argue that this action served to end more than a century of medical
homophobia and constitutes a historic date and a powerful symbol
for members of the GLBTIQ community. Therefore, on 17 May
every year, this decision is remembered when ‘The International Day
Against Homophobia and Transphobia’ is celebrated.10
1 Cook, A Gay History of Britain, p. 195.
2 Drescher and Merlino, American Psychiatry and Homosexuality, p. 127; Bayer,
Homosexuality and American Psychiatry, p. 204.
3 Jivani, It’s not Unusual, p. 189.
level, the answer to this appears straightforward:
demonstrating that laws against sex between men in developing countries such as Zimbabwe,
Jamaica and India originate either in colonial statutes or in broadly colonial attitudes,
activists and critics such as Tatchell and Seabrook argue the need to recognise and eradicate
legacies of colonial homophobia. The straightforward liberation suggested in calls to
eradicate offending remnants of colonial legislation is complicated, however, by
Foucault’s convincing argument that
Rementería y Fica, El hombre fino al gusto del día, manual completo de
urbanidad, cortesía y buen tono, 3rd edn (Madrid: Colegio de Sordo-Mudos, 1837),
4 R.W. Connell, Masculinities, 2nd edn (Berkeley: University of California Press,
2005); Michael Kimmel, ‘Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence
in the Construction of Gender Identity’, in Men and Masculinity: A Text Reader,
ed. Theodore Cohen (Toronto: Wadsworth, 2001), 29–41.
5 My use of this term is informed by Eva Copeland’s excellent article ‘Galdós’s
El amigo Manso: Masculinity, Respectability, and
besides his sex. Over the centuries he has implicitly been
white, heterosexual, middle class, affluent, able–bodied, and young to
middle–aged. The unacknowledged assumption in much of Irigaray’s
writing, including Elemental Passions, is that all these implicit
characteristics are shared by the man and the woman of its drama; the only
significant difference between them being sexual difference. But why make
this assumption? What forms of racism, homophobia, and prejudices of
class, age and ability are left unchallenged or even covertly reinscribed if
these alterities are
Society gossip, homosexuality and the logic of revelation in the interwar popular press
unproblematic on Fleet
Street. For all the well-known debauches of newspapermen, homosexuality was a highly fraught subject, and Fleet Street social life was
marred by an often-intense homophobia, which persisted throughout most of the twentieth century. The journalist Peter Wildeblood
(who would, during his 1954 trial for engaging in homosexual acts,
feel the wrath of the tabloids’ commitment to scandalous exposure)
remarked, ‘I could hardly have chosen a profession in which being
a homosexual was more of a handicap than it was in Fleet Street….
Its morality was that of
The London Missionary Society in Polynesia and Australia, 1800–50
the missionaries and attracted their attention. Narratives
of discovery and exploration of the South Pacific had conditioned
Europeans to anticipate the physical beauty of many of the
Islanders 6 and
the missionaries’ narratives of their Pacific residences
continued this fetishisation of Polynesian bodies. Surprisingly,
considering the homophobia evident in representations
policies of the Students’ Union and the NUS and the activities
of Community Action. Sexism, aggressive heterosexuality and homophobia were all fiercely attacked during the 1980s. The conflict
between the two cultures became acute in the 1980s over the issue,
not so much of women’s rights, as of respect and consideration for
women. Old-fashioned chivalry and gentlemanly behaviour had
expired of their own accord or been dismissed as a veneer which concealed a deep-seated sense of male superiority. But some substitute for
these was badly needed, some antidote for the
approach, but that other readings – such as a lesbian one – of her work are
possible (1998b: 28–32).41 Such is the harsh tone of Irigaray’s anti-lesbian
language, however, that at times her work borders on homophobia.
As a consequence, Irigaray’s quest for a ‘felicity within history’ (the subtitle of
I Love to You) would appear to be compromised by her restrictive model of
relationship to the ‘fecundity of the couple’. Her depiction of this new community
in I Love to You, which is a rejoinder to Hegel’s idea of community that she
criticized in her essay ‘The
and Society, 36:4 (2007), p. 379.
Contemporary interviews with adolescent boys about their difficulties ‘expressing
emotions’ have highlighted homophobia as a major obstacle in developing ‘more
nurturing and expressive relationships with each other’: Martino and PallottaChiarolli So What’s a Boy? p. 195.
J. Stevenson, British Society, 1914–45 (London: Penguin Books, 1984: 1990), p. 17.
J. Richards and D. Sheridan (eds), Mass-Observation at the Movies (London and New
York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987), pp. 48, 51, 89.
C. Madge, A. W. Coysh, G. Dixon and I. Madge
biggest thing … Eh, because,
eh, it was such a no-no. […] But the, the, this fear of being shunned
and, thought of until you almost thought of yourself as something
unworthy, and ought not to have been born type of thing. Eh, just
kept you, eh, very much closeted.’ Her response to this extreme fear
and internalised homophobia was to seek refuge and cover behind
convention: ‘I tried my hardest to conform, being sure I would … I’d
grow out of it. […] I conformed; I got married. It seemed like a good
idea at the time.’
The veil of pretended heterosexuality did not last