On June 28, 1969, the police raided the gay bar the Stonewall Inn. Raids were not uncommon then, and while the visitors usually went peacefully, they opposed the cops that evening. It was the beginning of a few days of violent riots that many see as the beginning of the fight for gay rights.
The gay revolution broke loose in the years following 1969, and it was certainly a left-wing movement: much needed to change, and some of it completely. What had to be done differently throughout Europe was legislation and, as we know now, this would take some time. For instance, in the United Kingdom, where Clause 28 (now comparable to the Russian anti-gay propaganda law) was first enacted in May 1988 and abolished in 2003.
Perhaps gay life in Europe in the 1920s became somewhat livelier, but with the rise of Hitler and the Nazis it certainly became bleaker when murder became the rule. In its initial phase after 1917 the Soviet Union may have preached progress and justice, but that came to an end immediately after the civil war and completely with the arrival of the totalitarian Stalin and the introduction of anti-gay legislation.
What influence did all those innovations on the subject of homosexuality we discussed last month have? The old narrative of sodomy, fornication, pederasty and tribadism disappeared and gave way to a new view of homosexuality, uranism, the third sex, sexual psychopathy, sexual inversion by those who themselves were authors, wrote novels and letters, and of doctors working on articles and books.
This year, the Pride is dedicated to the history of the before and after of the Stonewall riots (end of June 1969), which many gay - and straight - people view as the beginning of the gay movement. In the Netherlands, we are proud the fact that six months earlier, on January 21, 1969, young homosexuals and lesbians protested at the Binnenhof, the square in front of Dutch parliament in The Hague.
A pioneer of the American gay liberation movement, the historian Martin Duberman, has recently published a new book: Has the Gay Movement Failed? (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2018). The answer is an overwhelming Yes, the gay movement has failed.
Gert Hekma delivered the sixteenth annual Mosse Lecture. We already published the first part, and now follows the second and last installment, for What did fifty years of gay acceptance actually bring us?
On September 20 Gert Hekma delivered the sixteenth annual Mosse Lecture, which “Gay News” will publish in two installments. Mosse Lecture, Part 1: not about coming out of the gay closet, but about the history of gay acceptance, a somewhat more abstract term.
The book “Verzwegen verlangen: Een geschiedenis van homoseksualiteit in België” (Concealed Desire: A History of Homosexuality in Belgium; Antwerp 2017) has three editors and five authors: Jonas Roelens deals with the period up to the Enlightenment, Elwin Hofman with the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, and Wannes Dupont discusses the end of the nineteenth century up to the 1950s.
Guy Hocquenghem (1946-1988) was a radical gay activist of the “Front Homosexuel d’Action Révolutionnaire” (FHAR) who became a precursor of “queer theory” and a novelist who focussed on AIDS and spirituality, combining these themes with left-wing ideals. He was from a well-to-do bourgeois background of teachers in the virtuous years preceding 1968.
Gilles Sebhan’s “Retour à Duvert” (Paris: Dilettante, 2015) is a very good essay on the love for boys and Tony Duvert, who Edmund White once called the best gay author of his time. Between 1967 and 1989, Duvert (1945-2008) wrote twelve books (nine novels and three essays), mostly published by Éditions du Minuit, the publishing house of the (experimental) Nouveau novel.
On the eve of the unification of Germany, the citizens of the Prussian capital Berlin attentively followed the reports on a serious sex crime. On a cold Sunday afternoon in January 1869, the five-year-old Emil Hancke had been lured away from his pals and was seriously abused and raped in an attic. Two years earlier, another boy had been killed under similar circumstances, in 1869 still an unsolved case.
On July 2, 2016, the monument for poet Jacob Israël de Haan was unveiled in Smilde, his place of birth. The monument stands in the beautiful park behind the old church of Smilde, not far from the synagogue with living quarters in which he was born. As a member of the board of the De Haan Society, Gert Hekma spoke the following appreciation.
