On the 9th of March 1803 Jillis Bruggeman was the last person to be condemned to death for homosexual acts in our country. To commemorate his execution, and as a protest against LGTB prosecution worldwide, a memorial is erected in his honour in Schiedam and the first Jillis Bruggeman Medal is awarded to Amnesty International.
In the Netherlands in 2015 it is difficult to imagine that people were persecuted in our country, let alone be sentenced to death because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. But in certain parts of the world this unimaginable suffering is still a bitter reality. Still there are courts that condemn people because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). In over 80 countries, homosexual acts are still punishable, and in seven countries the maximum penalty is death.
The Netherlands no longer imposes criminal charges because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Unfortunately, we do see a lot of ugly examples of LGBT discrimination, with many victims of physical violence. This is unacceptable.
Through Jillis Bruggeman's history, Schiedam’s gay ambassadors are asking for attention for everyone who has been discriminated against, prosecuted or even threatened with their lives because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. In cooperation with the city of Schiedam, the ambassadors have taken the initiative for a Jillis Bruggeman memorial and medal.
The memorial consists of a tile with inscription on the spot at the Grote Markt in Schiedam where the gallows for Jillis Bruggeman were erected. The city of Schiedam will award the medal each year to an organisation that has fought for the emancipation of and equal rights for LGBTs.