Tag Archives: sodomy

Gay History – September 8, 1292: John de Wettre of Belgium Burned at the Stake for Sodomy

On this date in 1292 in the Belgium city of Ghent, 29 year old knife maker John de Wettre was found with another man committing and act “detested by God”.

He was burned alive as punishment.

Byrne Fone, in his book “Homophobia” (2000):

In many parts of Europe at the end of the thirteenth century, then, sodomites, heretics, and other social and sexual deviants were demarcated from the rest of the population. Those who once were only sinners now were criminal; their behavior was not only sinful but antisocial, and thus appropriately punished by loss of rights, property, and life. In 1292 John de Wettre, a knifemaker, was executed for sodomy in Ghent, burned alive for engaging with another man in an act “detested by God.” This is the earliest known execution for that act. We don’t know whether the other man was a lover or a passing stranger, whether the act was habitual or unique. All that we can know about John de Wettre is that John’s execution, if it was the first, would not be the last.

So the next time someone says to you that gay men have not been persecuted as others have, have not dealt with oppression, and not fought as long as other to be accepted and equal.  Remind them of John de Wettre.  

That is his legacy to us.

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

On 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.

Gay History – August 7, 1931: American Solider Found Guilty of Sodomy Sent To Alcatraz Prison

Clyde Findell Hicks was born in Oak Grove, Durham, North Carolina on September 5, 1910. On April 13, 1930 at the age of 20, he was listed as a soldier residing in Barracks #158 at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.

On August 7, 1931 Hicks was sentenced to six years in prison for the crime of sodomy with an early parole date of August 7, 1935. After serving almost 3 years of his sentence on June 19, 1934 he was transferred to the infamous maximum security prison of Alcatraz of the coast of San Francisco becoming one of the first prisoners on the island.  Even though he wasn’t a hardened criminal as some of the other inmates were he was put into Solitary on December 3 and 4, 1934 for “for conveying a note from one prisoner to another”.  Two other prisoners were put in Solitary that day, and stayed in much longer, for causing a ruckus and planning an escape. The note may have contained information concern this plan.

Despite his solitary confinement, Clyde seems to have otherwise been on his best behavior, he was discharged on his minimum sentence date, August 7, 1935. 

Clyde Hicks who spent 4 years in prison for his desires for other men a year later married a girl named Mary Wolfe of Mt. Airy on December 19, 1936.

Clyde Hicks passed away in Durham, North Carolina on December 5, 1993.

There are those who claim his ghost returned to Alcatraz Island to haunt the prison for being  incarcerated there for the crime of loving another man.

Clyde Hicks

Gay History – July 9, 1550: Italian Humanist and Historian Jacopo Bonfadio Convicted of Sodomy and Beheaded

Jacopo Bonfadio was born in Garda, Italy  in 1508 and was educated at Verona and Padua.

Beginning in 1532, he worked as secretary for various members of the clergy in Rome and Naples. In 1540, he gained employment in Padua with the son of Cardinal-humanist Pietro Bembo. While working for Bembo’s son, he met and became friends with notable humanists of the time and was a contemporary of Annibal Caro

In 1541, Bonfadio among others, coined the term una terza natura, meaning ‘nature improved by art’, and subsequently, many designers utilized the concept. Large-scale views of the Medici villas, the grand vistas of Louis XIV, and the planning of 16th-century and later English country houses show how this idea was incorporated.

Bonfadio’s humanist views earned him some powerful enemies in Genoa. In 1550, after he had completed Annales Genuendis, ab anno 1528 recuperatae libertatis usque ad annum 1550 (his history of the Republic of Genoa from 1528 to 1550), his writings angered the powerful Genoese families the Dorias, the Adornos, the Spinolas, and the Fieschi, who sought revenge against him for daring to record and judge their actions. They proceeded to accuse him of sodomy, for which he was arrested, tried, and condemned to death.

Bonfadio was beheaded, and his body was burnt.

Unfortunately the minutes of his trial have been lost forever.

Gay men and lesbians have been persecuted beaten, tortured, institutionalized, jailed and murdered for many centuries both in the United States and abroad still are to this very day.

#NeverForget

Gay History - June 30: Cincinnati Police Ignore Anti-Gay Public Pool Riot, Bowers v. Hardwick, Jacob de Haan Assassinated, and MORE!

Gay History – June 30: Cincinnati Police Ignore Anti-Gay Public Pool Riot, Bowers v. Hardwick, Jacob de Haan Assassinated, and MORE!

June 30th…….

