April 14th, 1912: The Lost and Forgotten Gay Passengers and Crew of the RMS Titanic [Video]

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  • Titanic's Gay Victims
  • April 14th, 1912:  The Lost and Forgotten Gay Passengers and Crew of the RMS Titanic [Video]

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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3 Responses

  1. While I certainly believe that there were gay men (and women) on the Titanic, Fritscher’s 68-page “Titanic: The Untold Tale of Gay Passengers and Crew” which originally appeared in “Honcho” magazine is, in his words, “gay literary erotica” aka FICTION imagined around real people. And while I agree that Archibald Butt was probably gay (whether or not he ever acted upon it), sadly the person interviewed on the video, second author Hugh Brewster, misrepresents some historical facts as he has in other interviews to promote his book. First there is his regurgitation of Social Constructionist horseshit that “gay identity” didn’t exist until the late 19th century. Second, he confuses (as, to be fair, countless others do) the CONCEPT of laws against “homosexuality” as a state of being which Britain’s Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 was no more than any other law with real laws against homosexual ACTS. Third, he absurdly asserts that there was no law against homosexual acts before it when, in fact, sodomy had been a crime in Great Britain since 1553 and the reign of Henry VIII. But because it was hard to prove, and until 1861 involved the death penalty, it was rarely prosecuted. The change that came with the 1885 Act through an amendment introduced by MP Henry Labouchere was to make “gross indecency” between two males a crime (while sodomy remained a separate offense). The evil genius of the amendment was that it did not define “gross indecency,” leaving its interpretation open to the imagination of the police, prosecutors, and judges. Mathematics and computer science icon Alan Turing was another one of its eventual victims.

    Demonstrating his inexcusably shallow knowledge about something on which he pontificates, Brewster not only simply refers to Labouchere as “someone” when far more people in Great Britain were familiar with “the Labouchere Amendment” than “Stead’s Law,” but also asserts that, “Stead probably never intended this.” In fact, Stead had written to Labouchere to alert him to the rise in male prostitution in London and elsewhere. Finally, Brewster says “homosexuality” (sic) was decriminalized in England in 1957 when it was actually 1967.
    In other places, Brewster has shamelessly tried to generate sales by suggesting that Butt and Frank Millett (who, among other accomplishments, was on the design committee for the Lincoln Memorial) were lovers. While Millett was unquestionably at least bisexual, there is no reason to believe that they were anything more than friends. Thank you.

  2. Tom Insley says:

    The Titanic’s Third Officer was Herbert Pitman, not Sam Maxwell. Pitman was a straight, married man. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…. 😉 )

  3. David Saronson says:

    The video seems interesting, but the quote from Jack Fritscher is ridiculous. Kinsey didn’t claim that 1 in 6 men are gay and decades of sex surveys conducted by medical researches, sociologists, sexologists and the government would refute that claim. Why are you even mentioning a sex story writer in this context anyway?

What do you think?