“Continue telling as not to forget.” IHLIA began the Pink Life Stories project in 2012 together with the Osira Amstel group. Volunteers are trained to write down the life stories of older homosexuals.
Based on a number of meetings, the volunteers take the time to draw up the personal story of an older homosexual in a book form – supplemented with photos and other memorabilia. The story tellers ultimately decide themselves which parts of their life story will be included in the book. The story teller naturally gets a copy, as well as IHLIA and De Rietvinck, which include the book in their collection.
Individual and social struggle
It is very important to publish these life stories, because very few people are aware of the individual and social struggle carried out by older homosexuals, not to mention the feelings of these older homosexuals. In fact, there still is a group consisting of older gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders that feels vulnerable, isolated or lonely.
Although nowadays the acceptance of homosexuality has improved, don’t forget that these ‘pink’ elderly grew up under totally different circumstances. In a time when homosexuality was taboo and in a society that considered LGBTs to be sick or sinful. Each one of them had to find his/her own path without Internet or ways of searching for information.
The purpose of the project however is not only to tell these stories to current and future generations, but also to give the teller the opportunity – often for the first time – to tell his or her life story and to receive recognition for this. That is why the books are presented at various official gatherings and handed over to the story tellers.
By now, with the help of various subsidies and many volunteers, IHLIA has been able to create a beautiful book with 27 stories (only in Dutch).
Latest news about the Pink Life Stories
With a donation of the Dutch LGBT organization COC in 2015, it has been made possible to create another Pink Life Stories book. The project shall continue in 2016 with four writers and story tellers.
August 2014: It is our pleasure to announce that due to a private donation by Irene Hemelaar (director of Gay Pride Amsterdam) it is possible to create a new Pink Life Stories book.
She has donated a very generous sum to IHLIA for a new book, because “the Pink Life Stories project has compiled the unique stories of older LGBTs in a unique manner.” The experienced writer, Emma van Zalinge, shall record the next life stories. She has already written a book about Wil Merkies.