Perhaps Frans Kellendonk (1951-1990) has somewhat passed into oblivion, but in the 1980s he was thought to be the most promising Dutch writer of his generation. He was the author of collections of short stories such as “Bouwval” (1977) and “Namen en gezichten” (1983), the essay collections “De veren van de zwaan” (1987) and “De halve wereld” (1989), the novella “De nietsnut” (1979), and the ghost story “Letter en Geest” (1982).
Claude François Michéa was the first doctor in modern age to propose a biological theory on homosexual preference as a congenital identity and come with an unusual term for this: “philopédie.” The word was a reversal of the term pederasty, or as we say nowadays: paedophilia (the love of boys).
Much has been written about gay novels and writers from before 1940, such as Louis Couperus and De Haan, about poets like Willem Kloos, P.C. Boutens and Willem de Mérode, and about the more mainstream works by such authors as M.J.J. Exler and J.H. François. Gerrit Komrij discussed this popular work in “NRC Handelsblad” and in his essay collection “Averechts” (1980).
William F. Edmiston’s “Sade, Queer Theorist” is a marvelous book. Notwithstanding a twenty-year long history of queer theory with Sade being the “queerest theorist” of all time, this is the first academic work where he is being recognized as such. It gives a rich overview of the gender and sexual transgressions in his work and, to a lesser extent, in his life, with a strong focus on homosexuality and incest.
Why is it that the term fetishism still evokes sniggers? And why is it that psychiatrists and most people still think it is a pathological abnormality? Gert Hekma explains the image and argues in favor of a society that is more open to fetishism.
Margot Weiss’s “Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality” (Duke University Press 2011) purports to be an ethnography of the Bay Area BDSM scene, but it isn’t. There is not one play scene described, there is not one orgasm reported.
The Netherlands and Amsterdam in particular have the reputation to be sexually liberal or tolerant places. The city is discussed in terms of a gay and sex capital where almost everything is possible. Dutch laws are liberal: no anti-gay laws, the first country to open marriage for same-sex couples, sex work legalized. The Dutch have the highest scores on sexual issues in value surveys: they say to be tolerant. There is little doubt that the Netherlands is a better place to enjoy sexually variant lives than the United States, Morocco, Zimbabwe and most other places.
Over the past decade, a contrast between gays and Muslims arose. While Muslims are being criticized for their sexual ethics, gays went from misfits to the pampered children of Dutch politics and the Dutch media since 2001 (gay marriage, Pim Fortuyn). Because Muslims supposedly do not accept gays, their perceptions about sexuality are heavily criticized by society and politics. Gays feel that (orthodox) Muslims pose a threat to their free and open lifestyle.
During the Canal Parade there was an exhibition at three different locations with art by men and women showing different sexual or gender lives: transgender, gay, lesbian, kinky, public sex. These exhibitions also contained ceramics and drawings by the upcoming artist Paul Buijs (1982). The artist was present at the opening and showed something completely different to those who were interested.
On Friday the 18th of November at 5 p.m. the exhibition “Bewaar me voor de waanzin van het recht” (Save Me From the Insanity of the Law) will be opened in the IHLIA center in the Public Library Amsterdam. Simultaneously the book with the same title on the history of homosexuality and criminal law will be presented. These events commemorate the fact that 200 years ago sodomy was scrapped from criminal law, as well as the fact that 100 years ago a new article 248bis was added again, criminalizing sexual relations between adults and minors of the same sex.
John Welbergen was born in 1934 in Leiden and spent his childhood in Den Helder. His father was a marine and left in 1938 for the Dutch Indies, where he died in a prison camp during the war. Father and son hardly knew each other. John grew up with his mother and after the war with a stepfather. In 1955 John got in trouble with the police because of article 248bis of the Criminal Code. He told Gert Hekma his story.
Last year spring, the Le Keller bar in Paris closed. This probably doesn’t mean much to you, and even locally, this simple fact didn’t attract the attention of the press either. Yet, I want to draw attention to it, as it is not without meaning. A search on the internet hardly gives any information on the closure of this world-famous gay leather bar, the oldest of its kind in Paris.
