Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same gender.
- Some highly religious people are outraged that atheists would publicly declare their lack of faith. Accordingly many of the people who belong to atheist associations hide their beliefs from most others, knowing from experience it could affect their employment, membership in other clubs, and social connections. It reminds me of the reaction of many high RWAs when homosexuals began to come out: “Don’t these people know they’re supposed to be ashamed of what they are?” That in turn reminded me of the reaction of many White supremists to the civil rights movement: “Don’t these n------ know they’re inferior and should never be treated as our equals?” Fortunately, eventually, minorities can overcome these reactions.
- Bob Altemeyer, The Authoritarians (2006), p. 160
- Visible minorities. Along this same line, high RWAs misperceive how diverse America is. It’s quite natural to think, when you are in the white, Christian, heterosexual, solvent majority that this is a huge majority. Minorities should speak out for their rights. If they don’t, they are (among other things) helping a lot of the majority remain steeped in ignorance. People can learn, but they won’t have a chance if the minorities remain invisible. I know, I know, the high RWAs will howl whatever chorus their leaders dictate when minorities become “uppity”. But recall the evidence that nothing improves authoritarians’ attitudes toward homosexuals as much as getting to know a homosexual--or learning that they’ve known one for years.
- Bob Altemeyer, The Authoritarians (2006), p. 242
- On July 20, 2005, Canada legalized same-sex marriage. Homosexuals had already been getting legally married in most of the provinces for several years, so the federal law just established the right from sea to shining sea. By October 2006, about 12,500 same-sexed couples had gotten married. Getting the right acknowledged had been a struggle. Opponents attacked gay marriage primarily on two fronts: it would violate certain Biblical texts, and it would destroy the family. The first point is beyond dispute but unconvincing, I think, because everyone chooses which Biblical texts he'll follow and which he'll ignore. Numbers 15:32-36 says people who pick up sticks on the Sabbath should be executed, by stoning no less. But if you start chucking rocks at your neighbor next Sabbath as he mows his lawn, you'll probably get into a lot of trouble.
As for destroying the family, what's the evidence? And where's the outcry about divorce, a clear and present family wrecker, which Jesus most definitely condemned, which nevertheless happens quite commonly among religious opponents of same-sex marriage? Does same-sex marriage threaten the family, much less destroy it? Most of the homosexual couples in Canada who have wanted to get married have tied the knot in the past few years. And you know what? The traditional family is still sailing along (or floundering) exactly as before.
Divorce courts have not been swamped by homosexuals demanding to be set free from unhappy heterosexual unions so they can marry their true, same-sexed love. The few married homosexual couples who have adopted children have not been found to be raising a generation of "gays just like Mom and Mom." Heterosexual lovers still buy virtually all of the marriage certificates at the courthouse, and heterosexual ex-lovers still fill the dockets down the hall in the divorce court.
In short, the biggest threat to traditional marriage and the mom & dad family has not been posed by homosexual marriage but, overwhelmingly, by unhappy heterosexuals. So what's all the fuss about? How big a problem can this possibly be?
- Bob Altemeyer, Sex and Youth: A Twenty-Four Year Investigation (2009), p. 207-208
- Increasingly, people say "Who cares?" Yes, gays can still run into a brick wall, even in California, when it comes to getting married. But I've been studying attitudes toward homosexuals since 1984, and my investigations show the same thing that national polls do: attitudes toward homosexuality have become markedly less negative in a short time. For example, when I began my studies most students, and their parents, agreed with the statement, "I won't associate with known homosexuals if I can help it." Now, most students and parents say they don't at all mind associating with homosexuals. Brick walls can crumble.
- Bob Altemeyer, Sex and Youth: A Twenty-Four Year Investigation (2009), p. 208
- I'm not saying that people shouldn't be able to get a divorce. I'm saying that there's a teensy-weensy bit of hypocrisy in a group opposing gay marriage on religious and "save the family" grounds when one-fifth to one-third of its members have themselves been divorced.
- Bob Altemeyer, Sex and Youth: A Twenty-Four Year Investigation (2009), p. 217
- You can see the double standard regarding homosexuality very vividly in most heterosexual "skin magazines," which will often have two, three, or more fetching young ladies hugging or kissing together in the altogether. But there are no similar layouts featuring (Lord help us!) guys in men's magazines. (At least that was true the last time I looked at them- strictly in the interest of science, you understand- some years ago.) Maybe men are so tolerant of lesbian activity partly because they'd like to join in, too.
- Bob Altemeyer, Sex and Youth: A Twenty-Four Year Investigation (2009), p. 218
- Ye lads of grace and sprung from worthy stock
Grudge not to brave men converse with your beauty
In cities of Chalcis, Love, looser of limbs
Thrives side by side with courage.
- Aristotle, Eroticus fr. 98 Rose (= Plutarch, Amatorius 760f), quoted at Cantarella p. 71 and Crompton p. 10 from the translation of F.C. Babbit, Plutarch: Moralia, vol. 9. Loeb Classical Library no. 425 (London, repr. 1961) p. 377.
- You know how I know you're gay? 'cause you're gay and you can tell who other gay people are.
- Judd Apatow and Steve Carrell, The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
- You know how I know you're gay? You like Coldplay.
- Judd Apatow and Steve Carrell, The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
- If it be sin to love a lovely lad
- Oh there sin I.
- Richard Barnfield, "The Affectionate Shepherd".
- Pre-World War II prejudices against homosexuals are hard to summarize, because scholars disagree as to when the category of "homosexual" even became recognizable in Europe. It seems evident that in antiquity certain forms of intimacy between people of the same sex did not carry a stigma or preclude sexual relations with members of the opposite se. By the modern era, however, much of this flexibility was gone, although the supposedly prudish society of Victorian England showed considerable tolerance for at least some kinds of same-sex intimacies. For example, many people considered sexual experimentation among boys in boarding schools to be a normal part of development; loving relationships between women who often became lifelong companions were not uncommon either. Nevertheless, by the late nineteenth century many parts of Europe had introduced laws against homosexuality. The German criminal code of 1871 explicitly forbade sexual relations between men. The state prosecuted some cases, and public interest in such "scandals" ran high. For example, it was an enormous sensation when prince Eulenberg, a member of the inner circle of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II (1888-1918), was charged with homosexual activities and forced from public life. Somewhat paradoxically, an increased openness around the subject of human sexuality in the decades after World War I served to make homosexual men and women more visible in Europe and to increase the panic some heterosexuals felt about them.
