Bobby, in his own words: “Being gay means to me being myself. Being gay is just part of me as being straight is what’s part of straight people.
My biggest challenge and also success was my 6 month trip to South Africa. It was my first trip all by myself. It was both exciting and scary. I had the most amazing time there and met some amazing people, but I also learned a lot about myself.
My coming out story is a bit different than others’. I was dating this guy and I told some friends. In a week the entire school knew I was dating a 6 year older guy. So I didn’t really come out by choice.
To my parents on the other hand: I came out during a fight. I had a date with that guy, but didn’t tell my parents anything, so they were waiting for me for dinner. Once I finally came home they just started and (of course) they were angry at me. So we were arguing about stuff and I just blurted out that I was on a date with a guy.
The gay community (in Amsterdam) is quite small actually. I’m not talking about numbers, but it’s almost like everyone knows each other. A colleague once told me about this guy I dated a year before. He didn’t know the guy and I only told a few friends about that guy and somehow he knew about us. I’m always surprised if I don’t have mutual friends with guys. Sometimes I think it isn’t even possible anymore.
I think we can learn a lot from Cape Town if it comes to acceptance. Amsterdam is placed as a place where everything is accepted and yes of course we can’t complain. However, if I’d walk through Amsterdam holding hands with a guy, people will call names or look back (in my experience). In my first two months in Cape Town I’ve seen more guys holding hands on the streets than in one or maybe two years in Amsterdam. Plus nobody seemed to care. In Cape Town there’s (just as in Amsterdam) a lot of diversity. Different religions, origins and so on and people seem to have respect for one another in the form of minding their own business.”