On Wednesday the second of March we’ll have elections for the so-called “Provinciale Staten,” the government on a provincial level, elections that indirectly decide on the new senate. How important is the gay vote this year? Gert Hekma spoke with Meino Schraal, second on the CDA list and openly gay.
Meino has an interesting life story. He was born in 1974 in Persian Isfahan and was left a foundling at the doorstep of an orphanage. A Dutch family from Urk adopted him in 1975.
There’s a strange abbreviation blurb replacing words like homo and gay. Our Flemish neighbors use the sympathetic Holebi, the ILGA has recently added BTI after the LG. Meanwhile I’ve seen LGBTTTIQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transvestite, transsexual, intersexual, queer, questioning) and I’m afraid this is not the end of it. I once wrote extensively about perversions for Gay News and these articles have been collected as a Dutch “ABC of Perversions,” published by Meulenhoff.
The most common swear words boys and girls use for one-another are slut and whore for the girls, and homo, faggot and poof for the boys. What do these terms say about the Dutch sexual and gender culture? To answer that question I will successively address sexual differences between men and women, political concern over girls’ sexual life, sexual behavior of gay men and lesbian women and prejudices about faggots. I will finish with the question where these practices and perspectives come from, and where we have to take them.
In the summer of 1977 the Rooie Flikkers (Red Faggots) from Amsterdam organized a summer camp near Montaigu de Quercy, as the French say “dans la profonde France.” The queens came from all over Western Europe: many Dutch and French, but also German, Italian, Swedish, Belgian and English. It was a special occasion for everyone: we created our own fabulous gay world at a big farm and we could do as we pleased on the ample grounds surrounding it. For two weeks it was the queer nation we lacked at home.
During a festive gathering on Sunday, April 25, Willem Melchior, author of “De roeping van het vlees” (The Calling of the Flesh) and the s/m internet novel “24/7,” received the first copy of “ABC van perversies,” a unique collection of descriptions of the extreme aspects of human sexuality. Gert Hekma, lecturer at the University of Amsterdam since 1984 and highly valued contributor to Gay News, wrote this ABC in a playful and personal style.
One of the upsides of being in a branch of learning is that you get to visit conferences, so I happened to be in Paris in October for a conference on socialism and marriage. I had only a modest role as chairman of a panel discussion on gay marriages. Networking in between the meetings is the most important aspect at conferences. The perfect wine-soaked French lunches are ideal opportunities to get to know new colleagues and to refresh old acquaintances.
“Wicked Angels” is an astonishing novel - romantic and violent. Beautifully written and very erotic, the book first appeared in 1955 (or was it 1956, like it says in my recent French edition?), when books were still being banned in France, which happened also to this novel by Eric Jourdan, who was just seventeen at the time. It took until 1985 for the book to finally appear uncensored. Jourdan was a brilliant young talent who was not heard of for long after.
Turkey lies in between Europe and Asia. The Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul face each other as symbols of Christianity and the Islam. The Americans think the European Union should accept Turkey as a member state because it’s a bridge between Europe and Asia, East and West, the Islam and Christianity. In Europe we haven’t made up our minds yet. The Turkish gays and lesbians welcome a possible membership of the EU because they see it as a chance to further their struggle, the European gays and lesbians are wary of new member states like Poland, Rumania and Turkey because they could shift the balance within Europe towards conservative moral convictions.
The nineteenth century is also known as the Victorian age. After the British queen Victoria who didn’t like sex. Great Britain was a world dominating empire at that time. Though large empires are not necessarily sexually repressive (the Roman empire proves the opposite), Great Britain at the time most definitely was. It seemed the queen was not opposed to have sex with her husband though, as she gave birth to a whole series of children. There were also many whores roaming the streets of London as Judith Walkowitz notes in her historical studies of the British capital.
