Covid’s polarising effect on Dutch society | The C Diaries episode 2

In the 90s aids and hiv education was done with a campaign of beautiful posters of people making love.
Among which this gay couple.
Translation text:
I have safe sex or no sex

This is my series about my Covid induced celibacy..

It must have been 2010, or later, because I heard it through social media and I didn’t have that until late 2010.
But that was the first time I heard there had been American homosexuals, who had refrained from sex until aids was no longer a death verdict.
I never heard of that, when I was still in my teens.
As far as I knew, I was the only one from my generation who had understood the consequences of becoming hiv positive:

Social isolation, and death.
All my peers didn’t bother until they had had unsafe sex, and then read a disturbing article in a magazine’s human interest section of someone our age who had unprotected heterosexual sex once or, alternatively, someone who started having unprotected sex in a normal “safe” relationship,
and were now HIV positive. 
That’s when they started looking back at the risk they had taken, and started worrying about their status.
They never had the vision of utter loneliness, despair, and an early death when they were on a holiday with other teenagers.
Nor when they had spent a few afternoons kissing instead of making homework, and things got a bit heated.
Meanwhile I, a 15 year old virgin girl, was staring straight into the abyss, wondering how it was possible others were having sex. Let alone unsafe sex.
If I had known there were people on the other side of the ocean who had seen the same abyss, and had decided against becoming sexual active, I would have felt better.
Knowing I had kindred spirits, would not have made me choose celibacy but I would have felt less ashamed of my extremely safe habit to only have steady long-term monogamous relationships and to use condoms throughout as well.
No unprotected oral sex either.
I knew unprotected oral sex was not a 100% safe, and it was one of the many frustrations I had with Dutch aids education.
That it made it look as if “safe sex” was a relatively minor intervention compared to unprotected sex. But they never talked of the consequences of oral sex with condoms or a dental dam if a guy had wanted to be safe licking me. That’s not a small measure.

It really changes your entire experience of sex, way more than the use of condoms for intercourse.
In 2006 I ended my habit of choosing safe relationships, and developed my sexuality and was motivated to take the bull by the horns.
Endure phobias if they came back.
Nothing was going to scare me back into a monogamous long-term relationship.
And it didn’t.
Until Covid came.
I ve been tempted to write this article in Dutch, and to make it more personal. How Dutch Covid education is triggering my social exclusion phobia because it has the exact same design as the 80s aids/hiv education.
And the response from the Dutch population, is also identical to the response to hiv/aids.
Which may have been why I felt uncomfortable writing it in Dutch:
It’s probably easier to write in English, and study it as a cultural phenomenon, rather than as a personal pain.
That the 80s response and today’s response are identical, both of the Dutch population as well as mine, shows how ingrained those responses are.
My response shows that I have not changed since the 80s, let lone “healed” from my social phobia.
In the 80s I started fearing other people because I was afraid that if I got aids I would be stigmatized, banned, not have a normal life. I would not be loved.
In 2020 I fear other people because I am afraid that if I test Covid positive I will be stigmatized, banned, not have a normal life. I will not be loved.
Hooray for 35 years of personal development.
So for better or for worse: I take full responsibility for not having grown significantly.
But only because I m now going to blatantly accuse Dutch society of not having changed one bit, let alone grown, since the 80s either.
You’re still making use of the same manipulative techniques as you did with aids/hiv. Meanwhile you’re also still the ones having the 2020 version of a teenage holiday, the 2020 version of a one-night-stand without a condom, and the 2020 version of kissing over homework which gradually developed into more and more did not mean condoms.
Our minister of Justice Grapperhaus who has been accusing everybody not committing to Covid regulations of being anti-social and who has financially ruined families having picknicks in parks with their grandparents with fines which were installed on his behalf, has been documented at his wedding, hugging, shaking hands, hanging out with limited distance.
And he didn’t have to resign, he can stay.
He was questioned, but he can stay.
I really wonder why I even bother to write this entire piece.
That example of hypocrisy alone illustrates Covid rules. Just like the aids/hiv warnings from the 80s, only apply to people who can be financially or socially bullied into following the rules.
And not for people who have money and display desirable Christian behavior.
Just like my peers felt safe having sex with a class mate after kissing over homework, Grapperhaus doesn’t have to comply to Covid rules when he gets married.
The aids stigma does not apply to heterosexual teenagers just like the social rules do not apply to Ministers of Justice.
Meanwhile I read of a NORMAL Dutch woman who felt like a leper because she is no longer invited to weddings because she had Covid.
She s just not invited anymore even though she is healed. That’s how the Covid stigma works for normal people, Mister Grapperhaus.
All in all I see three similarities in aids/hiv education in the Netherlands on one hand, and Covid policies on the other hand.
And all of them are specific to the Netherlands.
And all of them cause polarization, because they’re unfair. 
None of these rules have anything to do with whether you think the virus is real, whether you think the new vaccines will be safe, or whether you think the governments are doing their best or not.

