Gay Friendly Amsterdam? There were black-lists for gay people in a different era

Every nation, arguably every town, has had a shameful history of gay discrimination at some point. But if you’re considered the ‘Gay Capital’ of the country, Europe and maybe even the world – it’s a little bit extra painful. Unfortunately, Amsterdam’s city archive workers just found a painful reminder that the city’s attitudes were quite different a mere sixty years ago.

Committee for Ethical Conduct: 1.500 Names and Backgrounds.

The archive workers found so much documentation that it measured several meters long, with the names of 1.500 city job applicants, including further background information. This “Ethical Committee” wasn’t sparse in their judgment, even having homosexual friends could be enough to be turned down for a job as a city worker. Of all the names in the list, at least 15% were turned down because of their sexuality, or even a mere suspicion, those who were found ‘gay’ were blacklisted forever and could never work for the city.

Gay Friendly Amsterdam

Gay Pride parade

Gay Friendly Amsterdam? Not so much…
The city of Amsterdam has responded surprised and disappointed: “A shocking discovery, discrimination against personnel on the basis of their sexuality is completely unacceptable. It doesn’t fit the city’s human resources policy and even much less our organization’s inclusive policies of today” a spokeswoman said.
She pointed out however that the documents go six decades back, “Thankfully this is no longer part of our practices here in Amsterdam for a long time. Regardless that doesn’t make it any less shocking.”

(Not so-) Gay Friendly Amsterdam: Investigation and Compensation

According to Amsterdam-based national newspaper “Het Parool” the city council has unanimously voted for the City to apologize and open large, scale investigations into the subject. For now the documentation has been sealed off, so no one will have access to them, because some of the subjects on the lists may still be well and alive today – being ‘outed’ could be disastrous for their private lives.

Holland’s national LGBT-organization “COC”, also founded and seated in Amsterdam, has also responded hurt and asking for further inquiries. A COC-spokesman said: “We believe it necessary for there to be new investigations into government treatment of homosexuals. We’re under the impression that there’s bad circumstances going on.”

The COC asked that other cities also investigate if there used to be similar blacklists, if the individuals on it are still alive and whether or not they want some form of compensation.

Global History of Mistreatment of Homosexuals.

Just a few days ago Canada’s Prime-Minister, Justin Trudeau, tearfully apologized for his country’s treatment of homosexuals – who faced serious mistreatment and being ostracized was the norm if anything. Other modern Western country’s with a painful past of gay discrimination are Great Britain, which even included incarceration up until the 1950’s; Germany who’s “Third Reich” focused on the complete eradication of homosexuals during the Holocaust; and of course the United States which has recently seen a new wave of Anti-Gay sentiments since the 2016 Elections and under the new Trump Administration.