Scores of men are responding to an alleged attack on a gay couple in the Netherlands... by holding hands.
Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and his husband, Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes, were reportedly attacked early Sunday by a group of six to eight teenage boys, RTL Nieuws reports. The men said they were returning to their Arnhem home hand-in-hand from a party at the time of the attack.
The incident sent shockwaves through the Netherlands’s LGBTQ community, and was reportedly condemned by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. But two of the country’s other lawmakers went a step further, showing solidarity for the couple by holding hands as they arrived at a government meeting Monday.
Alexander Pechtold, who is the leader of the Democrats 66 (D66) party, arrived hand in hand with his party’s financial specialist, Wouter Koolmees, in support of Vernes-Sewratan and Sewratan-Vernes. “We think it is quite normal in the Netherlands to express who you are,” Pechtold said, according to People.
As photographs of Pechtold and Koolmees hit international media outlets, the pair’s gesture sparked a social media movement. Men, many of whom say they identify as straight, began posting photographs of themselves holding hands with other men on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #allemannenhandinhand. Check out a few of the stunning images below.
The effort has since gone global, too. Male colleagues from the Dutch Embassy in London also joined in.
...as did the male staff of the Dutch mission at the United Nations in New York.
Interestingly, the event nearly coincides with a Dutch LGBTQ milestone. The Netherlands became the world’s first nation to legalize same-sex marriage on April 1, 2001.