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Marie Jacobus Johannes Exler
(21 February 1882 - 21 September 1939) Holland

Marie Jacobus Johannes Exler

Writer, astrologer and farmer


Marie Jacobus Johannes ExlerExler was born in Schiedam, the third child of a Roman Catholic gin distiller. In Brussels, where his family lived after Exler's twelfth birthday, he neither finished his training as a priest nor his study in medicine. Starting a big project and not finishing it proved to be characteristic of Exler for the rest of his life.

After many wanderings, he settled in 1925 in the Dutch village of Hattem. There he started a not very successful career as a chicken farmer and astrologist. He died of hearth attack in an Amsterdam tram on his way to collect a small prize in the national lottery. Only 12 friends attended his funeral.

Exler has his place in the history of Dutch gay liberation for two achievements. In 1912 he was co-founder of the first gay and lesbian organization in Holland. The second is that he published a novel, Levensleed (Life's Sorrow, 1915), supporting the idea of homosexuality as a "third sex". The story has no aesthetic value whatsoever, but still is interesting as a period document. What is remarkable is the fact that Exleer did not use a pseudonym to publish his first and only novel.


Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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