1924:  Jacob Israel de Haan, Dutch writer and journalist, is assassinated at age 42 for his contacts with Arab leaders. His killer claims never to have known about Haan’s homosexuality, and said further, “I neither heard nor knew about this,” adding “why is it someone’s business what he does at his home?” According to Gert Hekma, Zionists spread a rumor he had been killed by Arabs because of his sexual relations with Arab boys

1973:  The first lesbian conference in Canada is held at Toronto’s YWCA.

1974:  43,000 attended the 5th Annual Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, more than double the number from the previous year.  The years parade included floats and themes for the first time./

1975:  Canada’s National Gay Rights Conference sees formation of National Gay Rights Coalition which is renamed the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Rights Coalition / Coalition Canadienne pour les droits des lesbiennes et des gais (CLGRC / CCDLG) in 1978. It folds two years later.

1979:  In London, England, 8,000 join the Gay Pride march from the Embankment to Hyde Park to hear Tom Robinson sing.

1979:  A group of 40 people in Cincinnati Ohio who had reserved a city park pool in the division of Clifton for a Gay Pride party are attacked by local residents who throw rocks and bottles at them. Police arrived, watched for a while and then drove away doing nothing. One man had to be rescued by a television news crew. Police refused to return, even after several calls reporting a riot.

1981:  Moncton, New Brunswick, city council passes a last-minute law to prevent a gay picnic from taking place in Centennial Park to celebrate Canada Day. Groups of gay people hold picnic anyway.

1981:  Governor Bob Graham of Florida signed the Trask Amendment into law which denied state funding to any university or college which allowed gay/lesbian/bisexual student organizations. It would later be struck down by the Florida Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

1984:  The Unitarian Church in the U.S. voted to approve ceremonies uniting same-sex couples.

1986:  The U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in the case of Bowers v. Hardwick, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Georgia sodomy law.

Michael Hardwick was 29 and tending bar at a gay pub in Atlanta, Georgia, he threw a beer bottle into an outdoor trash can and got cited by the police for public drinking. The cop wrote down the wrong day on his summons. When Hardwick didn’t show up in court as a result, an arrest warrant was issued. An officer later showed up at his apartment to serve the warrant, and a guest who’d been sleeping on the living room couch said he wasn’t sure if Hardwick was home. The cop decided to take a look and found Hardwick in his bedroom, having oral sex with a man and they were both arrested for sodomy.

Hardwick’s case was dismissed without a trial by the district court, and then he actually won on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, where a panel of judges found that his fundamental right to privacy had been violated. . But when Hardwick’s case came to the Supreme Court, Justice Byron White didn’t frame it in terms of privacy or any other civil right. “The issue presented,” he wrote, “is whether the Federal Constitution confers a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy.” The answer was no. White got there by saying that proscriptions against homosexual conduct had “ancient roots,” stressing that at the time 24 states and the District of Columbia continued to outlaw sodomy

The court voted 5-4 to uphold the sodomy law.

White famously got the fifth vote that made his opinion speak for the majority from Justice Lewis Powell, a moderate, who said at the time that he didn’t know any gay people. (He meant openly gay people, since it turned out he had a gay clerk.).  Four years later, Powell famously told a group of law students that he regretted his decision. “I think I probably made a mistake in that one,” he said.

1986:  Dr. William Haseltine responds to a U.S. justice department memo which claimed that he said that HIV could be casually transmitted. He said his statements had been distorted and that casual contact posed no significant threat. Assistant Attorney General Charles Cooper later apologized to him.

1987:  After spending three years in jail for treason, South African AIDS activist Simon Nkoli was released on bail.

Nikoli founded the Gay and Lesbian Organization of the Witwatersrand in 1988. He traveled widely and was given several human rights awards in Europe and North America. He was a member of International Lesbian and Gay Association board, representing the African region. After becoming one of the first publicly HIV-positive African gay men, he initiated the Positive African Men group based in central Johannesburg.

Nikoli died of AIDS in 1998 in Johannesburg

1989:  Activists protest outside the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC because of the cancellation of an exhibit of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe.

1990:  Gays in London, England, lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in memory of gays killed in Germany during the Holocaust.

1995:  British publication Capital Gay puts out its last issue.

1998:  Lawmakers in Catalonia Spain passed a bill which gives same sex couples the same inheritance and alimony rights as married couples, but stopped short of allowing the adoption of children. Catholic groups condemned the bill, saying it institutionalized immoral behavior.

2000:  David Copeland, 24, is convicted murder for planting a bomb in a London gay bar a year earlier.  Copeland a  Neo-Nazi militant  became known as the “London Nail Bomber” after a 13-day bombing campaign in April 1999 aimed at London’s black, Bangladeshi and gay communities.

2001:  Dozens are injured in Belgrade as roving bands of young thugs attack participants the first gay-rights march in Yugoslavia’s capital.