- Doris L. Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2016), Third Edition, p. 33
- Political changes in Germany after World War I made it possible for the first time for Berlin to develop a gay scene that included clubs, restaurants, and bathhouses frequented by homosexual men. Lesbians, it seems, tended to attract less public attention, although there were also some clubs popular with homosexual women. Laws against sex between men were still on the books in Germany's first democracy, the Weimar Republic, but enforcement was slacker than it had been before World War I, especially in major cities. Many heterosexual Germans, however, disapproved of what they considered their overly permissive society. Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935), a sex reformer and homosexual rights leader in Berlin, made an international reputation for his research in sexology, the new field of studies of sex and sexuality. Hirschfeld regarded homosexuality as the "third sex," a natural and legitimate variant between masculine and feminine. Homosexuals, he pointed out, looked and behaved normally and should be treated accordingly. For many people the work of researchers and activists such as Hirschfeld offered new possibilities for human freedom. For others it seemed to represent the decadence of a society that had abandoned its traditional values. Hitler's Nazis capitalized on such fears as well; they forced Hirschfeld out of Germany, and his research institute was one of the first casualties of the new regime.
- Doris L. Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2016), Third Edition, p. 33-34
- In Mein Kampf Hitler had made it clear that he planned to "deal with" the Jews. He started his social revolution, however, with attacks on a group that was even less likely to receive public support: homosexual men. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Berlin and other major German cities had become centers of a small but vibrant gay culture. Even before the Nazis came to power, police had sometimes harassed men known or suspected to be homosexual; many Germans regarded homosexuality as deviant and decadent and urged their government to crack down by imposing what they considered moral and sexual order. Since 1871, Paragraph 175 of the German criminal code had outlawed sexual relations between men: "A male who indulges in criminally indecent activities with another male or who allows himself to participate in such activities will be punished with jail." The prohibition did not mention sexual acts between women. Hitler built on this law in early 1933 to ban homosexual rights organizations in Germany. According to National Socialist teachings, homosexuals were an abomination because they opted out of the reproduction of the so-called Aryan master race. Moreover, according to Himmler and others, homosexual men in public positions of any kind were dangerous because they were always vulnerable to blackmail.
- Doris L. Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2016), Third Edition, p. 73
- It was also politically expedient for Hitler's new government to lash out against gay culture, because opponents of Nazism charged the movement, in particular the Stormtroopers and SS, with fostering and glamorizing intimate relations between men. Communist and Socialist enemies of Nazism had been known to mock those obsessively male organizations as stomping grounds for deviants, and some conservative and Christian critics leveled the same accusations. Antagonistic Nazis focused on gay men; they seemed for the most part not to see lesbian or bisexual women as posing a particular threat, because women did not exercise public power by serving in the military or at high ranks of the bureaucracy. In any case women, some Nazi activists presumed, could always be forced to bear children for the German Volk, regardless of their own sexual orientation. Nevertheless, in individual cases lesbians were persecuted as so-called asocial elements. Leadership from above prompted initiatives by people acting out their own hostilities. In 1933, Nazi Stormtroopers and other thugs raided gay bars and clubs in German cities and forced many of them to close. A few managed to remain open longer- some intermittently until the end of World War II- but under constant threat of raids and violence. In May 1933, a group of Nazi students stormed and destroyed the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin. Its director was the gay rights activist Magnus Hirschfeld, whom his opponents also vilified because he was Jewish. For the most part the German public was indifferent or cheered such offensives.
- Doris L. Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2016), Third Edition, p. 73-74
- Die Freundschaft zwischen Geschlechtsgleichen bekommt einen erotischen Ton, der ins Bewusstsein tritt, and der sich auch mitunter bis zur Begierde steigert. Hier begann für die altere Medizin die Pathologie, wie für die ältere Juristik die Kriminalität, ohne dass in dem natürlichen Verhalten irgend ein Grund für einen von beiden gegeben wäre.
- Friendship between those of the same sex attains an erotic tone, which comes into consciousness, and which also occasionally increases to the point of desire. Here, for older medicine, was where pathology began, for older jurisprudence, where criminality began, without providing any reason for either.
- Imagine seeing an attractive girl in the hallway who's in one of your classes, but who you've never really had the chance to talk with. Somehow, you get into a conversation with her. She seems nice, and you like her, and she's laughing and you're starting to get hopeful. Then a couple of football players come around the corner and say, "Hey, what the hell are you talking to her for, faggot? Do you actually think you have a chance with her?" And then they pick you up and push you into a locker, and you look like a pathetic weakling in front of the girl you were trying so hard to impress. Such things were commonplace at Columbine. If a guy was acting in the Columbine drama program, he was immediately labeled a "drama fag." Not only was he not playing sports- which was what all normal guys were supposed to do at Columbine- but he was into that fine arts crap! The bullies found whatever weakness they could and went after it. I was a wuss because I wasn't in sports. I was gay because I liked theatre. Then when I was in debate, it was like, "Ooh, you must be smart, huh huh huh." Apparently, they thought calling someone "smart" was an insult.
- Brooks Brown, No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death At Columbine (2006) with Rob Merritt, 2nd edition, p. 61
- The reason for most violence against gays is that heterosexual men are forced to prove that they, themselves, are not gay. It goes like this: Men in strong male subcultures like the police, the military, and sports (and a few other cesspools) bond very strongly. Hunting, fishing, and golfing friendships also produce this unnatural bonding. These guys bond and bond, and get closer and closer, until finally they're just drunk enough to say, "You know, I really love these guys." And that frightens them. So they must quickly add, "But I'm not a queer!" See the dilemma? Now they have to go out of their way to prove to the world, to their buddies, and to themselves that they don't harbor homoerotic feelings. And it's only a short step from "I'm not a queer" to "In fact, I hate queers!" And another short step to "Let's go kill some queers!" And what they really seek to kill is not the queer outside, it's the queer inside they fear.
- Yet of old the matter seemed even to be a law, and a certain law-giver among them bade the domestic slaves neither to use ointments when dry (i.e. except in bathing) nor to keep youths, giving the free this place of honor, or rather of shamefulness. Yet they, however, did not think the thing shameful, but as being a grand privilege, and one too great for slaves, the Athenian people, the wisest of people, and Solon who is so great among them, permitted it to the free alone. And sundry other books of the philosophers may one see full of this disease. But we do not therefore say that the thing was made lawful, but that they who received this law were pitiable, and objects for many tears. For these are treated in the same way as women that play the whore. Or rather their plight is more miserable. For in the case of the one the intercourse, even if lawless, is yet according to nature: but this is contrary both to law and nature. For even if there were no hell, and no punishment had been threatened, this were worse than any punishment. Yet if you say they found pleasure in it, you tell me what adds to the vengeance. For suppose I were to see a person running naked, with his body all besmeared with mire, and yet not covering himself, but exulting in it, I should not rejoice with him, but should rather bewail that he did not even perceive that he was doing shamefully.