In a recent gay encyclopedia of The Netherlands (2005) the authors Thijs Bartels and Jos Versteegen claim that Jacob Israel de Haan’s Pijpelijntjes (1904) is the first Dutch gay novel. Unfortunately they don’t explain how they came to this conclusion, although there are other books which might be thus named.
On a global level there are many more contestants for the honor of being the first gay novel: “The Picture of Dorian Gray” from 1890 by Oscar Wilde, “Moby-Dick” from 1851 by Herman Melville or “Phaeton,” an obscure collection of letters from 1823 by the German author Friedrich Wilhelm Waiblinger, which was recently republished.
Years ago a very young representative of the organization Martijn came to one of my workshops to tell us about the Dutch pedophile movement. It led to lively discussions and although many students didn’t agree with him at all, it was an educative afternoon for all involved. There’s an angel somewhere in the Netherlands however, who doesn’t like these kinds of things at all and who filed a complaint against me with the Board of Directors of the University of Amsterdam.
It’s getting easier to get around by bike in New York. Amsterdammer Gert Hekma wanted to explore Manhattan by bike and so he did. In this episode he continues his exploration of the Big Apple, and he actually doesn’t limit himself to Manhattan, but also includes other boroughs in his wanderings.
It’s a nice trip to not limit yourself to just the western side of Manhattan but to go full circle around the island. The advantage of the eastern side is that it’s deserted: no joggers or speed cyclists.
Het mooiste van Mysterious Skin is ongetwijfeld de hoofdrolspeler Joseph Gordon-Levitt, een fantastische acteur en een geile jongeman. Z'n lijpe blik zal de hoofden van heel wat homoheren op hol jagen, zoals hij in de film doet als hoerenjoch bij zijn klanten. Het verhaal gaat als volgt. Een sportcoach heeft seksuele contacten met twee van zijn pupillen die dan acht jaar zijn. Voor de ene jongen, Brian, gaat het om een eenmalig contact dat hij volstrekt verdringt. Na deze gebeurtenis komt hij thuis en weet hij niet waar hij is geweest. De spoken die hem sindsdien kwellen, wijt hij aan marsmannetjes die hem voor korte tijd zouden hebben ontvoerd.
New York. It’s a city of extremes, with liberal and ultra-orthodox Jews, yuppies and sweet old ladies, cyclists and chauffeurs, boring gays, cool gays and a local government that doesn’t want to have anything to do with sex or gay sex. The city is fairly liberal in an ocean of conservatism. In many aspects it really resembles Amsterdam although there are some significant differences as well. New York’s size is just so much bigger, when it comes to people, gays, art, shops or restaurants. Sodom at the Amstel could never compete with its offspring, the Big Apple at the Hudson. But Amsterdam has certain things that New York definitely has not. Like a decent Red Light District, or the comfort of being able to have sex in a bar or in a park, or a local and national government that are much more tolerant towards sex. All those officials often get cold feet when they think of the liberal image of Amsterdam that a lot of Americans and New Yorkers long for.
New York is famed for its art, its gay scene and every possible connection between the two. Chelsea (known for its “muscle queens”) alone already boasts some 230 art galleries with quite a bit of homosexuality on show: from Andy Warhol and Richard Prince to the French Colombian painter of masculine bodies Luis Cabalero. The Leslie-Lohman gallery in Soho has completely dedicated itself to “gay & lesbian art.” It results in a parade of penises sometimes, or butch masculine bodies. In spring they had a nice exhibition of photographs of boy prostitutes from Baltimore and surroundings. The Fales Library of the New York University currently has a show titled “Pansy, Dyke, Homo, Fag: 150 Years of Queer Culture,” which, as you’d expect from a library, consists of mainly books and manuscripts. They show a letter from Bosie to Oscar from May 1895 (Oscar Wilde at his second trial and almost behind bars and Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas safe in Paris) with the beautiful final sentence: “I am always your own loving and devoted boy, Bosie”.
