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  • Writer's pictureVeronika Bajnoková

Drag queens of Groningen make a fist against increasing queerphobia in the Netherlands

Queer people are increasingly targeted by violence in The Netherlands, putting fear in the hearts of the LGBTQI+ community.

In Groningen, queens are not standing by passively, but taking action to defend the drag scene.

Local bar Dorothy’s Drag under the Rainbow reported that two flags were stolen from its storefront several weeks ago. This is not the first time their flags have been stolen.

Co-owner of the bar, Andy Wilson, who also performs in drag as Dorothy Male, opened the bar together with his husband last year in July and since then has had to deal with multiple attacks on the venue. “We’ve had people spit on the windows and several costumers have had eggs thrown at them,” Andy told The Groninger.

A man physically assaulted the owners and employees of the bar on the street after closing time in April. The motivation of the attack remains unclear but the man made several homophobic remarks. “My husband got quite badly hurt in his face and I ended up with bruises all around because the man was punching me constantly.”

This was the first time Andy was physically attacked since he started working in the drag scene over twenty years ago. “It was quite traumatic,” he says.

Dorothy's Drag under the Rainbow © Veronika Bajnoková

The situation is getting worse

Dorothy’s bar is a home for multiple drag queens from the north of Netherlands. Wietze Hoekstra has been performing as Curvalicious Diamond for five years now and two weeks ago, he decided to quit his job to pursue drag full time.

A man tried to attack Wietze when walking the streets of Amsterdam as Curvalicious Diamond three years ago. Fortunately, Wietze managed to run away but the experience left him in shock. “You always read about these things on social media but we didn’t get to see it in the north of the Netherlands as much. But now it’s getting worse.”

Andy is also aware that nowadays there’s more nervousness in the drag scene. When he walks the streets of Groningen as Dorothy, he makes sure to have at least three or four people with him for protection.

But it’s not only a problem for drag queens, it’s queer people in general who are being attacked. “It is a problem as a whole within the Netherlands, and it’s getting worse. And I fear that at some point, something serious may happen,” Andy says.

Drag Race Holland winner Envy Peru was attacked this July in Amsterdam. Four men threatened the drag queen with a weapon and kicked her down to the floor on public transport in broad daylight, as she reported on her social media.

Drag is a protest

Both Andy and Wietze feel that the artform of drag is misunderstood. “I’m very concerned. There’s a lot of homophobia and misinformation out there,” says Andy.

For Wietze, drag is not only an artform but also a protest to show people his emotions and vulnerability: “I try to show myself in drag as much as possible.” He says drag queens are now coming together to form a bigger protest. “We’re trying to bring out as many shows as possible.”

Andy is already organizing as many events in his bar as possible. Currently, Dorothy’s Drag under the Rainbow hosts four drag shows every month and on top of that various queens from the north host pub quizzes, bingo and karaoke nights.

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