- John Chrysostom, Homily on Romans IV
- Gay rights are human rights.
- Hillary Clinton, quoted in The Week, 10 December 2011, p. 10
- Some people haven't figured it out yet. When it comes to sex, all women are gay. Some men are holdouts.
- Betty Dodson as quoted in "The Exercise Must Be Free", Jerry Talmer, GayCityNews, October 30, 2008 Archived December 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- A purple robe he wore, o'erwrought with gold
- With the device of a great snake, whose breath
- Was a fiery flame: which when I did behold
- I fell a-weeping and I cried, "Sweet youth,
- Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove
- These pleasant realms? I pray thee speak me sooth
- What is thy name?" He said, "My name is Love."
- Then straight the first did turn himself to me
- And cried, "He lieth, for his name is Shame,
- But I am Love, and I was wont to be
- Alone in this fair garden, till he came
- Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
- The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame."
- Then sighing said the other, "Have thy will,
- I am the Love that dare not speak its name."
- There can be little doubt that, as far as they thought of the matter at all, Marx and Engels were personally homophobic, as shown by an acerbic 1869 exchange of letters on Jean-Baptiste von Schweitzer, a German socialist rival. Schweitzer had been arrested in a park on a morals charge and not only did Marx and Engels refuse to join a committee defending him, they resorted to the cheapest form of bathroom humor in their private comments about the affair.
- Wayne R. Dynes, Encyclopedia of Homosexuality - Marxism
- As early as the 1920s leaders of Western Communist parties began to float the idea that the public discussion of homosexuality, and the seeming increase in homosexual activity, resulted from the decadence of capitalism in its death throes. Homosexuality was to disappear in the healthy new society of the future.
- Wayne R. Dynes, Encyclopedia of Homosexuality - Marxism
- America is a different country now, a dozen years on from what Frank Rich described in 1999 as "[t]he homophobic epidemic of '98, which spiked with the October murder of Matthew Shepard." After a decade of legislative fighting, federal hate crimes legislation was finally extended to protect gay people in 2009. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed as a rider to the National Defense Reauthorization Act and was signed into law by President Obama during his first year in office.
The president has done an "It Gets Better" video; so too have the White House staff and some leading Democrats in the United States Senate. Gay marriage is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia; "Don't ask, don't tell" has been overturned; America has elected its first openly lesbian U.S. Senator -- and from the Midwest! -- and even the president backs same-sex marriage rights.
America is a different country now. But the "Stone Age," as Jodi Foster has called it, in which gay people were seen as perverts justifiably targeted for violence or invective, is a none too distant a memory, and in too many quarters it is still extremely difficult for people -- especially very young people -- to be out and gay without experiencing severe social, physical, or economic repercussions (as the documentary Bully showed this past year, in case any one had any doubt).
Today, according to Washington Post-ABC News polling, 58 percent support gay marriage, up from 41 percent in 2004, while opposition has dropped from 55 to 36 percent. A March CNN/ORC International survey puts the jump as an increase from 40 to 56 percent support from 2007 through 2013.
- Garance Franke-Ruta, How America Got Past the Anti-Gay Politics of the '90s, The Atlantic, 8 April 2013
- And so the question arises: How does America address its homophobic past as it moves forward into a more tolerant future? If American views on gays have changed -- and they have, with shocking rapidity -- that means there are a lot of people in this country who used to hold more deeply anti-gay views than they do today, and who may be ashamed of what they once thought and said in what now seems a distant and unenlightened era. Two thirds of the change in views on gay marriage comes from "individuals' modifying their views over time" and only "one-third was due to a cohort succession effect, or later cohorts replacing earlier ones," according to sociologist Dawn Michelle Baunach, who looked into the issue in a 2011 Social Science Quarterly piece. Most such people have had the privilege of a private life, where their participation in an ugly ideology that diminished and damaged gay people is something they speak of only in conversation with friends, or recall within the inmost sanctuary of their own thoughts. But some people have been living public lives a long time, and have left a very public paper trail of their expressions of discomfort and distaste. What is the proper response to the discovery of such information?
How do we as a society react when people openly change their views in public on gays, and on same-sex marriage?
And are we finally ready to get beyond the politics of the mid-1990s?
- Garance Franke-Ruta, How America Got Past the Anti-Gay Politics of the '90s, The Atlantic, 8 April 2013
- What's happening now is a wholesale repudiation of the 1990s move to eject gay people from the American family, writ large. The reason for DOMA was anti-gay animus by a group of men who showed their respect for marriage by divorcing multiple times and having affairs. The reason to undo DOMA is a rejection of that animus, and the growing recognition there is no way to argue against same-sex marriage that is not ultimately an argument for the moral inferiority of gay people. As of Friday, only four Democrats in the U.S. Senate had not come out in favor of gay marriage.
"I have concluded the federal government should no longer discriminate against people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other or interfere in personal, private, and intimate relationships," Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said. "I view the ability of anyone to marry as a logical extension of this belief."
The reason to not support gay marriage is the lingering sense that there's something strange or not right about it. That it's fine for gay people to do what they want in privacy, but that their relationships are not the same as straight ones. Not as powerful, not as loving, not as legitimate.
"[T]his is the inevitable extension of my efforts to promote equality and opportunity for everyone," said Sen. Mark Warner in announcing his new views. "[A]s many of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality," observed Senator Claire McCaskill in a Tumblr post.
- The 1990s are over. Newt Gingrich, who stepped down as House Speaker after the Republicans performed poorly at the polls in 1998, in 2012 lost his comeback bid and the Republican presidential primary. Former representative Bob Barr, the sponsor of DOMA in 1996, in 2009 recanted his support for the bill and said gays should be allowed to marry. Bill Clinton -- who signed it the bill with a statement saying "I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages" -- has too.
But if that moment of moralism in the mid-90s deserves to be remembered, it's for the lesson that the American people, when they stop being upset about an issue, really let it go. Clinton was impeached over his infidelity, but he hung on to office and became one of the most beloved ex-presidents ever. His party even won seats in the House and Senate the same year his scandal dominated the news, as the public defied political predictions and turned against the moralists instead of the man they accused.
