"Dirty homo! Leave!" It is but one Facebook soundbite Kristof from the Victor Frisstraat posted Wednesday night. It was promptly shared 200 times on the social network site. Similar insults have become a daily routine for him and his partner (28). Quite a shocker in a city which has included LGBT integration in its governing charter.
Three years ago the couple moved into the multicultural Rabot neighborhood. "We knew what we were doing [which is actually interesting, this remark shows they did expect trouble - MFBB], but the houses here are cheap and living in a multicultural neighborhood sounded like a fancy thing. Moreover, on has the right to choose where he lives", so he starts his story. "The first year everything was hunky dory. We tried to establish contact with the neighbors and there were no problems. But the last two years have been hell. We are constantly provocated. An example: they park in front of our garage. It is however clear there's a garage. When we address the guy [who parked in front of our garage - MFBB] we get insults hurled at us or even threatened physically."
Wednesday evening Kristof's partner, upon returning home from shopping, saw that the car of his neighbor across the street was again parked in front of their garage. When he walked over to ask the man to drive away, "Dirty homo! Leave!" was the only thing he got to hear. "The situation escalated completely. While we called the police, the man's wife called nine Turks. Police only arrived after three quarters of an hour, judged this was a simple neighbors' quarrel, and left again. We were left on our own."
That was asked too much for Kristof. "Talking to those neighbors won't do anyway. It's not that we live in fear now, but we don't feel safe anymore. But we don't think of leaving! Otherwise they've got what they wanted. Things really have to change. Ghent is portrayed in the media as a friendly and sympathetic city. It is indeed a beautiful city, but it's not always that peaceful. Things have to change."
Since then, the Facebook message was shared hundreds of times and more than 400 people gave a thumbs up. "We did not expect it would go that viral." Yesterday morning Kristof's partner contacted mayor Daniel Termont (SP.a). He was very upset. "This is unacceptable. I asked our corps chief to investigate whether the police really left without doing anything. And I will ask the Head of the Office of Integration to contact those involved asap. Accepting LGBT's is a priority."
Termont's promises were not void, because the couple did get a phone call from both the Office of Integration and the local police. "That felt good! It is their intention to organize a meeting soon to tackle the problem."
Police is stating that with regards to the incident Wednesday evening they did not get a call for homophobic violence. "We did get a call for a wrongly parked car and threats". "When our officers arrived, the car was gone and it was quiet. Our people could not see anything wrong."
Sorry Kristof and partner, but I bet you voted for Termont. Should have voted for Vlaams Belang. Oh yes, but they are Nazis, right?
Good luck with the multicultural pipedream.