Historian, archaeologist and LGBTI+ activist
Judith Schuyf was born in The Hague in 1951, studied History and Archeology in Leiden and has lived most of her life in Utrecht. There she started her career at the Department of Historical Geography of Utrecht University. Her involvement in the Interfaculty Gay Studies Working Group (founded 1982) and the experiences with aggressive young people during the Pride in Amersfoort (also 1982) formed the start of her activism that continues to this day.
Gay and Lesbian Studies
In the late 1970s, Judith Schuyf belonged to the group of students and staff who stood at the cradle of gay and lesbian studies at Utrecht University. In 1983 she was appointed coordinator of the Interfaculty Gay Studies Working Group, to which she also contributed with various studies and publications. In 1987 she was appointed assistant professor, in 1993 project leader. In 1994 she obtained her doctorate for research into the social environment and self-image of lesbian women in the period 1920-1970.
In 1998 she became head of research at the Information and Coordination Unit for War Victim Services (ICODO, now Arq, Knowledge Center for War, Prosecution and Violence). Her own research included research into the Dutch in the Neuengamme concentration camp and into the position of gay men and lesbian women during the Second World War, particularly in the Dutch resistance movement. Even after her departure from ICODO, Judith continued to draw attention to the persecution of LGBTI+ people during the Second World War through publications and projects. For example, she took the initiative for the placement (in 2021) of the first nine Stolpersteine for Jewish homosexual and lesbian war victims and resistance fighters.
From 2002 until her retirement in 2014, Judith worked as a consultant and researcher at the Knowledge Centre for Lesbian and Gay Emancipation Policy, which has been part of Movisie (national knowledge institute for social issues) in Utrecht since 2006. She supported municipalities in developing an LGBTI+ policy, paying particular attention to the older people, transgender people, sports and safety. In addition to a large number of guidelines, she and others have published several editions of De Roze Gemeentegids (LGBIT+ Municipal Guide).
For her commitment to the history and emancipation of the LGBTI+ community and LGBTI+ war victims, Judith was honored with the Annie Brouwer-Korf Award (2008), appointed Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau (2014), awarded the Bob Angelo Medal of COC Netherlands (2015) and nominated for the Jos Brink award of the Dutch government (2023).
At her farewell to Movisie, a colleague gave a striking characteristic of Judith in a speech:
‘erudite, driven and straightforward, critical and with unbridled commitment to her work, both paid and voluntary. A tenacious and striking personality who pursues her ideals in an inspiring way.’
Judith is still working as an author and researcher. She is now working on a biography of the writer Josine Reuling (1899-1961), known as the author of the ‘lesbian’ novel Terug naar het eiland (Back to the Island) (1937).
Since 2001, Judith Schuyf has been in a relationship with photographer Sjaan van der Jagt.
Maurice van Lieshout
Een stilzwijgende samenzwering. Lesbische vrouwen in Nederland, 1920-1970. Proefschrift RU Leiden. [A silent conspiracy. Lesbian women in the Netherlands, 1920-1970. Dissertation Leiden University] (Amsterdam 1994)
Gevoelsgenoten van zekere leeftijd. Levensverhalen van oudere homoseksuele vrouwen en mannen [Friends of a certain age. Life stories of older gay women and men] (Amsterdam 1997).
Levenslang. Tiemon Hofman, vervolgd homoseksueel en avonturier [Limetiem/Life sentence. Tiemon Hofman, persecuted homosexual and adventurer] (Amsterdam 2003).
en Klaus Müller (redactie), Het begint met nee zeggen. Biografieën rond verzet en homoseksualiteit 1940-1945 [and Klaus Müller (editors), It starts with saying no. Biographies about resistance and homosexuality 1940-1945] (Amsterdam 2006).
Heidense Heiligdommen. Zichtbare sporen van een verloren verleden [Pagan Shrines. Visible traces of a lost past] (Utrecht 2019).