New York yearly hosts the Film Festival “New Fest”. This year the seventeenth edition of this LGBT film festival took place from the 2nd till the 12thh of June. In eleven days the festival showed about eighty feature movies plus more than one hundred short films from many different countries. Way too many to see them all, so here’s a selection from this avalanche of films.
The first movie I saw was so-so. “Good Boys” by Yair Hochner. A Dennis Cooper/Gus van Sant like movie about three boy prostitutes, an intoxicated woman who’s also a prostitute and a daughter in Tel Aviv. There’s a lot of action without a real story line. The boys aren’t really nice either; one’s an ok actor, another is sort of cute. It’s all very violent without much credibility. They do show a couple of funny sex scenes with clients and one trick in a toilet. We get to see the well-hung main character, who likes being taken from behind, completely naked, we catch another one from the back only, but his thing dangles nicely from under his crack. All in all: not great.
New York has got more than one gay parade per year nowadays. It starts in the first weekends of June with the parades in the suburbs Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn. Then there was the first transgender parade on Friday this year, Saturday saw the “Dyke Parade” and then there’s the big New York Gay Parade on Sunday. The first three are rather smallish affairs of a couple of hundred people each. But their future looks bright as more and more gays and lesbians flee the Village and Chelsea to cheaper areas such as Astoria, Williamsburg and Brooklyn.
There’s a neighborhood in New York called Brooklyn, and it’s not just the neighborhood that has a Dutch name (Breukelen), there are some Dutch street names there as well. Close to the Brooklyn Bridge and near the water of the West River lies the Middagh Street, named after a lady of Dutch heritage who used to own a windmill there. A truly artistic commune lived there from October 1940 till the summer of 1941 in a house at number 7.
The major accomplishment of Jens Rydström in his study on Swedish bestiality and homosexuality is the confirmation of Michel Foucault’s theory of the change from a legal system of forbidden acts to a medical system of marginalized identities in the first volume of Histoire de la Sexualité (1976). Swedish courts routinely condemned “unnatural fornication” (as male and female homosexuality and bestiality were called since the law reform of 1864) as a criminal offense till the early twentieth century.
Peter van Maaren, the writer of the strongly autobiographical book Mijn meester is homo (My teacher is Gay; unfortunately a translation is not available) has worked as a teacher for a VMBO (pre vocational education) school of the Regional Educational Center (ROC as they are called in Dutch) in the neighbourhood of Amsterdam. From the beginning of the eighties he had chosen to come out as gay and didn’t want to hide the fact that he’s homosexual.
Only recently Holland got to know the work of the Hungarian writer Sándor Márai (1900-1989) with the translation of his novel Gloed (Glow) (1938). Upon his suicide after the death of his wife and son Márai’s reputation quickly grew. The beginning of his career was at the time of Hitler’s rise to power, the chaos of that era resulting in WWII. These days the press can’t find words enough to praise his work, comparing it to that of Robert Musil, Thomas Mann and Stefan Zweig.
The Belgian religious scientist living and working in Groningen, Patrick Vandermeersch, has written an in-depth study on flagellation, “The flesh of passion.” On the cover Luca Signorelli's “The whipping of Christ,” two near naked men whipping a well-built, tied-up Son of God. Who had hopes for a book about catholic S/M, sorry!
Stonewall is generally considered to be the starting point for the gay and lesbian movement in the United States. On the evening of June 27, 1969, the New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street, as they regularly did. But this time something had changed. The drag queens, male hustlers and working-class dykes resisted the police and a major fight ensued. Clashes and demonstrations continued the next days. The gay boys who had always accepted police violence against their kind, stopped being obedient and came out of their closets into the streets. Martin Duberman has given a very readable account of these events in his Stonewall (1993).
In 1730 the Dutch Repblic witnessed a prosecution of sodomites unknown till then in the Netherlands and unequalled in its scale and its number of victims. It all began behind the Dom Tower in Utrecht and quickly spread to most of the other provinces. Absolute low was the execution by throttling of 21 men and boys near the Groningen townlet Faan on September 24, 1731. Almost one hundred sodomites were brought to trial on charges of anal sex. Historians have often pondered the possible explanations for this excessive prosecution in a small farming townlet.
