Today, Purple Friday 2022, Queer U Stories (QUS) launches the new Utrecht rainbow canon. The canon shows highs and lows from the history of the Utrecht queer community; from 18th century sodomite persecution to the Utrecht Pride. The canon tells stories that have often been glossed over and is therefore a source of knowledge, inspiration and identification for the Utrecht queer community.
Utrecht has a rich LGBTI+ history. With low points, such as the sodomite persecution, where 18 men were put to death because they loved men. But also highlights such as the annual Utrecht Pride where thousands celebrate that everyone can be themselves.
The canon puts them in the spotlight and answers many questions such as: Why is ‘Utrechtenaar’ another word for gay? How did queers live in the 18th and 19th centuries? Why was the pink triangle exchanged for the rainbow flag? And who were Jacques Drabbe, Dirkje Kuik and Sylvia Bodnár?
Rainbow canon keeps growing
The first version of the Utrecht Rainbow Canon was presented to the mayor of Utrecht, Sharon Dijksma, a year ago. This version inspired many to get started with Utrecht’s rainbow history. Theater Oester turned it into a play. The municipality chose the canon as the theme of its boat at the Utrecht Pride. The Utrecht queer choirs made a musical performance. The Queer Film Festival organized a city walk.
This enthusiasm was a great incentive for the QUS team to expand the canon to the current version. A canon is never finished. Together with a large number of committed volunteers, we will continue to expand and adapt it, so that it continues to inspire with more and more elements from Utrecht’s rich queer history.
The canon has been compiled by many volunteers. The core team consists of Kees van den Berg, Marijke Huisman, Maurice van Lieshout, Gianna Mula and Evert van der Veen.