Ethiek is politiek | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437



In Western collective memory, male and female homosexual activism has been considered a product of the 1960s. Although most sociohistorical literature on the homosexual movement in Western Europe and the United States shows homosexual activism existed before, it narrates the history of the movement in a linear way. According to this linear narrative, the Western homosexual movement started in the first post-war decade as an accommodationist, cautious movement that used a strategy of respectability. In the late 1960s, it changed into a radical, political, and visible liberation movement. The history of the Dutch homosexual movement has been described in the same manner: the C.O.C. in the immediate post-war period has been portrayed mainly as a shelter for homosexuals. Likewise, scholars characterised the strategy of the C.O.C.-activists as a cautious plea for pity. A historicising, contextualising approach, which looks at the C.O.C. in the immediate postwar period independently from its later form the period after, reveals a different image of the C.O.C. Instead of as a shelter, the C.O.C. appears in the first post-war decade as a social movement that aimed to change society by deploying and extending the cultural template available for organisations concerned with sexuality.


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