Transgender in the Netherlands. An extraordinary history (1950s – present)
While in the fifties and sixties transgender people still had to be grateful if a psychiatrist did not institutionalise them or administer electroshock treatment, nowadays transgender people are often seen as inspiring, courageous people who are brave enough to be themselves. In this lecture, historian Alex Bakker will explain how perceptions changed so dramatically. Six decades of physical treatment options, social opinions, legal complications, changing perceptions and shifting identities will be discussed. The Netherlands pioneered organising care for transgender people and still has a reputation to uphold where social acceptance, scientific research and medical expertise are concerned. When did Dutch transgender people first become visible and what responses did they evoke – from those directly involved, from the media and from the authorities? How does this history relate to the emancipation of transgender people in other countries?
Alex Bakker is a freelance historian and writer who also works as a researcher for documentaries and exhibitions. In 2016, he published his autobiographical novel about his transgender background My untrue past (English version to be published Feb 2019). Bakker also wrote the first Dutch book on transgender history: Transgender in Nederland. Een buitengewone geschiedenis (Boom Uitgevers, 2018).
Amsterdam University College
Science Park 113, 1098XG Amsterdam