Gert Hekma Bio

Gert Hekma (1951 - 2022) finished his Gymnasium-β in 1970 in Groningen and his MA in Cultural Anthropology in 1978 at the – calvinist - Free University in Amsterdam. During his studies he was from its beginning in 1975 till its end in 1980 member of the Nijmegen/Amsterdam queer activist group The Red Faggots’’, in Dutch ‘De Rooie Flikkers’. He wrote for their journal ‘Mietje’ (Molly) and also for the Flikkerkrant (Faggot paper) of the Amsterdam Flikkerfront (Faggot Front). With the Rooie Flikkers he co-organized the queer filmfestival ‘Gluren in het donker’ (peep in the dark, Nijmegen/Amsterdam 1978) and the cultural festival ‘Mannen, niet waar’ (Men, aren’t they, 1980) in the Milky Way (Melkweg), swang song of the group.

His beloved Mattias Duyves and friend Hans Nugteren organised in 1977 the summer camp the ‘Mont des Tantes’ (queens’ mountain’’) in Montaigu de Quercy for queers from Sweden, Belgium, Western-Germany, England, Italy and from Holland, France and so on. It was an experiment of faggots among themselves without straights. They could be completely themselves as faggots and that was more difficult to express than they expected. Their philosophy was ‘be yourself and do what you like’ irrespective of straight and other norms.

From 1979 to 1981, he worked at the University of Utrecht starting off his PhD. He was one of the organizers of the social-scientific congress "Among men, among women" the first international conference of gay/lesbian studies in June 1983 at the University of Amsterdam ("Onder Mannen, Onder Vrouwen" / “Among Men, Among Women”). Here he started in 1984 for sociology as teacher in gay studies. On the conference he laid the contacts that were so important for his future carreer. In 1987 Hekma passed his PhD in historical anthropology at the University of Utrecht.

After 1984 Hekma was the successor of Mattias Duyves till 2017 as teacher at the University of Amsterdam for gay studies with the theme sociology and history of (homo)sexuality. First named flikker- (faggot-) but soon that became homo- and moreover lesbian studies. Now these are ‘sex and genderstudies’. Hekma’s research was part of an academic countercultuur that resulted in many academic and popular articles, books, exhibits, lessons and lectures.

His PhD regarded the medical history or ‘uitdoktering’ (making homoseksuality a medical theme). It made him to an adept of the French philosopher Michel Foucault. Some of his pronouncements on sexual variations from faggotry to perversion, BDSM and pedophilia led to conflicts between him and students, colleagues and university managers and resulted in threats against his person. But other students liked his approach.

Hekma was (co)editor of many journals. He also (co)organized various exhibitions like Goed Verkeerd (Two of a kind, 1989) and conferences, and researched the life and work of Jacob Israël de Haan, Louis Couperus, Gerard Reve, Frans Kellendonk and the Marquis de Sade. He taught students among multiple other places at UvA, in Amsterdam, Maastricht, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Groningen, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Ankara and at the City College of San Francisco and Queens College of New York.

In 2017 there were three activities with Hekma's retirement: a two-day symposium, "Perils and Pleasures: Confronting Erotic Diversions" in the Amsterdam University Library; an exhibit "Rooie Flikkers en Homostudies UvA" at IHLIA in the Amsterdam Pubic Library; and a Mosse-lecture by himself [16] organized by the George Mosse Foundation that he in 2001 co-created and co-organized.[5]

Private life

Gert Hekma was a Dutch anthropologist and sociologist, known for his research, publications and public statements on (homo) sexualityand erotic variations. He taught gay and lesbian studies at the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Amsterdam from 1984 to 2017.

Hekma was the son of a notary and grew up in Bedum, Holland. He was a frequent visitor of the Amsterdams famous DOK gay disco and other bars. He was member of the radical activist group "Rooie Flikkers" (1975-1980) and wrote for its journal ‘Mietje’.

He used to be a book collector, had a fetisj for satin and adidas and was a fan of Marquis de Sade: apart from one of his favorite authors he is a source of inspiration because he acknowledged as one of the firsts the reality and the cause of non-coïtal sex and multiple genders. Sade was one of the worlds first queer activists who opposed the dichotomies of nature and culture, of male and fenale and homo and hetero and also of peace and violence. Look at the animals that murder and eat each other – nature is life and death. In this regard Sade goes beyond most present-day queers.

In 2007 he received death threats after he supported the idea to add a 16-minus queers boat in the Canal Tour in the Amsterdam Gay Pride. In 2014 he co-framed a petition to he Dutch High Court to plead for not forbidding the pedophile society Martijn. This resulted in more threats although he declared not being himself a pedophile.

He and his lover, sociologist Mattias Duyves (1953), were more than 40 years together, met each other in 1977 and married in 2007 although not being supporters of the institution gay or straight. Both favour rather sexual and relational freedom.

Hekma was interviewd by Dutch, English, French and other media, for the documentaries Bas Kes’ Monument van Trots (Pride, 2017 ) and John Scagliotti's y Before Homosexuals (2017).