As the drumbeat of shifting views of gay marriage continues, each voice affirms gay people as part of the American family, and each senator freshly legitimizes gay Americans as he or she repudiates past views or clarifies new ones. Whatever happens with the Supreme Court, this moment of change and affirmation -- this moment of public evolution -- is having a power all its own.
- Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness.
- Sigmund Freud, letter to an American mother's plea to cure her son's homosexuality, April 9th. 1935. quoted in Vernon A. Rosario, Homosexuality and Science: A Guide to the Debates, ABC-CLIO, 2002. Also quoted in David A. J. Richards, Sex, Drugs, Death, and the Law: An Essay on Human Rights and Overcriminalization. Rowman & Littlefield, 1986 (p. 72).
- At the same time that we teach empathy to the bullies, we need to stop sending the victims the message that their own behavior or traits are bringing on the attacks. This requires a fundamental change in the way adults view bullying. A child is not bullied because he is gay or autistic or overweight. A child is bullied because a bully has decided that the target is unacceptably different and less worthy of respect. We must teach the targets how to cognitively frame the bullying so that they do not think the abuse is their fault or something they deserve. Groundbreaking new research by Stan Davis and Charisse Nixon has shown that when a victim learns to think about the bullying in new ways- "This bullying is not happening because I am overweight. It is happening because the bully is choosing to act in a mean and hateful way, and that is his fault, not mine"- then the effects of the mistreatment are greatly diminished. Davis and Nixon's research also shows that many bullied kids find relief when they tell an adult or peer, but many are reluctant to do so.
- Carrie Goldman, Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear (2012) p. 270-271
- We say that homosexuality is a perfectly natural state, a fact, a way of life, and that we enjoy our sexuality, without feelings of inferiority or guilt. We seek and find love, and approach love, as a feeling of loving mutuality.
- Harry Hay, Statement of Purpose: Gay Liberation Front (Dec. 1969)
- …I knew that I was gay in every bone of my body. So I did the only thing I could do. I started the movement.
- Harry Hay, on living a closeted married life in “Meet Pioneer of Gay Rights, Harry Hay” in The Progressive (2016 Aug 9)
- We do not even know-though we theorise and penalise with ferocious confidence-whether the "normal" sexual relationship is homo-, bi-, or hetero-sexual.
- Winifred Holtby, Women and A Changing Civilisation, London, John Lane (1934) Quoted in Marion Shaw,The Clear Stream : A Life of Winifred Holtby. London : Virago, 1999 (p.60). Also quoted in Jane Garrity, Step-daughters of England: British Women Modernists and the National Imaginary, Manchester University Press, 2003 (p.79).
- The Memorial was published on February 17, 1932. . . . I remember how one reviewer remarked that he had at first thought the novel contained a disproportionally large number of homosexual characters but had decided, on further reflection, that there were a lot more homosexuals about, nowadays.
- Christopher Isherwood, Christopher and His Kind (1976)
- Gay: A sexual or affectional preference a self-identified man has for other men; as with lesbians, sometimes this identity is held regardless of gender identification.
- Michael Kimmel and The Stony Book Sexualities Research Group (editors), Sexualities: Identities, Behaviors, and Society (2004), 2nd Edition (2015), p. 681
- In the eyes of Castro and his revolutionary comrade Che Guevara — who frequently referred to gay men as maricones, “faggots” — homosexuality was inherently counterrevolutionary, a bourgeois decadence.
- Fidel Castro's Horrific Record on Gay Rights, James Kirchick, 27 November 2016, The Daily Beast
- After two decades of building socialism in the USSR there is no reason for anybody to be a homosexual.
- Nikolai Krylenko, on the law re-criminalizing homosexuality in 1936. Quoted in David Tuller, Cracks in the Iron Closet: Travels in Gay and Lesbian Russia, University of Chicago Press, 1996
- Ballet is the fairies' baseball.
- For educators with a conservative agenda, teaching that sex means heterosexual intercourse is part of the point. For straight unmarried boys and girls, according to them, anything more than holding hands is treacherous and sinful; homosexuality is beyond consideration.
- Judith Levine, Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex (2002), p. 130
- ...love is not enough... truth is also important... Good feelings cannot deliver the homosexual from the judgement of God. If he does not repent, he is doomed, but he is not alone. So are all other unrepentant sinners. God is no respecter of persons; He is also no respecter of one's sexual appetites. Hell will be partially populated by 'caring, honest, whole persons' who are proud they are gay.
- While largely clandestine owing to laws prohibiting 'indecency' in public (the artist Simeon Solomon was one of those so prosecuted), private male homosexual acts were not explicitly and severely legislated against until 1885, when gay sex behind closed doors was made a criminal offence. This led, most notoriously, to the imprisonment in 1896 of Oscar Wilde, playwright and poseur.
Reasons for the emergence of a distinctly gay subculture within 1890s' Decadence movement include the promotion of 'Greek' or Platonic relationships by some university dons; the extended bachelorhood that resulted from prescriptions of financial prudence and sexual continence; and a counter-cultural defiance of orthodox moral teaching, which gave added allure to the forbidden and deviant. The supremely Decadent drawings of Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98) vividly evoke the atmosphere of this moment.
At the very end of the century, questions of sexual identity were also subject to speculative and would-be scientific investigation, dubbed sexology (1902). Writers such as Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) attempted a detailed classification of 'normal' and 'perverse' sexual practices. This led to the identification of a 'third' or 'intermediate' sex, for which Ellis used the term 'sexual inversion'. Writer and social reformer Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), who lived with a younger male partner, adapted the word 'Uranian' (1899) to denote male and female homosexuality, and around the same time, Lesbian and Sapphic came into use as terms for female relationships. Apocryphally, these were also due to be criminalised in the 1885 legislation, until Queen Victoria declared them impossible, whereupon the clause was omitted - a joke that serves to underline a common, and commonly welcomed, ignorance, at a time when lurid, fictionalised lesbianism was often figured as an especially repulsive/seductive French vice.
- Jan Marsh, “Sex & Sexuality in the 19th Century”, “Victoria and Albert Museum”, (2016)
- Men usually remain unmarried for three reasons: either because they cannot afford to marry or there are no girls to marry (neither of these factors need have deterred Jesus); or because it is inexpedient for them to marry in the light of their vocation (we have already ruled this out during the ‘hidden years’ of Jesus' life); or because they are homosexual in nature, in as much as women hold no special attraction for them. The homosexual explanation is one which me must not ignore. ... All the synoptic gospels show Jesus in close relationship with the ‘outsiders’ and the unloved. Publicans and sinners, prostitutes and criminals are among his acquaintances and companions. If Jesus were homosexual in nature (and this is the true explanation of his celibate state) then this would be further evidence of God's self-identification with those who are unacceptable to the upholders of ‘The Establishment’ and social conventions.
