Gays and lesbians blocked from gov't jobs, promotions for decades
During the post-War period from 1945 to 1971, gays and lesbians were far less likely to be hired for a government job, and less likely to be promoted, than people believed to be heterosexual. New research conducted by the Verwey-Jonker Institute at the request of two municipalities in the Netherlands showed that it ultimately forced civil servants of diverse sexualities to hide their identities from hiring managers and colleagues, Parool and Trouw reported based on an advanced copy of the report.
“During the research period there was a huge rejection of everything that was not the neatly heteronormative,” said Marian van der Klein. The lead author of the report spoke to Parool about the project. "Gay officials had to constantly hide part of their identity, think about the choices in their private life."
The study found no explicit statements that blocked gays and lesbians from civil service jobs when examining the archives of three ministries, four centralized personnel departments, six municipalities, and the domestic security services. However, men who put forward an image of perceived personal and sexual norms had an advantage.
“What you can see is that everyone who met the standard had a head start. Being married was honored; letters of recommendation discussed extensively how someone's wife and children behaved,” she said. Men who were described as "effeminate" of with an "affectation" to their speech suggesting they were gay could be categorized by hiring managers as suspected of "homophelia", the newspaper noted.
One fear was that gay men could be blackmailed over their sexual orientation. Cities were also concerned about allowing gay men to work with children. "How they behaved was fully taken into account in the question of whether someone was suitable for his position," she told Trouw.
The study looked at the period ending in 1971 because that was when Dutch law no longer prevented gay men over the age of 21 from engaging in sexual activity with younger adult men. The law allowed adult men to be involved with younger adult women.
The result of the law was that younger gay men were more likely to interact with police. That data was accessible by municipal and national government hiring managers, as was data about those written up for spending too much time in a public toilet, which Trouw reported as a meet-up spot for the gay community.
Van der Klein envisioned the study being expanded to cover two or three more decades. “The legislation forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation dates back to the 1990s. On the other hand: from the 1970s on, so much has changed in thinking about homosexuality, which would have complicated the research,” she told Parool.
The Verwey-Jonker Institute will submit the report to Internal Affairs Minister Kajsa Ollongren on Tuesday.