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Monday 22 December  
Arie Boomsma
Sebastiaan Gottlieb's picture
Hilversum, Netherlands
Hilversum, Netherlands

Dutch gays come out on TV

Published on : 11 January 2011 - 2:36pm | By Sebastiaan Gottlieb (screenshot: RNW)
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How do I tell my parents? Almost all young homosexual men and women wrestle with this problem. But in the first episode of the new Dutch TV show Uit de Kast (Out of the Closet) 20-year-old Theo tells his family that he is gay in front of the cameras. He reads out a letter at the dinner table explaining that he is attracted to men.

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"I've been struggling with this for years. I always knew there was something different about me, although I've never been able to accept it. But now the time has come to be honest with myself and with you. It's the only way I can try to have a happy life. What I have to tell you is that I'm attracted to men."

The cameras zoom in on the reactions to this bombshell. Theo's father clearly has the most trouble dealing with this revelation. It had never entered his head that his son might be homosexual. Theo's brother and sisters are less surprised. They already suspected that their brother preferred men.

Uit de Kast
's presenter Arie Boomsma says "I want to make programmes about contemporary issues and homosexuality is a major theme on the social agenda. Friends of mine say that even in Amsterdam they no longer dare to walk hand in hand. We need programmes that make people think, programmes with a personal approach to homosexuality."

So far, this 'out of the closet' show - made, perhaps surprisingly, by Dutch Roman Catholic broadcaster KRO - has been warmly welcomed by much of the country's gay community. Coming out is an important life experience for nearly all homosexuals. However, some have questioned young Theo's decision to have such an intimate and emotional moment televised. Apparently he chose to have the moment recorded live for television because it helped him make the decision.

Henk Krol, editor of Dutch bi-monthly magazine De Gay Krant, comments "I'm getting two kinds of reactions. People who found it touching and felt it strengthened their resolve to come out themselves. And people who say, is this really the right way, turning a private moment into a television show? But even they say the programme helped them go further. It's a difficult moment for all homosexuals. Straights never have to explain that they're straight. "

The Netherlands has always been in the forefront of gay emancipation. It was the first country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry - that was nearly ten years ago in April 2001. Krol believes this programme could play a similar role. He is convinced it will increase understanding for the situation faced by many young homosexuals.

"Don't forget that here in the Netherlands we have more and more people from other cultures who are gay. They are often in a much more difficult position. They are often accused of having been infected by some terrible western disease. There is still plenty of work to do."



Caroline Q. 12 January 2011 - 4:41pm / Netherlands

Episodes might also be available on (in Dutch):

I don't know if it allows viewing outside of the Netherlands but it's worth a try!

Duncan 12 January 2011 - 10:40am / Australia

It might help Theo's parents if he also gave them a copy of Onzichtbare Families: voor Ouders van Lesbiennes en Gays.

This book covers a lot of parent's issues and lets them know that it is OK to love their kids. Go to American Book Center: , etc , Facebook: Invisible Families

Tarigh Daniels 12 January 2011 - 6:31am / Qatar

Love the idea of this show,is there any channel on the internet where i can view the entire program?

Thank you

user avatar
Tim Fisher 12 January 2011 - 1:24pm

Hi Tarigh,

We think you probably won't be able to view the entire show, but here is the website (in Dutch) for this programme. 

It offers clips and a preview of the next show (currently number 2), but again, we can't be sure you'll be able to view any of this outside the Netherlands.

The same applies to the "Bekijk de laatste uitzending van... " option at the very bottom of this page. This means "Watch the latest broadcast of..." and Uit De Kast follows in the list of programmes.

Best wishes,

Tim Fisher - RNW internet

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