- Hugh Montefiore (Bishop of Kingston from 1970 to 1978 and Bishop of Birmingham from 1977 to 1987), “Jesus, the Revelation of God,” in Christ for Us Today: Papers read at the Conference of Modern Churchmen, Somerville College, Oxford, July 1967, edited by Norman Pittenger (SCM Press, London: 1968), pp. 109-110.
- There is probably no more powerful source of stigma for an adolescent boy than being labeled gay. The risk to a boy's reputation is immeasurable, and his place on the social ladder is utterly compromised if even a smidgeon of it sticks.
- Katherine S. Newman, Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings (2004), p. 145
- The power of this epithet has grown so much that it now covers a much wider range of behavior than the purely sexual reference that it connoted in the past. The term "gay" is now used as a slang term for any form of social or athletic incompetence. Students routinely say to one another "that's gay" when they are talking about a wide array of mistakes or social failures. If someone fails to make the right move on a soccer field or drops a lunch tray in the cafeteria, the kid behind him is quite likely to say, "That's really gay." Why? one fifteen-year-old girl provided an explanation: "Boys have a fascination with not being gay. They want to be manly, and put each other down by saying 'that's gay.'" Thus for boys, the struggle for status is in large part competition for the rank of alpha male, and any loss one boy can inflict on another opens up a new rung on the ladder that he might move into.
- Katherine S. Newman, Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings (2004), p. 145-146
- I grew up in Sydney, Australia. There was this boy at my school. I liked him and wanted to try sex but he was like, "No. You're just going to make me say "yes" and then you're going to make fun of me at school," because I was a jock and he was the gay boy at school who everyone picked on. We both liked music. That was our connection. So we used to go on friend dates to see like Cheap Trick, or The Knack or whatever. Then I'd drag him to punk clubs to see The Ramones. He used to cry because that the punk shows were so loud. He was more of a disco boy. One night we went and saw the movie Flash Gordon. Kind of a homoerotic movie. I thought it was horrible but I could see it was working on him. In the movie, Flash Gordon was a quarterback on an American football team and I played rugby which, I guess, got him excited. I can credit that movie and the music of Queen with getting me laid at 14. Rather young but I was pushy and he was cute, so it had to happen. We went back to his place and had sex in the shower. We dated for a long time after that.
- Niles, as quoted in How to Lose Your Virginity (and how not to): Shocking, Humorous, Dangerous, Sweet & Scandelous Stories of the First Time by Shawn Wickens
- ...he would prefer to die many deaths: while as for leaving the one he loves in a lurch, or not succoring him in peril, no man is such a craven that the influence of Love cannot inspire him with a courage that makes him equal to the bravest born.
- Phaedrus in Plato, Symposium 178e–179a.
- Homer's Nestor was not well skilled in ordering an army when he advised the Greeks to rank tribe and tribe ... he should have joined lovers and their beloved. For men of the same tribe little value one another when dangers press; but a band cemented by friendship grounded upon love is never to be broken.
- Plutarch, Pelopidas 18.2; discussed by K.J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (Harvard University Press, 1978, 1989), p. 192, and Louis Crompton, Homosexuality and Civilization (Harvard University Press, 2003), p. 74.
- On December 6th, 1998, a kiss between two guys was aired on primetime television in North America for the very first time. 24 years later, the show it aired on is seeing a resurgence, but the gay character involved in this historic first is nowhere to be found. Where exactly did he go?
In the eleventh episode of That ’70s Show‘s debut season, Point Place High welcomed a new student, Buddy Morgan, played by 3rd Rock From the Sun star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This cameo saw the star playing a popular, cool, well-off student who gets assigned as main character Eric’s lab partner.
The two make fast friends, to the point of Eric neglecting his main friend group just to be around Buddy. Meanwhile, Buddy has spent the whole time developing a massive crush on his new pal. This culminates in a scene where Eric is venting about his “confusing” relationship with his main love interest Donna — venting that Buddy cuts off halfway through with a kiss.
Buddy was allegedly planned to have a recurring part, but the character vanished without a trace following mixed reception from viewers. Reactions supposedly ranged from the typical overt homophobia to discomfort with Eric’s reaction to this kiss, as well as some feeling that the character’s queerness was played for laughs.
What they seem to have failed to consider is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cute little face. A shocking oversight, but not everyone has taste.
- Queerty, Looking back on the historic gay 'That 70s Show' storyline that should've been, 3 December 2022
- This landmark moment could’ve easily gone on to live in the “This was my Heartstopper” canon, but instead was pushed by the wayside after one brief introduction. Even as the episode ends with the two hoping to stay friends, Gordon-Levitt was instead written off the show.
The series didn’t see another gay character until a pair of neighbors eight seasons later, and even Jeff and Josh were mostly comic relief characters meant to make Eric’s straight-laced father Red uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, upcoming sequel series That ’90s Show has already announced a gay character as part of the main friend group. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar‘s Reyn Doi plays Ozzie, a series regular described as “insightful and sarcastic” as well as “impatient with the world for not being as accepting as his friends.”
We don’t see any reason why the new series couldn’t feature a JGL/Topher Grace reunion and maybe ret-con a few things. After all, Gordon-Levitt holds decades later that Grace was a “good dude to kiss“.
Now excuse us while we go cry for what should’ve been.
- Queerty, Looking back on the historic gay 'That 70s Show' storyline that should've been, 3 December 2022
- I came out as gay to Scarlett first moment alone when she was recovering at the hospital. "I love you, Val" was all Scarlett said out loud, and her knowing gaze said everything else. I'd wanted to come out to my parents that afternoon too, but they spent so much time praying at my sister's bedside that I knew I should wait. A couple days after Scarlett was home, I knew I had to make my move so I could get everyone to adjust to our new normal instead of returning to our old normal, where I had to be closeted. I sat my parents down in the living room and came right out with false confidence. It was tricky to tell if they already knew. I had thought about all the times my father would say "He's a queer" as an insult or how my mother suspected any single older man must be gay if they weren't married with kids. There weren't any knowing gazes from my parents like there were with my sister. But there were lectures- lots and lots of lectures with the headline being that I'm doomed to damnation if I choose sinning over Christ. Will my parents still tell me I'm going to Hell once they discover it's my End Day? I'll get my answer soon.
- Adam Silvera, The First To Die At The End (2022). New York: Quill Tree Books, p. 452-453. From the POV of character Valentino Prince.
