The rainbow flag symbolises inclusivity, but Friesland is the only province not to fly one
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Vera Bergkamp (D66), a member of the Dutch parliament, asked an official question to Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (D66), the Minister for Education, Culture, and Science about the ‘rainbow status’ of Friesland. A ‘rainbow province’ is one that has committed to stand for all of its residents, regardless of sexual orientation, reports the Omrop Fryslân.
All eleven other provinces in the country hold this status- and Bergkamp felt the need to ask the question after radio presenter Sipke Jan Bouma spoke out about Friesland’s status on Dutch national television. Earlier, another member of D66, Avine Fokkens (previously a member of parliament, now a deputy in the Frisian provincial council), said that Friesland did not have to become a ‘rainbow province’ if it did not want to. Her reasoning was not that Friesland stands against non-heterosexual people, but that it should stand open for all people.
One of Bergkamp’s questions to Minister van Engelshoven is whether she agrees with Bouma’s position, the second was as to whether the minister shares the opinion that it is important for members of the LGBTQI+ community to have a visible symbol of their acceptance in the province. The third was as to whether the minister would act to try and get Friesland to accept a ‘rainbow province’ status.
Aside from this, Bergkamp asked what other provinces had said and done about their statuses as ‘rainbow provinces’, whether they had done anything to give substance to their status, and whether a partnership between the rainbow provinces and the government is possible.
The Frisian provincial council factions of D66, GroenLinks, the PvdA; Partij voor de Dieren, and the Socialist Partij have gathered a petition to present to the province, asking for Friesland to also become a rainbow province. They put that the government must show the acceptance and standing of various sexual identities in the Netherlands, and can and should act. The petition has been signed around 1,300 times so far.
The first rainbow province in the country was Drenthe.