap in the face. “Get undressed!,” Pim commanded. I complied. Hans and Pim were touching my entire body, and I was fingered hard and deep - moaning and squirming.

Feb 2017       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Now that the obligatory New Year’s wishes are soon a thing of the past, it is time for the traditional short review of the last semester of a rather eventful 2016, with some striking statements made by famous and less famous Belgians in the Flemish media.

Jan 2017       
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After a busy Christmas period seeing family and friends, the members of A.S.V.Gay will be united in one of the greatest cities of our southern neighbor country, Antwerp. Traditionally, the travel committee organizes a trip around Christmas. If the trip is as fun as it normally is, the members can again fall back on mucky but fun anecdotes for weeks.

Jan 2017       
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Last month, I witnessed an historic event. For the first time in history, a crowned head of state visited the GLBT community. COC Netherlands, which celebrates its seventieth anniversary this year, was bestowed the honor of a royal visit by His Majesty King Willem Alexander on November 22.

Jan 2017       
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I was at the Huntsman having a great time. Egbert and Pim sat next to me, a couple I had known for some time. They were large, impressive men - both bold and with large moustaches. But I had never hooked up with them. Jantje was behind the bar, entertaining the entire bar. I told them I had missed the last train.

Dec 2016       
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Almost every gay man, lesbian woman, or bisexual person has to do it at one point: come out of the closet. Often, it doesn’t stop at one coming out: to family, friends, classmates, your sports club or new work environment. Some people have to open that closet door every week! But is the current generation of students Out and Proud?

Dec 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Behind every successful man there is a woman. This certainly holds true for a lot of successful men, for instance former American president Bill Clinton. His wife Hillary did not become the forty-fifth President of the United States, but her maligned rival and real estate tycoon Donald Trump did.

Dec 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, The bishop of Antwerp, Johan Bonny, regularly reaches out to the gay community. In his new book, which was published last month, he thinks aloud about new church rituals. According to the bishop, new forms of cohabitation, for example gay couples and legally cohabiting straight couples, should be included.

Nov 2016       
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It was that time of the year again. In September, the new students were welcomed to A.S.V.Gay, the Amsterdam student society for GLBTs! The highlight of our introduction is the “ontrozing” (“pink hazing”), the weekend in which you make at least fifty new friends. But what is this introduction all about?

Nov 2016       
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Wim and I got hammered at the Compagnie. The dark room was packed, and we were horny. “Want to go outside for a while?,” Wim shouted in my ear. He took my hand and we walked down the stairs. We took a stroll alongside the Amstel. “I know this alley up ahead. Let’s go there,” he suggested, breathless.

Oct 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, When this column goes to the printer, I will be at the European fetish event of the year, Folsom in Berlin. It is the joyful reunion with friends from home and abroad I do not bump into every day.

Oct 2016       
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On the Rationale of a GLBTQ+ Students’ Union. Last month, we, the Amsterdam Students’ Union Gay, introduced ourselves through our participation in the Canal Parade and a social look-behind-the-scene. All great fun of course, but the existence of a students’ union for students who are not heterosexual, is not a matter-of-course for everyone.

Oct 2016       
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We were in the aftermath in a cubicle in the sauna, Wim and I. It was a Monday afternoon and I had taken the afternoon off. “Wow,” Willem said, “that was great.” I had another feel, and his ass was completely wet. “A shower?,” I asked. “Yes. Fine,” he said. “And a beer at the bar. My treat.”

Sep 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Who takes a stand in Belgium (and Europe) for the gay community? One is easily tempted to reply that organizations such as Wel Jong Niet Hetero, Cavaria as an umbrella organization, etcetera, will do so.

Sep 2016       
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Proud as a peacock I look back at two wonderful weeks. All events were successful and went down without incidents. In spite of some scattered showers, the city radiated freedom, love, and solidarity.

Sep 2016       
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“Look behind you. Not too conspicuous, over your shoulders, to the right against the wall. He’s gorgeous!,” Hans told me. I saw a very handsome guy and I winked at him. We exchanged looks, and he bought us a beer. “You’re a dish,” I said. The atmosphere was sensual in the Web.

Aug 2016       
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A.S.V.Gay?! Most of the gay people we bump into and tell about our student union don’t get much further than “it must be something gay.” This is in fact already quite a lot, because straight people invariably simply hear the letter “g” (in Dutch) rather than gay, so you have an advantage.

Aug 2016       
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“Amsterdam Gay Pride is not just another event. It is a symbol of the open and tolerant city we want to be. We celebrate the freedom to be who you want to be. For the past twenty years, the boat parade has become inseparable from Amsterdam and is here to stay in the city center.”