2005:  Spain becomes the fourth country in the world (after Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada) to legalize gay marriage as the Spanish parliament gives final approval to a bill authorizing same-sex weddings. To no one’s surprise the Catholic Church howled in protest, but the law passed anyway.

2009:  After a strenuous court battle, the Minnesota Supreme Court race was finally decided by a state Supreme Court ruling in favor of Al Franken. Franken is considered a great ally to have in the Senate, as he has spoken numerous times on his intent to vote in favor of expanding rights for gays, and because his vote makes a “filibuster proof” majority.

 

82-02-05  Bush-Trask amendment unconstitutional -

Ye Olde Gay History – June 23, 1629: Five “Beastly Sodomitical Boys” Busted By Puritan Preacher On His Way To Salem

June 23, 1629

The Rev. Francis Higginson, a preacher with a Puritan bent in the Church of England, left his parish and, in 1628, accepted an offer to join the Massachusetts Bay Company. In 1629, the Company was granted a Royal Charter to establish a “plantation” in New England, and Higginson and several of his Puritan followers were given permission to establish a colony. Higginson obtained six ships, each armed with cannons to protect against pirates.

The fleet set sail on May 1, 1629, with 350 Puritan settlers, 115 head of cattle, 41 goats and, apparently, five “beastly Sodomiticall boys.”

An entry in his diary for June 23, 1629, reads:

Tewsday the wind n:E: a fayre gale. This day we examined 5 beastly Sodomiticall boyes, which confessed their wickedness not to bee named. The fact was so fowl we reserved them to bee punished by the governor when we came to New England, who afterward sent them backe to the company to bee punished in old England, as the crime deserved.

According to the laws of England at that time the crime deserved death by hanging. But it was never documented ehat happened to those “beastly boyes” after they arrived back in not so jolly olde England.

As for Higginson  his fleet was greeted in Salem, Massachusetts by a small group of settlers, led by John Endecott. In Salem there were five houses besides Endecott’s. They had no trained minister, however, so Higginson and Samuel Skelton began conducting services immediately. Higginson drew up a confession of faith

The following winter, in the general sickness that ravaged the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Higginson was attacked by a severe fever, which disabled him, and finally caused his death.

Now that’s 17th. CENTURY KARMA!

1975 - California decriminalizes same-sex acts between consenting adults. Assembly member Willie Brown  and state Senator George Moscone (who will later in his career be assassinated along with LGBT civil rights great Harvey Milk in San Francisco)  co-sponsor AB 489, the “Consenting Adults Bill,” which decriminalizes sexual activity between consenting adults.

Gay History – May 12, 1975: California Legalizes Same-Sex Acts Between Consenting Adults, But Not Sodomy

1975 – California decriminalizes same-sex acts between consenting adults. Assembly member Willie Brown  and state Senator George Moscone (who will later in his career be assassinated along with LGBT civil rights great Harvey Milk in San Francisco)  co-sponsor AB 489, the “Consenting Adults Bill,” which decriminalizes sexual activity between consenting adults.  Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill into law on May 12, 1975, and it goes into effect January 1, 1976.

Interestingly though prior to 2003, SODOMY was not legal in California. And could not be made so while it was illegal on the Federal level. The monumental Supreme Court case, Lawrence v Texas, ruled that systematically criminalizing sodomy is unconstitutional. The case serves as a precedent, and most U.S. states responded by decriminalizing gay sex.

In 2014, California became the first state in the U.S. to officially ban the use of gay panic and transgender panic defenses in murder trials.[ Public schools are also required to teach about the history of the LGBT community and transgender students are allowed to choose the appropriate restroom or sports team that match their gender identity.

California is seen as one of the most liberal states in the U.S. in regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights, which have received nationwide recognition since the 1970’s

Gay History - March 16, 1680: New Hampshire Makes Gay Sex Punishable By Death

Gay History – March 16, 1680: New Hampshire Makes Gay Sex Punishable By Death

New Hampshire’s motto may be “Live Free or Die” but that wasn’t always the case.

March 16, 1680:

Legislators of New Hampshire pass the colony’s first capital laws, copied almost word for word from the Plymouth laws of 1671:

If any man lie with mankind as he lies with a woman; both of them have committed abomination; They both shall surely be put to death: unless one party were forced, or were under fourteen years of age. And all other Sodomitical filthiness shall be severely punished according to the nature of it.”

In the early Puritan colonies, the mere concept of homosexuality struck horror into the hearts of good, God-fearing men. Many thought that homosexuality was an impurity that could spread and eventually call down the fire and brimstone that was showered on Sodom and Gomorrah.

Although the laws demanded capital punishment as the penalty for adult homosexuality, many magistrates opted to hand down lighter sentences in most cases. In fact, there was only one recorded execution of a criminal of this sort. William Plaine was executed in New Haven in 1646 for the “uncleane practices” of teaching other men and boys the joys of masturbation

Gay History – March 1656: Puritan Boys Gone Wild!

