1960s liberal homophobia

This video from the USA says about itself:


In order of appearance:
1. Anita Bryant, anti-gay activist gets a pie in the face
2. Bill O’Reilly, of “The O’Reilly Factor” discusses a lesbian couple that was voted “cutest couple” in their high school yearbook
3. Yes for Proposition 8 Campaign Advertisement
4. A Phelps Family (Westboro Baptist Church) anti-gay protest
5. Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” on Larry King discussing homosexuality
6. “Gathering Storm” anti-gay marriage advertisement from the “National Organization for Marriage”
7. “Protect Every Kiss” gay violence advertisement from German organization “Maneo”

Vrij Nederland weekly in the Netherlands is considered by many people to be the flagship of “liberal” (in the United States sense) media.

It was founded in the 1940s as an illegal persecuted publication opposed to Hitler’s occupation of the Netherlands then.

After liberation in May 1945, it became a weekly, sympathetic to the social democratic PvdA party. However, it dared to be to the left of the official PvdA party line in criticizing the 1945-1949 Dutch colonial war in Indonesia. A war in which PvdA ministers were co-responsible as part of the government coalition.

Unfortunately, later Vrij Nederland did not always live up to that “liberal” reputation.

When in 1999 the Netherlands and other NATO countries bombed Yugoslavia, Vrij Nederland was among the most rabid warmongers.

Was the weekly at least consistent in defense of LGTBQ rights?

Let us read (in translation from the Dutch original) what Vrij Nederland wrote on 7 April 1962, in its article Genezing van homoseksueel (Cure of a homosexual):

The British Medical Journal mentions the cure of a 40-year-old man who had been a practising homosexual ever since he was eighteen. …

The treatment happened in a dark room. Repeatedly, the patient was injected with apomorphine, which made him sick and made him vomit. While he had illness attacks, a blackboard to which photos of naked men were attached was illuminated.

Every two hours, a sound tape was played, explaining to the patient
how he had developed his homosexual tendency and how that tendency had become a fixed way of behaviour through his erotic experiences. The unpleasant consequences of this were described extensively and as forbiddingly as possible.

After a pause of 24 hours the treatment was repeated. Next night, the patient was waked up every two hours, after which a gramophone record was played congratulating him and he was given a rosy-coloured version of how his life might have been if he would not have given in to “his homosexual tendency”. After that, the patient was given photos of attractive women and gramophone records of a “sexy” female singer.

After the treatment, the patient became a “different person”. He now has a regular girlfriend with whom he has a satisfactory relationship. Men do not attract him any more.

So far, this 1960s “liberal” uncritical report on this pseudo-scientific torture.

Today, only Rightist hardline Christians and their counterparts in other religions believe in this cruel “curing” of gay people.

Soon after this Vrij Nederland article, the gay liberation movement, linked to other progressive 1960s movements like the anti-Vietnam war movement, pushed the homophobes on the defensive.

Was Vrij Nederland, even while publishing this homophobic rubbish, still “liberal” in a sense? Ironically, it was. Then, homophobia was so widespread outside its extreme Right bulwarks, that often “liberals” considered gay people to be “sick people” who should be cured.

Thus, being at least a little more “liberal” than far Right hardliners of the early 1960s, who considered gay people to be criminals who should be punished.

A Touch of Spring for LGBT Arabs: here.

24 thoughts on “1960s liberal homophobia

  1. Italian politician denounced over gay slur

    A RIGHT-wing Italian deputy mayor has found himself at the centre of a political storm after his anti-gay slurs against a left-wing governor provoked widespread outrage – and a rebuke from his own party.

    And much of the drama has been played out on the Facebook pages of the politicians involved.

    Giuseppe Ripa, deputy mayor of the southern town of Lecce, launched his attack on Nichi Vendola, the governor of Apulia, in a posting on Facebook.

    “In nature, there exist only two types human beings: the man and the woman,” he wrote.

    The rest were psychiatric cases apt for psychoanalytic treatment, said Ripa, a member of Silvio Berlsuconi’s People of Freedom party.

    Lecce’s mayor, Paolo Perrone, was quick to distance himself from the remarks.

    “I like to practice politics by debating with my adversaries on the issues, not on the sexual preferences of this or that person, which are a matter of one’s private life,” he wrote in his own Facebook posting.

    But Ripa continued his attacks, describing Vendola as “abnormal”.

    Vendola, a member of the left-wing Democratic Party and in the past a gay rights activist, has refused to respond to the attacks.

    But deputy governor Loredana Capone sprang to his defence in postings on her Facebook page, denouncing the “homophobic junta” running Lecce.

    The head of Italy’s gay rights group Arcigay – of which Vendola has been an active member – also denounced Ripa’s remarks.

    “Nobody in public office can use it as a platform for promoting hate and discrimination,” said Paolo Patane.

    Democratic Party deputy Paola Concia also denounced the attacks, which she described as “vulgar and offensive”.

    Ripa’s People of Freedom party also condemned his his comments “without reserve”.

    “It is is urgent to put in place a law that punishes such behaviour,” said Raffaele Lauro, a senator with the party.

    Italy does not recognise homosexual partners and there is no law against homophobia.



  2. Gay rights activists appeal police ban

    MALAYSIA: Activists launched a rare legal case today aimed at fostering gay rights by challenging a police ban on an anti-homophobia arts festival.

    Organisers of a “sexual independence” festival held annually in Malaysia since 2008 filed a petition in the high court hoping to overturn a ban imposed last year on the event, which was supposed to feature musical performances, talks and a poster exhibition.

    The organisers say the ban is unconstitutional and “irrefutable evidence of the discrimination” against LGBT people.



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