Jul 2016       
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In 1976, I was working at the main office of a public school society, the “Vereniging van Openbaar Onderwijs” on the Jan Luykenstraat. After the Christmas drink, I decided to go into town for a while. I was entirely dressed in black, wearing my black cowboy boots. And under my jacket, I was wearing a very shiny golden waistcoat. At the Amstel Taveerne, I met Rob, a guy from Rotterdam.

Jul 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, The first six months of 2016 are behind us now. As is customary, a short overview of some quotes by famous and less famous Belgians in the Flemish media over the last semester. Have a great summer everyone!

Jul 2016       
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After three years of preparations, the countdown has finally begun. What only existed on paper, now comes to life in a beautiful and tangible whole. Not only have we been working on this for years, we have functioned as the hub and the oil that kept the motor running. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of people have been working for a long time, and it is wonderful to see that all these initiatives are now unfolding themselves.

Jul 2016       
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I found a mourning card in the mail. “After a long sickbed, WIM DE GROOT passed away in hospital.” I was upset. That sweet Wim had not survived lymphoma. I walked back to my apartment, thinking. Some months ago I had visited Wim in hospital, where he occupied a double.

Jul 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, although I write this column when the Belgian Pride still has to take place, not to worry. Just as previous year, Belgian Pride has already caused some commotion, even before the first drag queen with feathers up his ass is shaking his hips in a pretentious manner in front of a camera lens. The Brussels city council decided some weeks ago to change the yearly meeting place from Beursplein to the Kunstberg in the Central Station area.

Jun 2016       
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In 2001, the Netherlands had a first when civil marriage was opened up to people of the same sex. On the first of April, the first couples were married in Amsterdam. At EuroPride, this anniversary will be celebrated, and we call on other countries to follow our lead.

Jun 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, The French investigative journalist Sophie Coignard knows how to set about her work. Few investigative journalist dig so deep in an attempt to discover the truth. Fascinated by various (state) secrets and the dark powers that be, she published her most successful book “Un état dans l’état” (A State within the State) in 2009.

May 2016       
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The Amsterdam Gay Pride is not only unique because of the canal parade, but also because of its street parties. Where in the world is the entire city center celebrating all weekend and is the GLBT community showing the way?

May 2016       
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On November 25, I had a cerebrovascular accident. My left arm and left leg were numb. In my last column (in the January edition), I wrote that I was at AMC Hospital on the Neurology ward. After a week, my physiotherapist said: “There’s nothing we can do for you here. We are waiting for a bed in rehabilitation center Reade.”

Apr 2016       
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Dear AGP Friends, A lot has happened since my last column. The draft licence application has been submitted, the first meetings with the fire brigade, police and residents of the Prinsengracht have taken place, and during our kick-off event on Valentine’s Day, the participants of the Canal Parade have been made public.

Apr 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Discrimination and homophobia have become second nature for gay people. Statistically, it is impossible for any gay man or lesbian not ever having to deal with discrimination and homophobia. Discrimination is often subtle, but homophobia can result in physical violence.

Apr 2016       
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Dear AGP Friends, The editors asked me to write a column in the run up to EuroPride. Although it is a hectic time with many deadlines coming together, I enthusiastically agreed to it. As the president of the Amsterdam Gay Pride (AGP) foundation, I want to give you a behind the scenes of the most beautiful event in the world.

Mar 2016       
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A study that was published just before the turn of the year, shows that adult Germans see the 1980s as the preferred decade to live in if they could choose from the post WW II decades. Almost a quarter (23%) preferred the 1980s in this survey by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. The 1980s are followed by the 1970s with eighteen percent, and the 1990s and the current decade (from 2010) with the same percentage (13%).

Mar 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, When creating a profile, certain gay dating sites ask to enter “race” or “color.” Are you Caucasian, Arabic, “Black,” or “Asian,” etc.? No one seems to mind. But when “black” Pete is involved, especially in the Netherlands, all hell breaks loose.

Feb 2016       
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Leo and I had just finished drinking coffee and eating our eggs at beach tent “Zeezicht” near the end of the boulevard of Zandvoort. We were now walking along the sea towards North in the direction of the nude beach. It was quite busy, so I was walking behind Leo. I watched the moving butt in his red swimming trunks, and could just make out the beginning of his crack. I thought: “Let’s admit it. I just love those buttocks.”

Jan 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, The maximum terror level in Brussels most likely did not escape anyone in the Netherlands. Just as many other foreign tourists, the Dutch have delayed their end-of-year trip to Brussels indefinitely. Terror fright, it is called.

Jan 2016       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Another year is almost over, and just like last semester, the Flemish media was full of reports on the gay community. Below, a small anthology of the last semester.

Dec 2015       
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During the latest Amsterdam Leather Pride various SM workshops were given under the auspices of the Amsterdam Kink Academy, such as on Saturday, October 24, 2015, the workshops Cock & Ball Torture, Electro Play, Predicament Bondage, and Fear. About the workshop Fear I want to say the following.

