Hans Glaubitz, the Dutch Ambassador in Estonia has resigned from his post because of the homophobic abuse he and his partner have had to suffer.
“It is not very nice to be regularly abused by drunken skinheads … and to be continuously gawped at as if you have just stepped out of a UFO,” Mr Glaubitz told reporters.
Mr Glaubitz had represented his country with his Cuban partner, Raul Garcia Lao without problems in Brazil and South Africa, but after only 7 months in Tallinn, the couple felt that the abuse they were suffering had become unbearable.
Abuse towards the couple escalated after a local magazine wrote that the appointment of a gay Ambassador with a black partner had to be seen as a Dutch provocation.
Homosexuality was legalised in Estonia in 1999, and as part of its obligations for entry into the EU, the country has laws banning discrimination because of sexual orientation in the work place. The legal recognition of gay partnerships is being debated by the government.
Yet despite these more forward thinking policies, homophobia still seems widespread and institutionalised.
“(Estonian) society is far from ready for two men, particularly if one of them is black,” noted Mr Glaubitz, who will now be transferred to Montreal.
A Dutch government spokeswoman said: “The authorities always treated them well but there was racist and homophobic abuse on the street.”