The gradual acceptance of homosexuality in the twentieth century in the Netherlands can be easily traced by looking at the four discourses emerging during this century in literature on the education of boys. With the Christian faith firmly rooted in society, the first and second discourse focus on homosexuality primarily as a sexual sin. With the secularization and sexual revolution in the sixties, homosexuality as sexual preference becomes the center of attention in discourse three and four. In the first discourse, continuing far into the sixties, the older homosexual male is seen as a seducer of boys. The second discourse, of homosexuality as a passing phase in a - mostly spiritual - friendship between boys, culminates in the fifties. The third discourse, of homosexuality as a congenital sexual orientation, begins in the early sixties and remains, supported by the gay emancipation movement of the seventies, an established fact in literature on the education of boys. In the mid-eighties, the fourth discourse is initiated, in which educators recognize the fear of homosexuality among adolescent boys, and try to remedy this. In their quest for male identity, many boys reject the (alleged) homosexual and therefore unmanly inclinations towards intimacy of themselves and others. This gay anxiety hinders their acceptation of homosexuality. It falls to parents and other educators to, time and time again, remind boys that homosexuality and manliness do not exclude each another.
This study evaluates the effect of Gay and Straight Alliances (GSAs) on tolerance towards homosexuality and on perceived security of gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) pupils in Dutch secondary schools. This study is based on quantitative analyses of large-scale interview data retrieved from the Veiligheidsmonitor (National School Safety Monitor) 2012, including data of over 8,500 pupils in 42 schools. Important other school policies concerning safety have been taken into account in the analyses. The results show that pupils at schools with a GSA are more tolerant towards homosexuality than those at schools without a GSA. In addition, GLB pupils at schools with a GSA perceive the school climate more often as gay-friendly. GSA initiatives appear to fulfill two of their three goals. No evidence has been found that GSAs also fulfill their third goal: GLB pupils are less afraid to have their coming out at a GSA-school.
In this article we reflect on two studies, published in the Tijdschrift voor Seksuologie, which relate to homosexuality. We selected a Flemish study on risky sex behavior among gay men and a study from the Netherlands on homosexual identity development. Both topics are still relevant today and allow us to outline an evolution in this field of research. Our analysis shows how the focus of the study of homosexuality widened at a social level. A rather narrow view on sexual (risk) behavior among gay men evolved into a variety of themes such as sexual identity, social acceptance at school and at work, and attention for specific subgroups such as older gay and bisexual men and women. Moreover, on a theoretical level, we see that these studies become better integrated into psychological and sociological contemporary theories with a specific focus on the minority stress model. The latter model explains the fragile mental and physical health of gay and bisexual men and women by the fact that they are facing exclusion, discrimination, and prejudice. In addition, researchers increasingly explain the health problems of gay men from a syndemic approach. This suggests that the synergistic interaction of two or more diseases that occur simultaneously, give rise to excessive vulnerability. Recent studies show that the social and scientific attention for homosexuality is still a necessity in view of the vulnerability of this group.