|The Raise of Homosexual Self-assurance in the Netherlands in the Late 1940s|
|The new social movement theory has influenced social and historical studies of the homosexual and lesbian movements in the West (Adam e.a. 1999; Duyvendak 1995). These scholars have regarded the 1960s and 1970s as a ‘new’ period in the homosexual movement history because of the ‘new’ visibility of gays and lesbians in those years. Homosexual activism before the sixties has been described as ‘homophile’ to distinguish it from this ‘new’ activism. In Dutch historical and sociological studies of the homosexual movement (Tielman 1982; Warmerdam en Koenders 1987) too, the sixties have been regarded as the breaking point in the history of the Dutch homosexual movement. According to these studies, the attitude in the Netherlands towards homosexuality changed in those years. At the same time, the homosexual movement made overt political claims and became visible in society. All Dutch scholars agree that these changes, which became visible in the sixties, started in the mid-fifties.
A recent historical study of male homosexual persecutions in the Netherlands in the Nazi-era (Tijsseling, 2009) shows that already in the first years after the Second World War there seems to be an important discontinuity in the discourse of homosexuality. In the interwar period and during the German occupation the defendants of homosexual sex crimes still spoke of homosexuality as a disease. This changed in the late 1940s: the defendants identified themselves as homosexual and as equal to heterosexuals. This increasing self-assurance of male homosexuals in the late 1940s has hardly been noticed in the historiography of the homosexual movement in the Netherlands. In my paper I will try to explain these changes in the late 1940s by firstly placing the (mainly male) Dutch post-war homosexual movement within the broader political culture of the Netherlands, and secondly by investigating the influence of the (perception of) homosexual movements and discourses in other Western countries. That the Dutch homosexual organization C.O.C. was well aware of being a part of a transnational homophile movement, is clearly shown by its launching of the International Committee for Sexual Equality (ICSE) in 1951. Through an investigation of the transnational linkages of the Dutch homosexual movement as well as of the Dutch context in the late 1940s, I will uncover the interaction of transnationalism with national contexts. The paper will be based upon secondary literature and on an analysis of the archives and publications of the C.O.C., The International Committee for Sexual Equality and prominent individuals.