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  5. 2007

How liberal are the Netherlands?

Publié le 7 novembre 2007 Mis à jour le 21 septembre 2023

7 novembre

Gert Hekma
 (Universiteit van  Amsterdam)


In this lecture, Gert Hekma will discuss the contemporary situation regarding homosexuality in the Netherlands. Many people thought that the opening-up of marriage to same-sex couples was the legal endpoint of gay and lesbian emancipation. The social situation remains however difficult and needs a continuous investment in gay and lesbian activism. Some examples of continuous problems are the following. Gays and lesbians are chased out of their homes by people who insult them or commit violence against them, holebi schoolteachers and students do not dare to come out of the closet because of expected acts of aggression, queer bashing is according to the media on the rise and the society remains heteronormative. The political alliances have also changed. In the past, liberal and socialist parties took the gay cause, but now the right wing is more supportive at least in its rhetoric to gay and lesbian issues (Fortuyn, Hirschi Ali, Verdonk, Wilders), while the left has become more hesitant because of its many ethnic minority voters (often Muslims).
Gert Hekma will provide a short overview of LGBT politics in The Netherlands, review the contemporary situation and suggest some explanations and solutions.


Gert Hekma is lecturer in gay and lesbian studies in the department of sociology and anthropology at the University of Amsterdam since 1984, and has published widely on the history and sociology of (homo)sexuality. His most recent book is Homoseksualiteit in Nederland van 1730 tot de moderne tijd (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff 2004). He coedited The Pursuit of Sodomy (1989), Gay Men and the Sexual History of the Political Left (1995) and the two volumes of Sexual Cultures in Europe (1999), and Gewoon doen. Acceptatie van homoseksualiteit in Nederland (2006). He is now editing a twentieth history of Western sexualities and will soon publish an Encyclopedia of Perversions. He teaches in the BA/MA program of Gender, Sexuality and Society of the UvA.