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The Inauguration of Pink Saturday

by our Editors in Theatre, Art & Expo , 02 mei 2015


At the opening of the exhibition “‘Gijsen, flikker op!’, the Reverend Gremdaat, one of the alter egos of comedian and author Paul Haenen, delivered a sermon De bisschop en het ontstaan van Roze Zaterdag” (Gijsen Piss Off: The Bishop and the Emergence of Pink Saturday).

The exhibition is organized by the Centre Céramique in the context of “Maastricht Colours You,” and throws light on the emergence of Pink Saturday.

In 1979, Bishop Joannes Gijsen scared the living daylights out of the progressive Dutch and drove many Catholics out of church with his deeply conservative and almost dogmatic statements about the “true” Catholic faith. Bishop Gijsen was against birth control, against abortion, against divorce, pro-family, but mostly very much against homosexuality. Conservative Catholics often agreed with him. A large group of homosexuals decided to demonstrate during the Easter weekend in the cathedral city of Roermond. After Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the first Pink Saturday was a fact on April 14, 1979.

More than four thousand people joined, including clerics and priests. There were many banners with statements such as “Gijsen Flikker op” and “Gijsen heeft de pik op ons” [Gijsen has it in for us]. The solidarity of these maligned homosexuals was big, and many Catholics sided with them. From all over the country came hundreds of expressions of sympathy, from party executives of the PvdA, the PSP, the CPN, catholic members of the VVD, and CDA Limburg, but also from individuals, such as actor Albert Mol, chanteuse Liesbeth List and folk singer Zangeres zonder Naam.

On June 20, 2015, Pink Saturday will be organized in Limburg for the fourth time, this time around the theme “Maastricht Colours You.” Prior to this great festival, Centre Céramique presents an exhibition on the origins of Pink Saturday and gay liberation in (Catholic) Limburg. The exhibition tells stories about the gay movement and emancipation, then and now.

It shows film reports, a documentary that was especially made by the regional broadcasting cooperation L1, many pictures from private archives, interviews, stories of people involved, and original expressions of sympathy from Dutch celebrities and politicians.

Remarkable is a photo of a gay protester who’s looking into the camera cynically, holding a sign with the text: “Gijsen moet blijven!” [Gijsen should stay!] Without the conservative bishop, the first Pink Saturday in Limburg would not have been organized, a day that ultimately contributes to the continuous visibility of gay and lesbian people in The Netherlands.

For the exhibition and on behalf of Centre Céramique, photographer Michel Vanderhoven made a number of portraits of the initiators of Pink Saturday.




 INFO  “‘Gijsen, flikker op!’ De bisschop en het ontstaan van Roze Zaterdag” is a joint project of the Centre Céramique and Maastricht Colours You / Roze Zaterdag 2015 Maastricht. Many activities will be organized around this theme, and the exhibition is on view until June 21, 2015.


Centre Céramique, Avenue Céramique 50,
6221 KV Maastricht, www.centreceramique.nl


photos © Hans van der Weijden



 







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