March 1:

1642: Boys Will Be Boys

The Plymouth Colony Court heard a case brought against Edward Michell and Edward Preston for “lewd & sodomitical practices tending to sodomy.” The precise wording was important: sodomy itself was punishable by death, but practices which fell short of sodomy itself (which required proof of penetration and emission), were deemed merely “sodomitical” or sodomy-like. According to surviving records:

Edward Michell, for his lewd & sodomitical practices tending to sodomy with Edward Preston, and other lewd carriages with Lydia Hatch, is censured to be presently whipped at Plymouth, at the public place, and once more at Bamestable, in convenient time, in the presence of Mr. Freeman and the committees of the said town.

Edward Preston, for his lewd practices tending to sodomy with Edward Michell, and pressing John Keene thereunto (if he would have yielded), is also censured [sentenced] to be forthwith whipped at Plymouth, and once more at Bamestable (when Edward Michell is whipped), in the presence of Mr. Freeman & the committees of the same town.

John Keene, because he resisted the temptation, & used means to discover it, is appointed to stand by whilst Michell and Preston are whipped, though in some thing he was faulty.

1656: Onan You Don’t. Not In New Haven

New Haven Colony legislation was unique in the English-speaking world for mandating the death penalty for women as well as men for acts “against nature,” as well as for masturbation and anal sex among heterosexual couples. The act read as follows:

If any man lyeth with mankinde, as a man lyeth with a woman, both of them have Committed abomination, they both shall surely be put to death. Levit. 20. 13. And if any woman change the naturall use, into that which is against nature, as Rom. 1. 26. she shall be liable to the same Sentence, and punishment, or If any person, or persons, shall Commit any other kinde of unnaturall and shamefull filthines, called in Scripture the going after strange flesh, or other flesh then God alloweth, by canall knowledge of another vessel then God in nature hath appointed to becomp one flesh, whether it be by abusing the contrary part of a grown woman, or Child of either sex, or unripe vessel of a Girle, wherein the naturall use of the woman is left, which God hath ordained for the propagation of posterity, and Sodomiticall filthinesse (tending to the destruction of the race of mankind) is committed by a kind of Rape, nature being forced, though the will were inticed, every such person shall be put to death. Or if any man shall act upon himself, and in the sight of others spill his owne seed, by example, or counsel, or both, corrupting or tempting others to doe the like, which tends to the sin of Sodomy, if it be not one kind of it; or shall defile, or corrupt himself and others, by any kind of sinfull filthinesse, he shall be punished according to the nature of the offence; or if the case considered with the aggravating circumstances, shall according to the mind of God revealed in his word require it, he shall be put to death, as the Court of Magistrates shall determine.

New Haven Colony also applied the death penalty for adultery. This law remained in effect for the next ten years, until 1665 when New Haven Colony joined Connecticut and came under Connecticut law, which specified the death penalty for “man lying with man” only.

Two Gay Men In Iran Hanged After Being Charged With 'Sodomy'

Two Gay Men In Iran Hanged After Being Charged With ‘Sodomy’

Mehrdad Karimpour and Farid Mohammadi were both hanged in a prison after spending six years on death row for the charge of sodomy in Iran late last week.

Via unilad.co.uk

“Mehrdad Karimpour and Farid Mohammadi were both hanged in a prison in the northwestern city of Maragheh, around 310 miles away from Tehran, having been sentenced to death for ‘forced sexual intercourse between two men’. As per the Human Dignity Trust, Article 236 also provides that ‘tafkhiz’ – defined under Article 235 as ‘putting a male sex organ between the thighs/buttocks of another man’ – is punishable with 100 lashes, or the death penalty if the active party is non-Muslim and the passive party is Muslim. For women, it’s punishable with 100 lashes.”

Peter Tatchell, an longtime gay activist, told The Jerusalem Post, ‘Iran is one of a dozen Muslim-majority countries and regions that enforce Sharia law and impose the death penalty for homosexuality. The execution of these men follows a long-standing regime policy of the state-sanctioned murder of gay men, often on disputed charges after unfair trials that have been condemned by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. 

In February 2021, an Iranian cleric Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian claimed that the Covid-19 vaccine turns people gay, on messaging platform Telegram, to almost 210,000 followers.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Tabrizian wrote on the platform: ‘Don’t go near those who have had the COVID vaccine. They have become homosexuals.’

It is believed that between 4,000 and 6,000 gay men and women have been executed in Iran since the 1979 Revolution. 

Iranian American journalist Karmel Melamed in a tweet called for ‘outrage’ from the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.