Same-sex desire and the rise of Soviet sexopathology in the
saw him again with them – I would report him to the procuracy … I raised the question of treatment, but he was against it. 3
After carefully listening to Nadezhda’s complaints, Goland instructed her to bring her husband in for an appointment. In short order, Andrei turned up in Goland’s office and his story confirmed Goland’s suspicions: Andrei was a homosexual. After being assured that he could speak frankly without fear of being reported to the police, Andrei opened up completely, relating all his homosexual pursuits. He also confessed that he feared ‘lack
Modernity and technics
Over the 1880 to 1920 period, modern life in Western cities became
exponentially enmeshed with a host of new technologies: automobiles,
express trains, aeroplanes, electrical lighting, electrical conveyances
(tramways, elevators, funiculars, moving sidewalks, etc.), telephone,
wireless, and of course cinema. There were also less public innovations in industrial production and chemistry, in medicine (X-rays,
pharmacology, dentistry, surgery, cosmetics, eyewear), and in destructive technologies of
Movies speak mainly to the eyes. Though they started talking in words some seventy years ago, what they say to our ears seldom overpowers or even matches the impact of what they show us. This essay proposes to read one more time the issue of homosexuality in Mary Shelley‘s first novel, Frankenstein. In order to offer a new angle on the homosexual component of Victor Frankenstein‘s relationship with his creature when next teaching this most canonical Romantic novel, this essay considers Shelley‘s work alongside four film adaptations: James Whale‘s 1931 Frankenstein, Whale‘s 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein, Richard O’Briens 1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Kenneth Branagh‘s 1994 Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein. These films present their audience with original readings of their source material, readings that can be questioned with regards to their lack of truthfulness to the original works themes and characters.
Drawing on fresh and previously undiscovered sources, this book fills an
important gap. It reveals that from 1956 to 1991 doctors, educators, jurists and
police officers discussed the issue of homosexuality. At the heart of their
discussions were questions which directly affected the lives of homosexual
people in the USSR. Was homosexuality a crime, disease or a normal variant of
human sexuality? Should lesbianism be criminalised? Could proper sex education
prevent homosexuality? What role did the GULAG and prisons play in spreading
homosexuality across the USSR? Far from being abstract questions, these
discussions often had practical implications – doctors designed and offered
medical treatments for homosexuality in hospitals, while prison workers used
these treatments in prisons.
ch a pt e r 6
The New ‘Homosexual’ Subculture,
The New ‘Homosexual’ Subculture
In 1691, the Societies for the Reformation of Manners were formed to
cleanse England of sin and degeneracy. Although the Societies had many
targets, including prostitution, swearing, Sabbath-breaking, and general
lewdness, they focused on sexual sin, and particularly on male same-sex
erotic relationships, practices, and early communities, engineering the
entrapment and subsequent prosecution of ‘homosexuals’, especially those
who were apparently beginning to meet
On 27 January 1956 the head of the corrective and labour camps and colonies of the MVD, Sergei Yegorovich Yegorov, signed a new decree featuring an unusual subject. 1 The document drew the attention of GULAG directors to the growing problem of homosexuality in colonies and prisons, which, as Yegorov wrote, was ‘likely to have serious consequences’, if measures to prevent it were not taken:
The Central Administration of prison camps and colonies of the MVD USSR has information about increased instances (among both male and female prisoners) of sodomy
As for Soviet homosexual people, many benefited from the continued construction of housing in the country. New apartment complexes springing up in cities afforded Soviet homosexual people opportunities to congregate and meet each other in private flats, thus avoiding the watchful eye of their neighbours. Although public toilets, railway stations and bathhouses were still widely used for cruising, private apartments were far safer and less likely to attract the attention of the police.
Moscow and Leningrad, the country's largest cities, continued
In Britain in the two decades after the end of the Second World War the social world of the male homosexual achieved a visibility it hitherto had not enjoyed, for the first time becoming the object of social scientific investigation. This chapter is concerned with the various professional practices through which that world was rendered increasingly legible between 1945 and 1968. It will address a series of questions pertaining to a crucial shift in focus that took place in these years, a shift from what many increasingly believed to be a narrow interest
Joseph Stalin and his cronies hated homosexuals. In fact, they never called them homosexuals – instead they called them “pederasts” – a crude and vulgar Russian counterpart of the English word “queer”. The ruthless Soviet leader, responsible for the death and suffering of millions of Soviet people, was unconcerned with political correctness.
The Soviet Union, the largest communist state in the world, over which Stalin presided, was slightly over a decade old when he came to power. In 1917, the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir
was occurring due to the crumbling system of Soviet healthcare with its endemic shortages and corruption, rather than due to the existence of homosexuals, drug addicts and prostitutes:
We are used to the idea that AIDS threatens mainly risk groups: prostitutes, drug addicts and homosexuals, forgetting that there are more “innocent” ways of infection. How did the virus find its way into a children's hospital?