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Today In Gay – May 7. 1365: 15 Year Old Giovanni di Giovanni Tortured and Killed For Sodomy

Today In Gay - May 7. 1365: 15 Year Old Giovanni di Giovanni Tortured and Killed For Sodomy

Giovanni di Giovanni (1350 – 1365) is one of the youngest victims of the campaign against sodomy waged in 14th-century Florence., Italy. The prosecution came on the heels of the Black Death, the bubonic plague epidemic which had ravaged the city two years earlier. Some of the most influential people of the religious establishment, such as Bernardino of Siena, blamed sodomites for having brought the wrath of God down on the heads of the populace. The “remedy” they promoted was to purify the city of evil by means of fire, leading to burnings at the stake and other punishments (red-hot iron) such as that suffered by poor young Giovanni.

Di Giovanni was labeled “a public and notorious passive sodomite” and convicted by the Podestà court of being the passive partner of a number of different men. His punishment was to be paraded on the back of an ass, then to be publicly castrated. Finally, he was to have his anus burned with a red-hot iron (or, as the sentence read: “[punished] in that part of the body where he allowed himself to be known in sodomitical practice”) It is presumed he did not survive the ordeal.

So as you can see extremist Christians have blamed the misfortune and disasters that fell upon them on homosexuals for centuries.

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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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