- In English-speaking countries, the connection between heresy and homosexuality is expressed through the use of a single word to denote both concepts: buggery. ... Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (Third Edition) defines “buggery” as “heresy, sodomy.”
- Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (1997), p. 165
- Until my dying day I will look back with pride that I found the courage to come face to face in battle against the spectre which for time immemorial has been injecting poison into me and into men of my nature. Many have been driven to suicide because all their happiness in life was tainted. Indeed, I am proud that I found the courage to deal the initial blow to the hydra of public contempt.
- Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, as quoted in Keith Stern (2013), Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals. p. 460
- Biological determinism works as a phenomenon that normalizes same-sex desire while leaving heterosexism in place and disenfranchising certain queer people from fully participating in an accurate articulation of their experiences in political and popular discourse.
- Shannon Weber, What's Wrong With Becoming Queer Biological Determinism as Discursive Queer Hegemony, as quoted in Ages of the X-Men: Essays on the Children of the Atom in Changing Times, "Mutating Metaphors: Addressing the Limits of Biological Narratives of Sexuality" by Christian Norman, p.170
- They sleep with their loved ones, yet stations them next to themselves in battle ... with them (Eleians, Thebans) it's a custom, with us a disgrace ... placing your loved one next to you seems to be a sign of distrust ... The Spartans ... make our loved ones such models of perfection that even if stationed with foreigners rather than with their lovers they are ashamed to desert their companion.
- Citizens with this kind of homosexual inclination, who renounce women and can do without them willingly because they love one another, get married together, bound by a deep and trusting friendship.
- Yashodhara, Jayamangala (twelfth-century commentary on the Kama Sutra), in Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex (2010), p. 22
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948)
Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell R. Pomeroy, and Clyde E. Martin; “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male”, Philadelphia Pa: W.B. Saunders: 1948: 610-666; asquoted in Am J Public Health. 2003 June; 93(6): 894–898
- [A] CONSIDERABLE PORTION OF THE population, perhaps the major portion of the male population, has at least some homosexual experience between adolescence and old age. In addition, about 60 per cent of the pre-adolescent boys engage in homosexual activities, and there is an additional group of adult males who avoid overt contacts but who are quite aware of their potentialities for reacting to other males.
The social significance of the homosexual is considerably emphasized by the fact that both Jewish and Christian churches have considered this aspect of human sexuality to be abnormal and immoral. Social custom and our AngloAmerican law are sometimes very severe in penalizing one who is discovered to have had homosexual relations. . . .
It is, therefore, peculiarly difficult to secure factual data concerning the nature and the extent of the homosexual in Western European or American cultures, and even more difficult to find strictly objective presentations of such data as are available. . . .
Until the extent of any type of human behavior is adequately known, it is difficult to assess its significance, either to the individuals who are involved or to society as a whole; and until the extent of the homosexual is known, it is practically impossible to understand its biologic or social origins. It is one thing if we are dealing with a type of activity that is unusual, without precedent among other animals, and restricted to peculiar types of individuals within the human population. It is another thing if the phenomenon proves to be a fundamental part, not only of human sexuality, but of mammalian patterns as a whole.
- For nearly a century the term homosexual in connection with human behavior has been applied to sexual relations, either overt or psychic, between individuals of the same sex. Derived from the Greek root homo rather than from the Latin word for man, the term emphasizes the sameness of the two individuals who are involved in a sexual relation. The word is, of course, patterned after and intended to represent the antithesis of the word heterosexual, which applies to a relation between individuals of different sexes. . . .
It is amazing to observe how many psychologists and psychiatrists have . . . come to believe that homosexual males and females are discretely different from persons who merely have homosexual experience, or who react sometimes to homosexual stimuli. Sometimes such an interpretation allows for only two kinds of males and two kinds of females, namely those who are heterosexual and those who are homosexual. But as subsequent data . . . will show, there is only about half of the male population whose sexual behavior is exclusively heterosexual, and there are a few percent who are exclusively homosexual. Any restriction of the term homosexuality to individuals who are exclusively so demands, logically, that the term heterosexual be applied only to those individuals who are exclusively heterosexual; and this makes no allowance for the nearly half of the population which has had sexual contacts with, or reacted psychically to, individuals of their own as well as of the opposite sex. Actually, of course, one must learn to recognize every combination of heterosexuality and homosexuality in the histories of various individuals.
It would encourage clearer thinking on these matters if persons were not characterized as heterosexual or homosexual, but as individuals who have had certain amounts of heterosexual experience and certain amounts of homosexual experience. Instead of using these terms as substantives which stand for persons, or even as adjectives to describe persons, they may better be used to describe the nature of the overt sexual relations, or of the stimuli to which an individual erotically responds.
- The statistics given throughout this volume on the incidence of homosexual activity, and the statistics to be given in the present section of this chapter, are based on those persons who have had physical contacts with other males, and who were brought to orgasm as a result of such contacts. By any strict definition such contacts are homosexual, irrespective of the extent of the psychic stimulation involved, of the techniques employed, or of the relative importance of the homosexual and the heterosexual in the history of such an individual. These are not data on the number of persons who are “homosexual,” but on the number of persons who have had at least some homosexual experience. . . .
In these terms (of physical contact to the point of orgasm), the data in the present study indicate that at least 37 percent of the male population has some homosexual experience between the beginning of adolescence and old age. This is more than one male in three of the persons that one may meet as he passes along a city street. Among the males who remain unmarried until the age of 35, almost exactly 50 per cent have homosexual experience between the beginning of adolescence and that age. . . . These figures are, of course, considerably higher than any which have previously been estimated. . . .
We ourselves were totally unprepared to find such incidence data when this research was originally undertaken. Over a period of several years we were repeatedly assailed with doubts as to whether we were getting a fair cross section of the total population or whether a selection of cases was biasing the results. It has been our experience, however, that each new group into which we have gone has provided substantially the same data. Whether the histories were taken in one large city or another, whether they were taken in large cities, in small towns, or in rural areas, whether they came from one college or from another, a church school or a state university or some private institution, whether they came from one part of the country or from another, the incidence data on the homosexual have been more or less the same. . . .
- Concerning patterns of sexual behavior, a great deal of the thinking done by scientists and laymen alike stems from the assumption that there are persons who are “heterosexual” and persons who are “homosexual,” that these two types represent antitheses in the sexual world, and that there is only an insignificant class of “bisexuals” who occupy an intermediate position between the other groups. It is implied that every individual is innately—inherently—either heterosexual or homosexual. It is further implied that from the time of birth one is fated to be one thing or the other, and that there is little chance for one to change his pattern in the course of a lifetime.