1. To pretend there is such a thing as Safe, and that it is an INDIVIDUAL responsibility

Both in the 80s as well as now, it is implied that there is such a thing as safety. Hence the word “Safe” sex.
What that implies is:
“If you catch hiv, you did not have Safe sex. Dummie you!” 
I really wonder how in the actual fuck it is possible that my 90’s new age books could always count on a shit storm of criticism because they supposedly implied that cancer was preventable by positive thinking;
Yet we accepted sex education that laid the responsibility for catching hiv by the individual.
The same gaslighting technique is being used today:
We are made personally responsible for spreading the virus.
Just like with aids/hiv, it is presented as if there is a very easy, clear cut way to prevent catching Covid.
This simplification is damaging.
Just like good modern sex education speaks of “safeR” sex, Dutch government should stop saying things like:
“It’s up to us, if we’re going to get a second Covid wave!”
In 2016 Dutch aids foundation had a campaign that showed aids patients and then had confrontational text such as “I kill three times as many people as in 1990”.
This campaign was pulled back within 24 hours.
Not just because all data did not represent the Dutch situation, and should therefor never have been used in a Dutch campaign;
But mostly because it stigmatized hiv and aids patients.
Suggesting the Dutch have control over whether or not we’re going to have a second wave, is similar to making a poster with a face and the text:
“I am responsible for the second wave of Covid.”
It’s not just mental abuse because you’re accusing people of being mass murderers:
But just like the 2016 campaign of the Aids Foundation, it may very well not be true at all.

2. The Rules are Unclear

Dutch regulations are not strict and clear and therefor they leave a lot of room for interpretation.
This has the same devastating effect as families where the parents do not make clear which rules to obey, and get angry randomly, and in an abusive way:
That’s Dutch government.
First they give unclear rules, and then they get all high and mighty when too many people visit the beach.
Or when too few people get their snotty nose checked for Covid.
You know how the prime minister of Sint Martin ordered her people to go into a two week lock down?
She practically gave a shopping list on what you had to buy, because you would not be allowed out of the house for two weeks.
What she did was comparable to creating a very safe family:
She was very clear on the rules, and on the punishment you would get if you violated them.
In the Netherlands the rules are not very clear and they are always given in combination with a rationalization/validation of them.
For example:
You must social distance because of the spit/ drops in the air, which travel 1,5 meter at the most.
As understandable as that seems, the explanation of rules is what makes the Netherlands the most socially unsafe country on the planet.
Because you never know what counts more:
The rules, or the reason WHY it is a rule?
So if we see a video of an independent scientist explaining why the rule can never be effective, or is unnecessary;
Then does the rule still count
All the people who are opposing our government with proof of the virus not existing, of normalizing the virus, pointing out the dangers of new DNA changing vaccination techniques and so on, are arguing with the WHY of the rules.
This is why it would have been much better to choose for the Sint Martin approach: 
“Because I say so.”
It is much clearer if your prime minister says:
“Given the little we know about this virus, we have chosen these rules, which history will tell if they were the right ones.
But to avoid any confusion, we are going to implement them literally, no exceptions.”
For a two week lockdown, for example.
Compare it with using condoms for hiv/aids:
In America sex for heterosexual teens was a taboo, and it led to aids/hiv education being rounded off to:
“Don’t have sex.”
It’s not very subtle, but it is very clear.
In the Netherlands, because aids/hiv education for heterosexual teens was connected to WHY you had to practice safe sex, the teens forgot to use condoms unless they were about to have sex with a male homosexual heroin user.
Another example is, I once had two extremely demanding managers:
One wanted you to work really hard, and could be a bit of a bully if he thought you were not working your butt off.
And the other wanted you to go all in as well, but with her it was not as clear what it was she wanted from you.
The second one was much friendlier and softer, and yet it would have taken a lot more effort if you wanted her approval.
I never bothered with her, and focused on the first because although I didn’t like him nor agreed with him, at least his demands were clear.
Dutch regulations are like that second manager:
If you want to be approved by her, by society at large, you have to tune into a constantly changing mixture of demands and values.
I didn’t fall for it then, and I m not falling for it now.

 3. Health care providers are too caught up in their own fears

In the 90s I tried to get help for my aids phobia, only to meet a psychotherapist who was so triggered, probably because he had teenage daughters, that he agreed to treat me, yet at the same time couldn’t stop talking about that it was a good thing I was so careful not to contract it.
I did not know at the time, I was actually suffering from a social phobia and not a fear of germs or hypochondria, but either way I did understand this man would never be able to help me.
He would always need me to be safe, because that meant that maybe his daughters were safe.

This morning I was unhappily surprised I was billed for a consultation at the GP I never had.
They were suppose to call me back with regard to my returned social/aids/covid phobia, and they never did.
But they did not fail to bill me.
So I called them, and as it turned out, the question had been answered in written form. And not in a bad way, just that they forgot to call and tell me.
We made a new appointment, and yet half an hour later I called them back and canceled it.
I would cope with my issues myself, and never call them again with regard to these mental health complaints.
What happened?
Well, I had sensed part of them was happy that I was at least frightened enough to follow the safe rules. Just like the 90s psychotherapist.
Which brings me back to point one:
As long as we make the individual responsible for transmitting/spreading Covid, we are dehumanizing our society.
Every person then becomes a “1” if he or she is good, and behaves in a way that people believe to be safe.
And he or she becomes a “0” if he or she does not run to health care services to get tested if they have a snotty nose. Who keeps making love and having sex, the way they did before Covid.
Who says:
“I have a returning social phobia with regard to Covid, because after 6 months of being a “1” I need more from life than to just refrain from shit the entire fucking day in order to even be allowed to exist.”
Needing to be touched, needing to be loved, needing to get away from the constant gaslighting that is Dutch Covid protocol, is not a valid reason break protocol.
Getting married when you’re the minister of Justice is.

Suzanne/ Lauren living.


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I am Suzanne, the real name of Lauren Harteveld,
Lauren/ LS Harteveld was my second identity under which I wrote about sex, relationships, pop culture, from 2006 to 2020.
Lauren is now in 1995, so she will write offline for us.
Her first year 1994-1995:
Originally Lauren was going to write offline in 1995, but since I don’t have a sex life anymore, there is no reason for such discretion. 

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Blote Kont- (Dutch)
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