Harassed gay couple filmed abusers: "filming is important!"

During the Easter weekend, a video went viral in which a gay couple is faced with homophobic abuse. Fabio Viana and his fiancé Daniël Schepers were verbally harassed in Amsterdam by a group of youngsters on the street. The two were even spat on. It wasn't the first time they experienced homophobia, but this was the first they decided to record such an attack. Grab your phone and start filming: it could protect the LGBT+ community from street harassment, Fabio emphasizes in an interview with OUTtv.
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The amount of supportive reactions to the video is overwhelming, Fabio states. He posted the video on April 12, which showed a boy calling him and his partner “cancer gays”. He estimates that about 95 percent is positive. "I've never had so many positive messages in my life," he says. "Responses like, ‘You've done what I never would have done’."

The couple lives in Amsterdam and has faced homophobic encounters several times before. Fabio refers to numerous examples, in the metro and even during Pride Amsterdam. Even in the Dutch capital, with its tolerant image, homosexuals are not safe from homophobia. The couple never filed a report. During the latest incident they made a different decision. They first called Roze in Blauw (translated: Pink in Blue), the police network that specializes in protecting LGBTI+ people, who referred them to 112 (the national emergency number in the Netherlands). The couple then filed a report.

“Filming is important,” Fabio repeats a number of times. This way you can enforce the filed report. This is also confirmed by police officer Jan Martijn Stout, a member of Roze in Blauw. “You have so much to gain from a video. There you can truly see what happens, rather than only a description.’’


Filing a report: ''I worry more about the numbers I don't see rather than the numbers I do see,''

According to official figures, the number of reports against gay discrimination in the Netherlands is decreasing, but the police are wary of confirming whether this is also the case in practice. According to a spokesperson, a new measurement method has been put in place recently. Previously, an incident in which an officer was called "gay" was also counted as gay discrimination.

“I worry more about the numbers I don't see rather than the numbers I do see,” says Stout. “Figures don't really mean anything to me. You see that the feeling of security is declining. People feel less safe on the street and that, of course, is a shame,” Stout continued.

Such a video is an important piece of evidence in a possible lawsuit, especially when a suspect tells a different story. Which is also what is happening in the case of Fabio and Daniël. One of the suspects, a boy who introduces himself as Ilyas, told his side of the story in a YouTube video. He claims to have been pushed first, and the couple would have provoked him and the other boys. "I haven't looked at it, I'm not going to be his audience," says Fabio. His partner, since recently his fiancé, did watch the video. Fabio asks out loud, “Why do I have to see it? I know the story. I AM the story.” He feels disappointed that the boy is “playing the victim”.


Freedom: ''We as gays should not be afraid, but those who attack us should be.''

Fabio and Daniël emphasize that they hope for a positive change by publishing the video. “I hope this opens people’s eyes, but also their mouths and ears. We must remain on the public agenda. Even today, also in the Netherlands. It's about our freedom. I mainly came to the Netherlands because I can be openly gay here, in Brazil I can't hold my boyfriend’s hand.”

Fabio said he somewhat regrets not reporting previous incidents of homophobia, but is very happy he did this time around. "Thanks to our case, people have started talking about it again." In addition, he would like to see everyone who faces homophobia report to the police about it.

“We will give the police a lot of work, but at least then they will see what is happening. You actually file a report to protect your own freedom.” In addition, Fabio emphasizes that you can then also receive psychological help. "Some people can experience trauma from it."

Stout emphasizes that the police should be called immediately in the case of street harassment. He also recommends looking for witnesses to the incident. You can then go to any police station to report this. Roze in Blauw can help you with that.

Fabio: “To the whole gay community, we need to increase the pressure on the mayor, legislators and the country. Everyone must help (report and make videos, ed.). We as gays should not be afraid, but those who attack us should be.”


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