Dec 2015       
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I was twenty-eight-years-old and treated myself to eight days in New York. I was so nervous when I boarded the plane that I had earned a scotch. In front of me was a nice girl. Violet from Rotterdam. “First, I am going to New York for four days, and then I’m flying to Los Angeles to visit a friend,” she said. We felt a connection and kept talking, when all of a sudden my neighbor said: “Shall I change seats with her?,” which he did. Violet sat next to me.

Dec 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Pope Francis was struggling during and after his media-crazed trip to the United States. Even though he did not mention gay marriage during his speech for the General Assembly of the United Nations, an AFP journalist noticed a subtle hint about his disapproval of it in the text of the speech.

Nov 2015       
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“Doris, can you come over here?” Barney Rapp asked. She was singing with his band and was still in her teens. Her grandparents on both sides were immigrants from Germany, and her full name was Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff. “We have to do something about your name,” Barney said. He had just heard her sing the song “Day by Day.”

Oct 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, American county clerk Kim Davis is still in jail at the time this column is going to press. She was sent to jail because of her continuous refusal to process marriage licenses by same-sex couples leading up to their wedding. It’s contrary to her Catholic beliefs.

Sep 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Under the motto “It’s never too late for a first time” I visited Antwerp Pride in the weekend of August 8. The visit was limited to Friday and Saturday, as this column had to be sent out to the publisher Sunday afternoon.

Sep 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, I thought it was a thing of the past until I was corrected by an article on the news site of the BBC. How women after ten, twenty years of marriage find out that their husband is gay. Unfortunately there are still men who prefer to get married instead of confronting and upsetting the family, even in Western Europe.

Sep 2015       
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I was once again on the terrace of Café In de Waag on the Nieuwmarkt with my friends Marion and Anja. “You will never guess where I was last week with my sisters Els and Carolien,” I said. They had no idea. “I was at the Ziggo Dome for the very first time. It was a Sing-a-Long for the sixtieth anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest. It was wonderful.” “Yuck! That you’re into that! Such bad taste,” Anja said.

Aug 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, The first six months of 2015 are behind us. During this time, the Flemish press has of course written about homosexuality. Here follows a selection, ideal for reading material at a holiday destination of your choice.

Aug 2015       
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I was working at Amsterdam City Hall at the department of Public Open Space. With working schedules in hand, I regularly had meetings with a group of men who had to do work on the streets in the city center. They used to make fun of me. “Baby doll, you forgot to wear your heels.” “Did you always speak like a little queen?” “What is it like to be a caveman?” And so on.

Jun 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Several weeks ago, the very first Belgian surrogate mother fair took place in Brussels. Here, especially North-American agencies offered their services to gay and lesbian couples. Surrogate motherhood is not regulated in Belgium, and there are quite a lot of legal issues that are in need of regulation.

Jun 2015       
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In 1974, Lefert, my boyfriend/husband, and I planned our first long vacation, a group tour of Tunisia and a part of Algeria. I was not looking forward to the group, but the travel agency assured us that in that heat, we would see more that way. We weren’t used to being an open gay couple yet, and after the necessary inoculations and preparations it was time to go.

May 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Some weeks ago, the Belgian gay community was in turmoil. Well, mostly in Brussels and the Walloon provinces. What happened? Federal minister of Social Affairs and Health, Maggie De Block, had cancelled the national HIV plan that is primarily meant to counteract the spread of HIV.

May 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, In Belgium, HIV treatment costs 1,027.50 Euros per patient per month, or 12,330 Euros per year. These are some of the conclusions of a study from the University of Hasselt on the total economic health costs of HIV treatment in Belgium.

May 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, Seventy years ago, on January 27, 1945, Soviet troops invaded the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. They found 6,000 prisoners who were still alive. During World War II - depending on the source - approximately 11 million people were killed in concentration camps. The majority was Jewish, some six million people.

Mar 2015       
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It was Monday afternoon. I had an hour off from work and was walking on the Leidsestraat. Via the Prinsengracht I ended up at Raamstraat and entered the Thermos.

Mar 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, The deadline for this column was on Sunday, January 11th, the day one million French people took to the streets in Paris. They did so to vent their grief over the terrorist acts that had taken place in the Parisian streets.

Mar 2015       
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When we were little boys, we were peeing next to each other in a ditch. Being little boys, Jan, a neighborhood boy and I were warned not to pee against barbed wire. But Jan and I were curious. “Do you dare?,” Jan asked.

Mar 2015       
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Dear Neighbors to the North, A new year. A new overview of the half-yearly quotes about the gay community in the Flemish press. I wish you all excellent health in the New Year. But it is up to you to have fun!

Feb 2015       
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