Early Sunday morning, just outside Arnhem, located in the east of the Netherlands, a gay couple was attacked by a group of teens for holding hands. The perpetrators were armed with bolt cutters and knocked out several teeth from one of the victims.
Following the attack, one of the victims, Vernes-Sewratan, created a Facebook post calling the incident a hate crime. The post went viral. In response, Barabara Barend, who is a Dutch magazine founder, tweeted asking all men, straight or gay, to walk together holding hands. The twitter hashtag that arose from the plea is #allemannenhandinhand.
Police, actors, sports stars, politicians, and others across the world have responded to the call.
Here are some of the heartwarming images below.
— Lise Gregoire (@LiseGvH) April 3, 2017
— Saima Mohsin (@SaimaMohsin) April 5, 2017
— frerieke (@frerieke) April 5, 2017
— ¡Hombre Duplicado! (@YoAnotzin) April 5, 2017
Despite the attack and the following activism, the Netherlands are not recognized as a typically anti-LGBT country. They were the world’s first country to legalize same-sex marriage back in 2001.
However, whether in the Netherlands, and many other parts of the world, there remains a dangerous stigma about men holding hands. We can only hope that this event leads to some new open minds.