It is quite generally believed that one’s preference for a sexual partner of one or the other sex is correlated with various physical and mental qualities, and with the total personality which makes a homosexual male or female physically, psychically, and perhaps spiritually distinct from a heterosexual individual. It is generally thought that these qualities make a homosexual person obvious and recognizable to any one who has a sufficient understanding of such matters. Even psychiatrists discuss “the homosexual personality” and many of them believe that preferences for sexual partners of a particular sex are merely secondary manifestations of something that lies much deeper in the totality of that intangible which they call the personality. . . .
- The histories which have been available in the present study make it apparent that the heterosexuality or homosexuality of many individuals is not an all-or-none proposition. It is true that there are persons in the population whose histories are exclusively heterosexual, both in regard to their overt experience and in regard to their psychic reactions. And there are individuals in the population whose histories are exclusively homosexual, both in experience and in psychic reactions. But the record also shows that there is a considerable portion of the population whose members have combined, within their individual histories, both homosexual and heterosexual experience and/or psychic responses. There are some whose heterosexual experiences predominate, there are some whose homosexual experiences predominate, there are some who have had quite equal amounts of both types of experience. . . .
Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning human sexual behavior the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex. . . .
- In view of the data which we now have on the incidence and frequency of the homosexual, and in particular on its co-existence with the heterosexual in the lives of a considerable portion of the male population, it is difficult to maintain the view that psychosexual reactions between individuals of the same sex are rare and therefore abnormal or unnatural, or that they constitute within themselves evidence of neuroses or even psychoses. . . .
The very general occurrence of the homosexual in ancient Greece, and its wide occurrence today in some cultures in which such activity is not as taboo as it is in our own, suggests that the capacity of an individual to respond erotically to any sort of stimulus, whether it is provided by another person of the same or of the opposite sex, is basic in the species. That patterns of heterosexuality and patterns of homosexuality represent learned behavior which depends, to a considerable degree, upon the mores of the particular culture in which the individual is raised, is a possibility that must be thoroughly considered before there can be any acceptance of the idea that homosexuality is inherited, and that the pattern for each individual is so innately fixed that no modification of it may be expected within his lifetime. . . .
- Social reactions to the homosexual have obviously been based on the general belief that a deviant individual is unique and as such needs special consideration. When it is recognized that the particular boy who is discovered in homosexual relations in school, the business man who is having such activity, and the institutional inmate with a homosexual record, are involved in behavior that is not fundamentally different from that had by a fourth to a third of all of the rest of the population, the activity of the single individual acquires a somewhat different social significance. . . .
The difficulty of the situation becomes still more apparent when it is realized that these generalizations concerning the incidence and frequency of homosexual activity apply in varying degrees to every social level, to persons in every occupation, and of every age in the community. The police force and court officials who attempt to enforce the sex laws, the clergymen and business men and every other group in the city which periodically calls for enforcement of the laws—particularly the laws against sexual “perversion”—have given a record of incidences and frequencies in the homosexual which are as high as those of the rest of the social level to which they belong. It is not a matter of the individual hypocrisy which leads officials with homosexual histories to become prosecutors of the homosexual activity in the community. They themselves are the victims of the mores, and the public demand that they protect those mores. As long as there are such gaps between the traditional custom and the actual behavior of the population, such inconsistencies will continue to exist. . . .
- The homosexual has been a significant part of human sexual activity ever since the dawn of history, primarily because it is an expression of capacities that are basic in the human animal.
"The Construction of Homosexuality" (December 9, 1988)
"The Construction of Homosexuality", David F. Greenberg, University of Chicago Press, (December 9, 1988)
- Male homosexual prostitution having religious significance was an institutionalized feature of the archaic civilizations of the Mediterranean. Most authorities think it was practiced in the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, as well as in the worship of neighboring peoples. Yet a few scholars have expressed skepticism.
- One would hardly expect to see instituionalized male transgenerational homosexuality of the Melanesian variety (described in chapter 2) in the archaic civilizations. The conditions that seem to give rise to it in Melanesia do not exist in the early civilizations. With the pacification of an extended territory, wives are no longer taken from enemy villages, and marriage is not arranged through sister exchange between cross-cousins.
Yet ritualized, transgenerational male homosexuality was a part of early Greek culture. Dominated from the time of the Dorian invasion (c. 1200 B.C.) by powerful, culturally conservative noble families, the eastern part of Crete kept up ancient customs well into historical times. One of these customs was an initiation rite for aristocratic youths that bears remarkable resemblance to tribal rituals. Boys were taken from their mothers by kouretes (armed male dancers). Under the auspices of the pre-Olympian Mother Goddess cult of Rhea and Zeus, the boys were cleansed of maternal contamination and reborn as men. A men's house figured in the ceremonies, and bull roarers (devices widely used in tribal rituals to simulate the sound of bulls or thunder) were used to terrify the initiates.
- Sparta, too, institutionalized relations between mature men and adolescent boys, as well as between adult women and girls, and gave them a pedagogical focus. The few accounts we have, all written by foreigners, do not claim that the relationships were a part of initiation rites, but the Spartans were secretive about their institutions, and strangers would not necessarily have learned the details. However, many aspects of Spartan homosexuality and marriage customs point to tribal origins. Participation was mandatory for all youths of good character. There were ordeals - a common feature of tribal initiation. At their conclusion, all boys in the same-age grade had to marry - as in many tribes. Even after marriage, men lived in men's houses, not with their wives. Wives and male lovers were shared with age-mates. Like Crete, from whom the Greeks believed Spartan institutions were borrowed, Sparta preserved ancient customs that had disappeared in other city-states.
- Aristocratic warrior societies do seem have had extensive male homosexuality, which was completely accepted. Archeological evidence shows that c. 500 B.C., when they were founding the La Tene culture in France and the northern part of Switzerland, large numbers of Celts were armed for military raids of looting. Their political organization took the form of decentralized chiefdoms, with patron-client relationships linking aristocrats and commoners. According to Artistotle, the Celts esteemed homosexuality. Writing in the first century B.C., Diodorus Siculus found Celtic women charming, and every indicator of their social status suggests that it was quite high. Nevertheless, he added,
Evidence that the Celtic love of warriors may have extended to the British Isles (which the Celts invaded c. 200 B.C.) can be found in the Irish saga Tain Bo Caulinge. The hero Cuchulain explains that he does not want to fight his foster brother and former comrade in arms Ferdia:
The men are much keener on their own sex; they lie around on animal skins and enjoy themselves, with a lover one each side. The extraordinary thing is they haven’t the smallest regard for their personal dignity or self-respect; they offer themselves to other men without the least compunction. Furthermore, this isn’t looked down on, or regarded as in any way disgraceful: on the contrary, if one of them is rejected by another to whom he has offered himself, he takes offence.
