On september the 5th the Amsterdam LGBTQI community celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the Homomonument. They saw the premier of a documentary by Sebas Kes about the monument and its’ place within the LGBTQI community. Around 250 people came together to watch this documentary in the open air. It was a surprisingly pleasant late summer evening. Together with a few short speeches and interviews this celebration gave food for thought on LGBTQI persecution, liberation and rights.
The documentary: a Monument of Pride
The organisation behind the Homomonument had commissioned Sebas Kes to make a documentary. But how do you make a documentary about a monument consisting of three pink granite triangles? Sebas Kes solved this with an ingenious construction connecting the past, present and future: the three elements these triangles symbolize.
First the documentary has a short prologue with the foundation history of the Homomonument. The gay and lesbian liberation movements in the ’70s (re)discovered the history of the prosecution of lesbians and gay men in the Second World War. When they tried to take part in the official national remembrance of victims of war and persecutions, they were excluded forcefully. That sparked the idea of an own monument.
Then the story of the documentary goes back in time to the 18th century. From then on it tells the story of gays, lesbians and later also transsexuals in the Netherlands. In several interviews notable Dutch sociologists and historians tell this story. It is interspersed with the present day stories of a Syrian gay man who fled to The Netherlands, a transgender activist and the president of the Amsterdam LGTBQI student society.
These stories of present day activists in the Dutch LGBTQI movement draws the parallel with historical developments and the present day and future situation of the LGBTQI community in The Netherlands and internationally. And every time it shows this parallel, there are scenes of activities at the Homomonument: remembrance services, demonstrations, but also parties.
The Homomonument anniversary event
The audience watched the 80 minutes documentary with great interest. During the end titles a long and well deserved applause greeted the Sebas Kes. Dolly Bellefleur, the well known drag queen within the Amsterdam LGBTQI community, presented the evening. She interviewed of course the maker of the documentary, but also the instigator of the Homomonument (Bob van Schijndel) and of course its’ designer Karen Daan.
The documentary is a great (his)story about the LGBTQI movement. The documentary is in Dutch, but it is also interesting for people outside of The Netherlands. The IHLIA also organizes an exhibition about the 30-year anniversary of the Homomonument. For more information, contact the organizers of the exhibition (IHLIA) or the maker of the documentary Sebas Kes (Linkedin profile).