Nico Engelschman driving force behind equal rights for gays and lesbians

Niek Engelschman

Nico Engelschman (1913-1988, also known as Bob Angelo) was an actor, founder of ‘Levensrecht’ (a magazine for gay men) in 1939. He was also member of the Dutch resistance, founder and nearly 20 years chairman of the Dutch COC, today’s Dutch organization advocating the rights of lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders. Niek Engelschman was one of the first to refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the basis of equal rights for gays and lesbians. He was convinced that discrimination based on sexual orientation had to be seen as any other form of discrimination. Therefore he strongly advocated equal rights for gay men and lesbian women plus the abolishment of any law that supported such discrimination. His drive and commitment for so many years had tremendous influence on the (legal) position of gays and lesbians in the Netherlands.

In 1991 the COC introduced the Bob Angelo award, as a tribute to one of the most important people behind the emancipation of gays and lesbians in the Netherlands.

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