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Charles Upchurch

There is something of a paradox in the discussion of sex between men in Britain in the nineteenth century. For generations it was thought to have been unspeakable and unspoken-about in this period, and the discussion of it is almost entirely absent from nineteenth-century diaries, novels, parliamentary papers and other sources. Yet for most of the nineteenth century, sex between men was regularly discussed in the mainstream newspapers, primarily through articles about court cases ranging in length from one paragraph to multiple columns of text. These

in British queer history
A Postcolonial Geography
Author: Richard Philips

The operation of the British model of imperialism was never consistent, seldom coherent, and far from comprehensive. Purity campaigns, controversies about the age of consent, the regulation of prostitution and passage and repeal of contagious diseases laws, as well as a new legislative awareness of homosexuality, were all part of the sexual currency of the late Victorian age. Colonial governments, institutions and companies recognised that in many ways the effective operation of the Empire depended upon sexual arrangements. They devised elaborate systems of sexual governance, but also devoted disproportionate energy to marking and policing the sexual margins. This book not only investigates controversies surrounding prostitution, homosexuality and the age of consent in the British Empire, but also revolutionises people's notions about the importance of sex as a nexus of imperial power relations. The derivative hypothesis, which reads colonial sexuality politics as something England did or gave to its colonies, is illustrated and made explicit by the Indian Spectator, which seemed simply to accept that India should follow English precedent. In 1885, the South Australian parliament passed legislation, similar to England's Criminal Law Amendment Act, which raised the age of consent from 13 to 16 and introduced a series of restrictions and regulations on sexual conduct. Richard Francis Burton's case against the moral universalism and sex between men are discussed. 'Cognitively mapping' sexuality politics, the book has traced connections between people, places and politics, exploring both their dangers and opportunities, which revolve in each case around embroilments in global power.

Richard Burton’s interventions on sex between men
Richard Philips

to bury them with the barest of mentions, leaving them as a hidden subtext, an obvious and suggestive silence. A link might be made between this awkward silence in the ‘Maiden Tribute’ and new prohibitions against sex between male persons, which were included in the Criminal Law Amendment Act (1885). 15 Arguably Stead had helped place sex between men on the political agenda, if out of the reach of open debate. And there it remained. Those who spoke out against the new law tended to do so indirectly. The amendment had passed

in Sex, politics and empire
Ronald Hyam

convicts, while a quarter of them were free immigrants, with roughly another quarter freed ex-convicts and the rest native-born Australians. 44 Notoriously few sex offences of any kind came to court in early Australia, least of all the sodomy ones. All historians are agreed, however, that sex between men flourished in the convict settlements, even if it did not leave much definite evidence. 45 Indeed, one

in Empire and sexuality
Abstract only
Fields of understanding and political action
Richard Philips

government to seriously consider changing the age. 10 By contrast, Victorian legislation on sex between men has gradually given way, since the 1960s, to something more tolerant. In England, the provisions of the Labouchere Amendment remained in place for over 80 years, until 1967 when sex between men was partially decriminalised, subject to a higher age of consent (21) than applied to heterosexual sex (16); it took another 34 years and 2 major interventions through the European Court of Human Rights for the homosexual and heterosexual

in Sex, politics and empire
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British queer history
Brian Lewis

foreseeable future in this, one of the richest seams of recent modern British historiography. Charles Upchurch begins the collection with a topic of concern to all the authors: the effective interrogation of archival sources in pursuit of British queer history. In previous studies of the nature and frequency of the discussion of sex between men in leading London newspapers between 1820 and 1870, Upchurch highlighted the pros and cons of full-text electronic searches of books, periodicals and government documents. 18 Although such searches allowed historians to

in British queer history
Abstract only
Emma Vickers

Wildeblood and Pitt-­Rivers faced eighteen months. Montagu’s dignified pleas for leniency and the subsequent pressure applied by the Church of England and the Hardwicke Society helped to persuade Maxwell-­Fyfe that a committee should be established to discuss whether a change in the law was needed. The Church of England was particularly active in calling for change. In 1954 its Moral Welfare Council published The Problem of Homosexuality: An Interim Report which argued that although sex between men was a sin, so were adultery and fornication, yet these activities were not

in Queen and country
Abstract only
Tommy Dickinson

century.122 In 1898, with virtually no debate, Parliament passed an amendment to the 1824 Vagrancy Act. The main impetus of the 1898 amendment was to expand the state’s capacity to imprison bullies or pimps who lived on the earnings of female prostitution; however, it soon also became the Victorian state’s draconian regulation of all forms of sex between men.123 According to the Act, ‘every male person who in any public place persistently solicits or importunes for immoral purposes shall be deemed a rogue and a vagabond and may be dealt with accordingly’.124 Seth Koven

in ‘Curing queers’
Marie Helena Loughlin

demonstrates, although on the Continent such legislation could indeed apply to female same-sex intercourse (tribadism) and heterosexual anal intercourse, in practice it applied largely to anal penetrative sex between men. Prosecutions for tribadism were vanishingly rare on the Continent and simply non-existent in England; while for heterosexual anal intercourse they were “relatively rare” (Same-Sex 76). More importantly, however, even though this statute and those which 59 Loughlin, Same-sex desire in early modern England.indd 59 18/12/2013 15:25:02 Same-Sex Desire in

in Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550–1735
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Mapping the tyranny
Richard Philips

Various forms of criminal and family law governed the age at which girls and young women could lawfully consent to sex without penalty to either themselves or their male sexual partners (sex with other girls or women was not legally recognised). 11 Sex between men was not so much regulated as prohibited in the British Empire, though the form of this prohibition varied. In England the Criminal Law Amendment Act (1885) set a two-year jail term for sex between men. In most other parts of the Empire, approximations of earlier British

in Sex, politics and empire