A Wageningen student, Lorenzo Locci, and his friend, Andrea, were beaten up two weeks ago by four youths for being gay. This was the first time in many years in which physical violence was used in Wageningen concerning homosexuality, says Kees van Asselt of gay association Shout.
Initially, the two walked on but Lorenzo turned around at some point in time and shouted: 'I'm gay, what's your problem?!' The situation took a turn for the worse then. Andrea got boxed on his eye and the skin under his eyebrow tore. Lorenzo also received blows on his face. A little later, lying on the ground, he saw three of the youths kicking Andrea's back. The youths ran away when Andrea managed to stop a passing car. The two were taken to hospital where Andrea's eyebrow had to be stitched.
The news reported the incident as an act of robbery and assault; that was not quite the case. 'It was not meant as robbery, as my bag was retrieved from the opposite side of the road the next day,' says Lorenzo. 'Only the jumper I had bought that day was gone.' According to him, the culprits were younger than 18 and not drunk. 'There was no interest in my belongings; they were aggressive but not because of alcohol or drugs.'
Kees van Asselt of gay association Shout says that the last time a similar incident took place in Wageningen was a long time ago. 'There is a lot of tolerance here. I think that this incident was caused by a lack of information.' Shout has been giving talks on homosexuality in secondary schools for many years. 'That breeds understanding,' van Asselt says. 'We talk to school students but do not offer any opinions.'
Lorenzo is shaken by the incident but has no plans to move. 'I am used to even worse things in Italy.' Andrea is back in Germany again, where he studies.
The police are still appealing for witnesses, especially the car driver who phoned the police. The incident took place on Saturday 21 January at about 11.30 pm at the little bridge leading to the housing estate Tarthorst and along the Rooseveltweg. The culprits are four young men, one with a dark complexion and three whites. All four were wearing sportswear. If you have any information, please call 0900-8844.