The following news release was sent to our offices by the Homosexuality and the Armed Forces Foundation.
The Homosexuality and the Armed Forces Foundation (SHK, Dutch abbreviation) celebrated its 25th anniversary on November 9. To mark the occasion, the SHK published its very first book, entitled Defensies Trots [The Pride of the Defence Organisation]. The book was presented to Lieutenant General Willem van de Water, the Principal Director of Personnel at the Ministry of Defence, during the celebrations.
The SHK has been acting in the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) civilian and military personnel working within the Netherlands Defence organisation since 1987. The Defence organisation’s personnel policy focuses on creating a social and safe work environment for LGBTI personnel.
25 years of homosexual emancipation has brought the Netherlands to where it stands now: homosexuality on the workfloor is a subject that can now be discussed openly. The visibility of LGBTI’s has also increased significantly, as demonstrated by the Defence organisation’s annual participation in the Amsterdam Gay Canal Pride. Tolerance amongst Defence organisation personnel has increased.
Major Peter Kees Hamstra, Chairman of the SHK said, “In the early years of the SHK, it was the intention for the foundation to self-abolish as soon as all impediments to LGBTI personnel had receded. Now, 25 years later, we can ascertain that that day has not yet arrived. Contrary to what is often claimed, homosexual emancipation has not yet been completed.”
He continued, “In 2012, there are still men and women who do not wish to disclose their sexual orientation. The SHK will therefore continue to fight for social acceptance and inclusion. Moreover, the time has come for the organisation to recognise and use the qualitative added value of diversity in relation to sexual orientation.”
There is still much work to be done on social acceptance and strengthening the position of LGBTI personnel. The SHK is co-founder of the NATO LGBTI Working Group
and advises other nations’ Defence organisations on creating and maintaining a safe social work environment for LGBTI personnel. The SHK also made a contribution to the American research project which led to the abolishment of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2010.
Netherlands Defence personnel in full uniform first took part in the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade in 2009. Two years later, in 2011, the Defence organisation hired its own boat to take part in the pride. This was organised by the SHK.
Source: Homosexuality and the Armed Forces Foundation