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Dutch Sociologist Promoted Pedophilia, Bestiality
Gert Hekma labels pedophilia and bestiality as “sexual variations”
A widely-cited academic and former professor at the University of Amsterdam has written extensively in support of pedophilia, even once interviewing with a pro-pedophile rights organization during which he called children “sexy.”
Gert Hekma, a Dutch sociologist and former professor in the fields of gender studies and sexuality, has a long history of framing paraphilias such as pedophilia and bestiality as “sexual variations” rather than as forms of abuse.
Hekma has authored over 300 academic articles, largely in the fields of sexology and sociology. Among his publications are “Sexual Expression Best Guarantee Against Exploitation: Children and Sexuality,” “Queering de Sade," and “Is Gay Sex OK for Boys?”
From 1984 until 2017, Hekma was an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam, where he lectured students on the works of the Marquis de Sade, from whom the eponymic term “sadism” was derived: “the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others”, according to Oxford Languages.
Sade, states Hekma, was “one of the first and most important authors to write apologies for pédérastie.” Hekma incorporated the Marquis’ writings in his classroom in order to assert that “striving to remove violence from society” is not a reasonable political aim.
In 2007, Hekma was sharply criticized after supporting the idea of including a boat for adolescents under the age of 16 at the Amsterdam Gay Pride, and told de Volksrant that a prominent gay organization subsequently “cut off all contact” with him. The University of Amsterdam continued to support Hekma during this backlash.
In 2014, Hekma co-created a petition addressed to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, pleading for the government to refrain from banning pro-pedophilia association Vereniging MARTIJN. Founded in 1982 and dissolved by the Supreme Court in 2014, MARTIJN claimed to fight for “the social and societal acceptance of child-adult relationships”. The organization also created child sexual exploitation materials in the form of a subscription-based publication titled Ok Magazine that ran for three decades.
“If we find a copy of OK Magazine during a search, that is the signal for us nine times out of ten that we have won and that hard child porn will turn up after a bit of searching,” a detective told Belgian news site Nieuwsblad in 2005.
In 2004, Hekma interviewed with MARTIJN and extensively detailed his own childhood sexual fantasies. He said that anyone who didn't sexually fantasize about children below the age of 16 was “crazy,” going on to assert: “Most people know very well what a beautiful boy or a beautiful girl is, that they are sexy, that they have nice little blow mouths. If you do not see this, then you are blind.”
In the same interview, which was also published in OK Magazine, Hekma agreed with the interviewer that sometimes children needed to be “forced” or “pressured” into sex.
Hekma explains his views advocating for social acceptance of abusive sexual practices in a chapter he authored in the Bloomsbury publication, A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Modern Age, titled “Sexual Variations”:
“My own view on these sexual variations is straightforward. No sexual relation is morally wrong as long as it is not abusive, which means that it does not go against the wishes of the partner. Regarding pedophilia this raises the question of the age at which youngsters can give consent and, regarding bestiality, whether or not animals can do so.
On the first point it is essential that young people learn at an early age what it means to be sexual citizens in order to prepare them for their sexual life so that they can engage with these pleasurable exploits consciously. There is no specific age at which this happens but it is usually experienced sometime at the beginning of puberty. In cases of bestiality, abuse should be forbidden and non-abusive forms allowed.”
Hekma also authored a glowing obituary for pro-pedophilia campaigner Frits Bernard, who is featured positively on the website of the North American Man / Boy Love Assocation (NAMBLA), as well as on the pedophilia site BoyWiki.
Bernard was a psychologist, sexologist and pedophile activist in the Netherlands, and a leading member and author for the Dutch Society for Sexual Reform (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Seksuele Hervorming, NVSH). According to internet archives, the site advocated for the normalization of all forms of sexuality, including pedophilia:
“To label people homosexual, pedosexual, transsexual, nymphomaniac, bisexual, exhibitionist, sadomasochist, etc., is to emphasize only one aspect, or even one life event. We are all complex human beings and sexual expression is one aspect of our identity… Sexual tendencies or preferences do not constitute the identity of a person, as is implied by labeling people as paraphiliacs, but an aspect of their personality.”
