Following a disgusting homophobic attack on a married couple, straight men in the Netherlands are doing something simple yet profound: holding hands.
Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes, a married couple in the city of Arnhem, were on their way home from a dance party on Sunday when they were reportedly set upon by a group of six to eight young men, yelling things such as "disgusting, dirty, homo." The pair do not normally engage in PDA, but on this occasion were holding hands. Vernes-Sewratan told RTL Nieuws, "We'll almost never show in public that we are in a relationship. But we had a few drinks, it was dark on the street and there were almost no people, so we held hands." It was a horrific attack against a couple for something so natural, with one husband losing four teeth after being struck with a bolt cutter.
Fortunately, men in the Netherlands are publicly standing (or should I say walking) with the victims.
It all started with Alexander Pechtold and Wouter Koolmees, two Dutch politicians who showed their support for the couple and their LGBTQ allyship by showing up to a government meeting Monday hand-in-hand.
"Stop violence against gays," Pechtold's tweet reads, along with the hashtag #allemannenhandinhand, Dutch for "all men, hand in hand."
"We think it is quite normal in the Netherlands to express who you are," Pechtold told DutchNews.
Men quickly began following their lead, tweeting and Instagramming their own #allemannenhandinhand images and condemning the attack.
It's even taking place in New York:
It's a beautiful show of allyship: these men are holding hands to show solidarity with this couple and all LGBTQ people. But it's also a powerful gesture against toxic standards of masculinity. Men should be able to hold hands or show affection in any way they feel comfortable.
Congrats to these allies for standing up and showing homophobes that they do not represent Dutch men.
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