From the middle of the nineteenth century until way into the twentieth North-European gays have traveled to the Mediterranean region to escape from the stifling moral customs in their own country. Some preferred Italy while other went to North Africa, but for all these travelers it was as if “sexual initiation and homosexual liberation could take place only among the irresistible youths of the classical Mediterranean or exotic North Africa,” as Robert Aldrich wrote in “Colonialism and Homosexuality” (London / New York 2003).
I never liked large cafes and discos with loud music. I always had to depend on my tongue-way. So, I frequented the smaller bars. One of my favorite bars has always been the Krokodil on Amstelstraat. I visited this for the first time when I was sixteen. I was going with thirty-four-year old Klaas. In my opinion Klaas was very old. Klaas shared a large flat in Amsterdam-North with two dikes, Lia en Gré. Lia was femme and Gré butch.
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.
Belgian queens were screaming murder a few weeks ago. Why? Well, now that Great Britain relaxed the restrictions for blood donations of MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) they demanded via the media and several forums that the Belgian Red Cross, responsible for blood donations and transfusions in our country, would do the same. Because excluding MSM from donating blood is discrimination, they think.
Minusio, where is that? Not in Italy but close to it, at the Lago Maggiore in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland.
What’s there to see? At the moment a very curious exhibition on two German speaking gay men (right? yes, I think so, even though they wouldn’t have liked the word), Elisàr von Kupffer (1872-1942) and Eduard von Mayer (1873-1960), who arrived there during the First World War and who had a very special construction built in the twenties and thirties: half temple, half villa, half exhibition space for Elisàr’s paintings.
In a speech at the final day of the annual conference of the conservative party in Manchester the British Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken out clearly in favor of same sex marriages.
‘I’ve been here at a party conference before and told you then that it should not make any difference whether a marriage is between a man and a woman, two women or two men. You applauded me for that. Now, five years later, we have started consultations to indeed remove obstacles in legislation for such same sex marriages.
Fashion without black is unimaginable. Since the Japanese designers introduced it in the eighties on the European catwalks, black has been a favorite element for a statement. It’s absolutely timeless and easily survives season after season. Different materials produce different blacks. It’s mystery and cult, it can be combined with every other color. And it sells, so it’s no surprise that almost all designers take it up in most of their collections.
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.
In September youngsters filmed the response of random people in several neighborhoods to the photo installations of Pride Photo Award 2011. The clips showed how superficial tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality still is: it’s fine if you think you’re gay ‘as long as I don’t have to see it!’ The winning photos of Pride Photo Award 2011 were displayed outside on several squares in the city and youngsters filmed short interviews with passers by. The photos show the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and play with images of masculinity and femininity.
On Wednesday the 5th of October Marja van Bijsterveldt, Minister of Education and coordinating minister of emancipation issues, has struck a deal with 22 municipalities on LGBT emancipation. They signed a so-called frontrunner contract with the ministry, in which they promised to present plans of action to improve their LGBT policy before the 1st of February 2012. The idea is to promote social acceptance, security and strength of LGBT individuals.
Soon, lesbian co-mothers no longer have to go through court to get registered officially as a mother to the child of their partner. Vice minister of Security and Justice Teeven sent a proposal to parliament last Thursday night. With this proposal Teeven honors a promise he made in March to COC Netherlands. COC hails it as a breakthrough after a campaign that took more than ten years. At the moment the co-mother has to first officially adopt the child of her partner, even when she’s already married.
About sex, HIV and viral apartheid in gay communities.
Poz&Proud, the gay men department of HVN (HIV Society Holland) celebrates its five year anniversary on the 25th of November in De Balie with a debate on sex, HIV and viral apartheid in gay communities. Dominee Gremdaat will address the audience at the opening of the evening.