- Class-structured homosexuality appears with the dawn of economic stratification. Here the two partners are drawn from different economic strata or classes, the wealthier partner purchasing or commanding the sexual services of the poorer. The partners may differ in age, gender, or preference for particular types of contact, but these differences do not define the relationship. What does is the preference of the wealthier partner. Thus Captain Blight, visiting Tahiti in the late eighteenth century, observed a chief sucking the penis of his attendant. By the usual conventions linking rank and sex role, this transaction should not have occurred. The attendant should have been sucking the chief. However, the chief occupied a social position that enabled him to gratify his personal preference irrespective of conventions about homosexual roles. In societies were social relations are commercialized wealth bestows sexual power.
Two forms of homosexuality are particularly common in antiquity: prostitution and intercourse with slaves.
- One of the Spanish sources, Bartolome de las Casas, writing in 1542, reported that Mayan parents supplied their adolescent sons with boys to use as sexual outlets before marriage, but that if someone else sodomized them, the penalty was equal to that for rape. Since de las Casas denied the existence of homosexuality in some other Indian groups, his attribution of homosexuality to the Mayans cannot be attributed to a blanket prejudice against Indians. Other missionaries also reported widespread male homosexuality among the Mayans. Young Mayan men lived in men's houses until they married at about age twenty.
- Father Pierre de Gand, also known as de Mura, found sodomy to be virtually universal among the Aztecs, involving even children as young as six. Cortez also found sodomy to be widespread among the Aztec's, and admonished them to give it up-along with human sacrifices and cannibalism.
- Some of the people who made up the Inca empire also had institutionalized homosexuality. This includes the Yauyos, who had "public houses filled with men who dressed as women and painted their faces," the Liysacas of Lake Chucuito, and Indians in the vicinity of Puerto Viejo in the north (now Ecuador) and on the island of Puna. In some parts of the empire, boys were dedicated to the temple, where they were raised as girls; chiefs and headmen had ritual intercourse with them on special holidays. The Inca princes themselves, however, did not engage in these practices.
- p. 165
- That the harshness of Inca and Aztec legislation toward homosexuality involved more than a reaction to indigenous berdaches is suggested by the equally severe penalties imposed on other violations of morals legislation. The Incas punished pimps and prostitutes severely, by death if the offense was repeated. Incest and adultery were capital offenses in both empires. Drunkeness was illegal under the Incas and a capital offense under the Aztecs. Abortion was also a capital offense under the Aztecs. Aztec youths lost their rights to land if they did not marry by a certain age. Inca men were also forced to marry.
- Ever since the sixteenth century, Western visitors have commented on the pervasiveness of Turkish pederasty. Large numbers of boys were captured or purchased for personal use, placed in brothels, or resold; the demand for them struck all observers as remarkable.
- Burton found the cities of Afghan to be "saturated with the Persian vice" at the end of the ninteenth century. Afghan merchants were invariably, "accompanied by a number of boys and lads almost in woman's attire with kohl'd eyes and rouged cheeks, log tresses and henna's fingers and toes, riding luxuriously in Kajawas or camelpanniers. They are called Kuch-i safari or traveling wives, and the husbands tridge patiently by their sides.
Male homosexuality remains common in Afghanistan, as does harem lesbianism.
- The Moslem rulers of India often maintained youthful male lovers, and male brothels flourished. Burton visited a number of them in 1845.
At first glance, the early Mongols appear to have been an exception to the broad pattern. The Great Yassa, a law code issued by Ghenghiz Khan or at his death for the still-pagan Mongol tribes around 1219, to supplement Mongolian customary law, mandated the death penalty for both sodomites and adulterers. This is not what one would expect in a tribe of nomadic pastoralists with a shamanistic religion. It seems likely that this severe penalty reflects the influence of Christians, Jews, or Moslems, to whom Ghengiz extended hospitality. Ghenghiz was himself illiterate, and might well have called on a literate foreigner to prepare a code of laws.
- Zoroastrianism, founded in Iran at an unknown date by the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathura) who reformed the old Aryan religion on, took a far harsher view of homosexuality. The subject is not mentioned in the Gathas (the earliest known Zoroastrian scriptures), which are attributed directly to Zoroaster. However, the later Vendidad, or Code Against the Devas, which contains much of the Zoroastrian moral teaching, places sodomites among the ranks of those who may be killed on the spot, along with brigands, burners of carrion in a fire, and criminals taken in the act. Later texts, from the ninth century A.D., continue to regard homosexuality as heinous.
- Perhaps more to the point, the severe penances for homosexual offenses are matched in a number of the penitentials by equally severe penances for heterosexual sins. Thus the Irish Penitential of Cummean calls for seven years' penance for men guilty of habitual homosexual practices (less for a first offense) and seven years' penance for heterosexual adultery. The book of ecclesiastical discipline issued by Region of Prum specifies a penalty of three years for anal intercourse whether the anus is that of a male or a female and also three years for heterosexual fornication. Similarly, the Book of David (c. 500-525) states that those who have committed fornication with a woman who hass been vowed to Christ or a husband, or with a beast or a male "for the remainder of their lived dead to the world shall live unto God" - presumably in perpetual encloisterment. The Penitential of Theodore requires three years' penance if a woman practices vice with another woman - or with herself and also demands equal maximum penalties of fifteen years in cases of heterosexual or homosexual fornication.
- Beginning in the mid-thirteenth century, French secular legislation adopted stiff new measures against homosexual relations. Li livres de jostice et de Plet, probably written around 1260 in Orleans, called for the amputation of the testicles of first-time offenders, the removal of the penis for a second offense, and burning of third-time offenders. Women were to be mutilated for the first two offenses and burned for a third.
- In addition to this body of national legislation, starting in the mid-twelfth century, the self governing towns of northern Italy, northern France, Flanders, and the Rhine Valley began to enact municipal statutes dealing with sodomy. Many of the laws, such as that adopted in Perugia in 1342, provided fines for first and second offenses and execution by burning for third-timers. Amputation of hands or feet, exile and confiscation of goods were common provisions.
With time, penalties began to escalate. In a law of 1250, the first statute known to deal with homosexuality, Bologna permitted men banished from the city because of a sodomy conviction to pay a fine and return, but in 1259, banishment was made permanent. Later that year, sodomy was made a capital offense.