LGBTQ+ students rally around drag bar Dorothy’s after attack on staff


LGBTQ+ students at the UG are shaken up by the attack on staff members of local drag bar Dorothy’s. But they’re not going to let fear keep them from meeting up there, they say.

The incident outside Dorothy’s Drag Under the Rainbow, a meeting spot for Ganymedes – Groningen’s LGBTQ+ student association – occurred on April 8, the same day around twenty people attacked a building of Dutch LQBTQ+ society COC in Eindhoven. 

After a night of drag, owners Waynne Meek and Andy Wilson, along with their staff, were locking the door when a group of cyclists made a series of homophobic comments. An argument ensued and while that situation was de-escalated, a separate young man who arrived on the scene began filming the interaction and then physically assaulted the staff.


‘I was really surprised stuff like this could still happen’, says Isobel, a UG student who frequents the bar. She wasn’t there herself, but read about it on Dorothy’s Instagram page. ‘You don’t expect it to happen this close to where you live yourself.’

Though the exact motives behind the physical attack remain unclear, the effects are still felt by many who consider Dorothy’s their safe space, particularly those within the queer community. 

‘I feel hurt. I’m not going to lie. It’s not even sadness, it’s not despair, it’s not even anger. I just feel hurt’, says law student Yoana Nikolova, commissioner of external affairs at Ganymedes.

For Yoana, who considers the Netherlands relatively safe and tolerant, these types of events, though not expected, are not entirely surprising. ‘When incidents like this happen, it reminds not only the people that were there, but others, too, that it’s still something that they should fear and look out for.’

Stick together

But the fear did not keep them apart. Two days after the incident, Dorothy’s made an exception and opened on a Monday, to welcome a group of regulars, students, and new faces, to highlight the need to stick together, Waynne recounts.

Demi Laan, commissioner of public relations for Ganymedes, was among the supporters. ‘I went there just to show my support; I gave them a hug and we had a talk.’ Showing support and solidarity and sticking together is the most important thing that the community can do in response to such incidents, they feel.

Since the altercation, Dorothy’s has received cards, flowers, supportive messages, and even a donation of cash for a new CCTV camera to be installed outside of the bar. Not only from  LGBTQ+ people, says Waynne, but also from the wider community.

Speak up

More still needs to be done, though, according to Yoana. ‘We’re just a small association against the world, we can’t do everything. That’s why we’re hoping to rely on people outside of the LGBTQ+ community.’ 

Don’t stay silent, she urges people; show more consistent support of the LGBTQ+ community. ‘Sometimes the university raises the rainbow flag, but then they take it down the next day.’ 

Regardless, the community will still rally around spaces like Dorothy’s, says Isabel. ‘You can throw stuff at us, but we will still come together.’ She’s not afraid to go back to the bar. ‘With what it is and who works there, and the people who go there, I would still just feel very safe.’

That is a sentiment echoed by Demi in a speech at a Ganymedes social last week: ‘Let’s do what we do best and stay strong together. Please don’t let fear win.’



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