Bernard founded Enclave Kring (Enclave Circle) in the 1950s, making him the founder of the first modern public pedophile movement. In 1972, Bernard published Sex met Kinderen (Sex with Children) for the NVSH. In 1979, he founded the Bernard Institute for the study of sexuality and later served at the editorial board of Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia. Hekma’s own tribute to Bernard states that he was “devoted to pedophile emancipation”.
“When the tide turned and the moral panic on pedophilia began in the early 1980s, he became more prudent and discrete and hoped for better times,” wrote Hekma. “Bernard was a gentleman… Up until his final days he worked on articles and gave interviews in support of boy love, while the situation only worsened for pedophiles.”
Hekma is listed as an editor of Gay News, a publication based in Holland, where another obituary to Bernard dated 2006 can be found, attributed only to the editorial staff. “Frits Bernard was one of the well-known pioneers of the boy love emancipation movement in the Netherlands,” the article reads. “Initially he waged this struggle within the Dutch gay emancipation organization COC, but he was sidelined in the early 1960s.”
In Hekma’s 2013 article titled “Children, sex, and self-determination: Talking about pedophilia” (“Kinderen, seks en selfbepaling: Praten over pedofilie”), published in the journal Tijdschrift Sociologie, Hekma again defends the pro-pedophilia lobbying of Frits Bernard, stating:
“Bernard had placed an appeal in the NVSH monthly magazine Sextant to hear stories from alleged victims. They were mostly boys who had had sex with an older man and thoroughly enjoyed the relationship… Sometimes they had taken the initiative themselves.”
Hekma goes on to observe how the political movement to normalize pedophilia found common cause among those with other paraphilias, but was ultimately halted from altering age of consent laws by feminist mobilizing. Writing for the anthology Histories of Sexology: Between Science and Politics, Hekma says,
“In the Netherlands, the Dutch Movement for Sexual Reform (NVSH) became in the seventies a cover for minority groups, the main ones in the NVSH being transsexuals and transvestites, sadomasochists, exhibitionists and pedophiles. The first group soon had their first successes with the acceptance of transsexual operations and the legalization of a gender identity change…
The final group of pedophiles made some progress in the 1970s and 1980s, after which they became a largely demonized group… Police-officers, lawyers, and psychiatrists made the argument that pedosex was less an evil than were the negative reactions to sex with ‘minors’ by family, police, and courts that traumatized the kids.
These arguments found response among other mental health and legal officials, sexual activists and politicians who supported the idea of bringing down the age of consent to 12 years but this failed first due to a growing feminist concern: the sex law committee rejected it and—uncommon for the period—a majority of its members were feminists.”
In 2001, Hekma co-founded the George Mosse Fund of the University of Amsterdam, an organization that specialized in organizing and hosting lectures on queer theory from 2002 - 2019. One of the organization’s final lectures in 2019, “Queering the Sex Worker Movement”, called for the continued full decriminalization and normalization of sex trafficking.
The U.S. State Department has declared that the Netherlands is a known source, destination and transit country for children subjected to trafficking for sexual purposes. Nearly half of identified female trafficking victims in the Dutch sex industry in 2017 were girls between the ages of 12 and 17, according to the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children.
“Children remained vulnerable to trafficking in the protection system, and the government did not report complete victim statistics for the reporting period,” the U.S. State Department found. “The government frequently did not charge child sex traffickers under the trafficking law but under a sexual abuse law (article 248b), which carried lesser penalties.”
Currently, the Netherlands hosts roughly 71% of the child sexual abuse content found by the Internet Watch Foundation in a 2019 annual report. This equates to 93,962 URLs and represents a tremendous increase from 2018 when the Netherlands was found to be hosting 47% of all known child sexual abuse material.