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Gay History – August 6, 1673: Plymouth Colony Convicts Two Men Of “Spending their seed one upon another”

On this date August 6, 1673 Plymouth Colony convicted two men of “Lewd Behavior and Unclean Carriage”. 

While not directly labeled in the records as a case of sodomy, it is clearly an act of homosexual behavior.

From the official record:

John Allexander & Thomas Roberts were both examined and found guilty of lewd behavior and unclean carriage one with another, by often spending their seed one upon another, which was proved both by witness & their own confession; the said Allexander [was] found to have been formerly notoriously guilty that way, and seeking to allure others thereunto. The said John Allexander was therefore censured [sentenced] by the Court to be severely whipped, and burnt in the shoulder with a hot iron, and to be perpetually banished [from] the government [territory] of New Plymouth, and if he be at any time found within the same, to be whipped out again by the appointment [order] of the next justice, etc., and so as oft as he shall be found within this government. Which penalty was accordingly inflicted.

Thomas Roberts was censured to be severely whipped, and to return to his master, Mr. Atwood, and serve out his time with him, but to be disabled hereby to enjoy any lands within this government, except he manifest better desert.

Allexander and Roberts, were two men with a long history of sodomy in Plymouth and were spared capital punishment. Allexander, a property owning man, and Roberts, an indentured servant, not only violated sexual morals, but also transgressed class distinctions . Their punishment, banishment for Allexander and the denial of future land ownership for Roberts, was approximately the same as was cast upon those who participated in illicit sexual acts between men and women.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist 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 Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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