Home Institution

Mount Holyoke College

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


The Netherlands is often a country characterized by tolerance and inclusion, especially in regards to sexual diversity. Having legalized same sex marriage in 2001, one of the first in the world to do so, the Netherlands has secured its spot on the map as one of the top “gay friendly” countries. However, upon further examination, we find that tolerance within the Netherlands is not all that it seems. Many scholars and activists argue that Dutch tolerance, rather than a strive for LGBTQ+ equality, is a guise to perpetuate racism and xenophobic political agendas. Such a debate necessitates an understanding of the ways in which the semantical power of “progressive values” in seeming support of the gay community serves to consolidate ‘the Dutch citizen’ and exclude all those who fall outside the bounds of such citizenship standards. As both a social exclusionary tool and legal apparatus, citizenship exists as a way to reify the citizen subject, and all its subsequent values, as white and male. The consequences of such rhetoric is that many members of LGBTQ+ community who fail to gain access into the sphere of Dutch citizenship face mounting discrimination that is too often disregarded. One such group is LGBTQ+ women of color, a demographic that is contending with, at minimum, the amalgamation of racism, sexism, and homophobia. This paper seeks to explore the experiences of LGBTQ WOC in the ‘tolerant’ Netherlands and more specifically, the resistance methods they employ within this space. Utilizing the analytical frameworks of resistance theory, I am relying on data collected from my participant interviews with LGBTQ+ WOC in the Netherlands and the stories that they gave to me outside of the formal interview. As a means of contextualizing the forces my participants experience, the first portion of my literature review will explore the topics of homonationalism, Dutch tolerance, and racism in the Netherlands. Following such background, I will then examine scholarship surrounding resistance to help frame my participant’s narratives. Lastly, as a lens for my research methodology, I will delve into women of color feminist theories surrounding the role of women of color in knowledge production. 1.2 Aims and Motivations of Research


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | International and Area Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Women's Studies


Article Location