This 1969 photo shows a demonstration at the Dutch parliament in The Hague. It was the first ever demonstration against homophobia in the Netherlands.
The signs refer to paragraph 248bis of the Dutch criminal law. Then, for heterosexuals it was legal to have sex at 16 years of age, but for homosexuals only after 21 years. The signs called that paternalistic and demanded a law, equal for all. The campaign was succesful. In 1971, paragraph 248bis was abolished. Police until then had arrested 5,000 people to enforce it.
Remarkable progress in a relatively short time. A few years before, in 1962 there had still been an article in Vrij Nederland weekly praising electrical torture of gay men to ‘convert‘ them to heterosexuality. In Vrij Nederland: considered a liberal voice in the Dutch media.
In 1968, a year before the The Hague demonstration, the Leidse Studentenwerkgroep Homoseksualiteit (LSWHl; Leiden Student Working Group Homosexuality) had been founded at Leiden university. Not everyone liked that: a university bigwig asked: What next? A Sadism Working Group?
The LSWH organised parties. One of them was ‘Flikkers voor Vietnam‘, ‘Perverts for Vietnam‘. The money made by organising that party went to medical care for Vietnamese victims of United States bombs.
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