In 2018 the city of Zaandam, North Holland was dealing with a tempest in a teacup: a street called ‘Hobo’ (‘Oboe’) was turned into ‘Piccolo’ because folks said it sounded too much like ‘homo’, which is a homophobic slur, the equivalent of ‘faggot’. ‘Folks said’ is not very clear, but city hall picked up on the discontent of some and decided to change instruments.
However, in 2019 the city went back on its decision, saying that it was hard to claim to be a ‘rainbow city’ (LGBTQIA-friendly) if they cater to the whims of a few people who didn’t like a street named after a musical instrument. Other Dutch cities have Hobo streets and that was never a problem. And just having a rainbow crosswalk is not enough these days to be truly LGBTQIA-friendly.
I went to Zaandam recently to see what the fuss had been all about. One very nice typical blue Zaandam-style house had a sign on the door that said “Hobo 14, former Piccolo 14”, which seemed to be for any kind of deliveries. Hobo street is barely a few hundred metres long. And why would I use another slur, ‘faggot’, to make my point? That’s because parallel to Hobo, there’s ‘Fagot’ street, which means ‘Bassoon’ in Dutch and nobody had a problem with that.
Tags: gay rights, rainbow, Urban planning, Zaandam
Bunq, a relatively new Dutch bank based in Amsterdam, recently had one of their clients attacked in India while trying to pay with the bank’s rainbow coloured bank card. Founder and CEO of Bunq Ali Niknam said he was shocked about this incident on social media.
The client ended up in the hospital. Comments on social media included making the card ‘less gay’, but then beating a person over a bank card, not even for money, is a violent crime. The gay rainbow flag doesn’t even use the same colours: it has six colours (missing one to make it a rainbow), while Bunq uses a few more different colours on its cards and 12 on its logo. Other companies including Apple have used and still use rainbow colours and that’s still not a reason to beat someone up, neither is being homophobic, if that was the case.
Nikham wrote a nice ‘message of love’ about the incident, something I cannot picture any other bank doing these days, so hats off to him (nope, 24oranges HQ is with another bank). Our Twitter timeline was full of folks from India denouncing this behaviour or explaining it away in shame, as it is criminal, violent behaviour. Over a piece of plastic.
(Link and photo: joop.bnnvara.nl)
Tags: banking, Bunq, India, LGBT, LGBTQIA, rainbow