Fund for Scientific Research of Sexuality

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In 1979 Edward Brongersma, a jurist, boylover, activist, and former member of the Dutch Senate founded the Brongersma Foundation for the study of the sexuality of youth. The fund has more recently operated under the names Fondsseksualiteit and presently Fund for Scientific Research of Sexuality. Right from the beginning, the Foundation's purpose has been to "promote scientific research in the field of the sexual development of children and young people".[1]

Brongersma's enormous library archive on intergenerational sexual relationships became the base of the Foundation, located at his villa in Overveen (near Haarlem) in the Netherlands. After his death in 1998, the Foundation has chosen to operate as a fund for scientific research.

The Brongersma Collection

From its inception in 1979, the first goal of the Brongersma Foundation was to retain and to manage its immense library and various subcollections with material related to the sexual development of children and young people.

In addition to some 20,000 books, the archive included hundreds of thousands of homoerotic images—ranging from private photographs and commercial pornography to the collected work of photographers such as Hajo Ortil. Many of the images depict youths. The archive also contains some 500 personal sexual histories, often detailing relationships with boys.

Before his death in 1998, Brongersma had appointed two conservators for his Foundation's archive: Dr. F. Wafelbakker, a pediatrician and retired director of Children's Medical Services for the Ministry of Health, and Dr. Cees Straver, a physician, lawyer, and former head of the Netherlands Institute for Sexological Research.

A controversy arose in 1999 when these two conservators decided that they should destroy the archive's photos and personal histories in accordance with the recent Netherlands law on child pornography which Wafelbakker helped author. The executor of Brongersma's estate, University of Utrecht psychologist Lex van Naerssen, opposed the destruction and the two conservators stripped him of his authority. In August, Van Naerssen went to court to gain back his executorship and block any destruction, and he won a temporary stay.

Nevertheless, in mid two late 2001, the Dutch police raided the archive twice and carted away dozens of boxes of personal histories and photographs. The prosecutors announced that through the photographs and personal histories, they "had identified hundreds of men who had been involved--mostly years ago--in homosexual relationships with boys, and that they had evidence to launch some 40 prosecutions."[2]

In 2002 and 2003 an agreement was reached between the Brongersma Foundation and two other institutes which would keep what remained of the Foundation's collection on permanent loan and manage it. The personal histories with the accompanying visual material are now managed by the Netherlands Institute for Social Sexological Research (a division of the Rutgers Nisso Group) in Utrecht while the library and archives of the Foundation are managed by the International Institute of Social History (IISG) in Amsterdam.

The Fund for Scientific Research of Sexuality

Since 1998, the Brongersma Foundation operates as a fund for scientific research. Its main objectives are:

  • to obtain more insight into sexual development processes in relation to social, emotional, cognitive and physical development;
  • to contribute to sexual emancipation and sexual health;
  • to contribute to helping develop the capacity for relationships, an awareness of interaction and a sense of responsibility;
  • to support parents, guardians, educators, teachers, public relations officers and care and welfare workers by effectively channelling the knowledge gained from research;
  • to promote debate in circles of lawyers, sociologists, government officials and politicians on the social and legal frameworks that are needed for the developments named under the second and third points.[3]

In particular the Fund states that research should take into account that "experiences and influences that may have a positive as well as a negative effect. The difference in development between boys and girls is a central point of view, as are differences in culture, ideology and religious or secular view of the world."[4]

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