Undinism means sex in water. This can be in a bath tub, a swimming pool or in the sea. The website of Score FC shows a picture of a guy tied up, obviously immersed in water, a form of undinistic masochism with a hint of hypoxphilia (lust for lack of oxygen).
Undinism means sex in water. This can be in a bath tub, a swimming pool or in the sea. The website of Score FC shows a picture of a guy tied up, obviously immersed in water, a form of undinistic masochism with a hint of hypoxphilia (lust for lack of oxygen).
After a long journey through the S" we've finally made it to the T". Kicking off with a special preference: the tafephilia, or the desire to be buried. Most people have a mortal fear of being shuffled in a coffin under the ground alive and some go to any length to make sure their coffin will not be sealed before it's absolutely certain they're dead
Sodomy refers to the Biblical town Sodom of which never one single trace was found. For a long time theologists told the tale this mythical city was destroyed because of the homosexual sins of its inhabitants, but these days they presume it wasn't because of homosexuality, but for negating the laws of hospitality.
Till the mid-nineteenth century slavery was a normal thing and till this very day in some remote corners of the world it still is. In the Fifties of the last century the catholic church withdrew her moral approval of slavery. Pretty quick, since a mere hundred years before all westeren countries had abolished it. Maybe we can expect the church's approval of gay marriage by 2095!
Retiphism is a posh word for shoe sex. Rétif de la Bretonne was an eighteenth century French author, who, in his novels and autobiography, devoted lots of attention to his preference for ladies' shoes. He wasn't alone, since other celebrities like Goethe and Baudelaire also had a soft spot for it. Goethe asked his girlfriends to send him their shoes, so he could press them to his heart. William Rossi, author of a somewhat outdated standard work on shoe sex, thinks Goethe did several other things with those shoes. Footgear is popular as a fetish. Women build up entire collections, the most famous one belonging to Imelda Marcos. According to Rossi's vulgarized version of Freud men are supposed to dream of feet as genitals sliding into shoes, in their turn symbolizing the vagina.
Satin isn't a special material but the result of a weaving method creating its smooth and shiny surface. Satin can be made from cotton, silk, wool, viscose. It must be an old weaving method, since paintings by Vermeer for instance show women wearing the most beautiful satin dresses. De Sade describes how exciting boys dressed in satin clothes look. For a long time satin was worn mainly by women who wanted to make themselves beautiful. When boys wore satin it would bring out their feminine side, which so delighted De Sade.
Jonkheer Richard von Krafft-Ebing is considered to be the founding father of sexual science. His Psychopathia sexualis, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der conträren Sexualempfindung (Stuttgart 1886) (Psychopathia sexualis, with special emphasis on the contrary experience of sexuality) was the first reference book of sexology that was reprinted time and again and was published in several languages. As its subtitle indicates, this handbook mainly deals with homosexuality, which in the work of Krafft-Ebing is the exemplary perversion. Krafft-Ebing was one of the many psychiatrists who in the second half of the nineteenth century got interested in sexual variations.
Though of course it`s always fat fun to go hunt for pretty clothes in foreign fashion centers, Amsterdam these days offers a wealth of wonderful possibilities.Starting in the bend of the Nieuwendijk with Tip de Bruin. For a long time shopping there just wasn`t done, due to the high Jordaan, meaning common, quality. These days Tip owns three men`s stores next to each other which are really nice. The first one offers your regular Replay, Diesel, Paradise, the second more exclusive labels like Versace, Dolce&Gabana, JPGauthier, Exté, of which they have a beautiful assortment in stock. Be quick when the new collection arrives: the nicest items sell like hot cakes. The third shop still has the slick show-off look of old, offering mainly suits, but I have to admit I bought my nicest (Garage) shirt there.