I consider myself incredibly lucky for being born into a very tolerant community, but even though coming out feels like one of the biggest challenges in your life, it’s not the last one you’ll face.
I was born in Jordaan, a very cozy neighbourhood in the center of amsterdam. Two canals shielded me from the hustle and bustle of the busy city center. Even my primary school was in a quiet urban oasis. Growing up like this meant not having to be faced with some of the craziness Amsterdam has to offer, yet it might have left me with a certain naiveté.
At age fourteen I came out to my parents, my school friends had known for months already. My friends and family were very accepting, something not everyone has the luxury of. After coming to terms with my sexuality and letting the dust settle, a new darker force creeped in.
I’ve talked with many people who have had similar experiences, revealing a sinister pattern.
After many young people come out in Amsterdam, it takes them a while, but eventually they will present themselves on the dating scene Either on apps like ‘Tinder’ or ‘Grindr’ or by going to bars and clubs. This is a moment where some fall prey to people or groups who seek to take advantage of their inexperience and naiveté.
I have come into contact with a few of these people myself. I was once introduced into a group of affluent older gays that seemed to want to befriend me under the guise of giving me a ‘proper introduction into the gay scene’. I’ve met men that seem to revel in ‘how adult you seem’, but actually enjoy your youth much more. I’ve met men that seem so youthful and childlike themselves, but turn out to have a very dark ulterior motive to their dynamic friendliness. This is a cautionary tale and I want to illustrate that even in a very tolerant and loving community,
danger seems to be hiding around every corner.
A key factor is that homosexuality at a young age is widely accepted, but not prevalent. You’re often the only gay kid in class or in your school. Many of these young people choose to look for others like themselves on dating apps, but fall prey to people much older or with unsavoury intentions. The important thing to remember is that even though you've come to terms with your sexuality does not mean you're ready for sex, definitely not with people much older than you, who you barely know.
I am very happy that the community I grew up in accepted me for who I am, but after the coming out part you are on your own. There aren’t any gay-coaches who will teach you about the community you just joined. I hope others don’t end up in similar situations, instead I hope they can learn from my experiences.
Written by the resilient and caring Maurice