Five decades ago, homosexuality was against the law in most western nations. You could go to prison for it.
Australia decriminalized what they referred to as the ‘Sodomy Law’, in 1976, while Canada repealed it’s ‘Buggery Law’ in 1969. In France, homosexuality fell into the category of ‘social scourges’ and their law was the ‘Social scourges Law’, which was abolished in 1960 and from then on, as long as he was 18 or older, you could bugger any man you liked, in France.
Bugger…heh heh. It is a very funny word, innit? Who’s bugger, Mister Bugger or Master Bugger? Mister Bugger – because he is a bigger bugger. Heh heh. I just love telling atrocious jokes.
The Germans took a while longer to attain enlightenment – anal sex was made legal only around 1988. Before then, they had large f–k-in closets.
In the US of A, coming out took the longest, given the fanatically Christian culture of the nation on the whole. I mean which other nation boasts a ‘Bible belt’ and has evangelists who own Rolls Royces and private jets, a land where at least 30% of all the whites in the south believe that having slaves was a truly Christian thing, as long as you taught them how to pray?
The states, in the ‘United States’, are quite independent and it’s more like the ‘United Countries of America’ actually. Until 2002, you could bugger in one state while you could go to jail if you did the same thing on the same arse, in the neighboring state. Say for instance you were living in Kansas, where homosexuality was illegal. You would have to drive north to the border, stand inside the state line and stick your naked butt out into Nebraska where it was legal. A passing trucker might oblige.
Prior to 2002, only 36 of the 50 US states had legalized sodomy. These states didn’t have a helpline for you to call and find out,” Hi, I’m coming from from Idaho. Can I f—k a man here?” Instead, all you had to do when you drove through the border, was read the welcome board. If it said, ‘Yeah, you can pokemon here’, you were good to go.
The US Supreme Court finally forced all states to legalize, in 2003. Maybe it had something to do with the needs of the American GIs who were entering Iraq right about then. I mean, they didn’t want Lynndie England seen to be committing a crime, every time she shoved stuff up those Iraqi prisoners’ asses in Abu Ghraib, did they? Honestly, those Iraqis (in fact the whole of the Middle-East) must indeed be so grateful to little Miss Lynndie for showing them all the things that you can do with a wiener, besides simply eating it. Of course, the wiener does have to be halal, even if it is inserted from the other end, something that might have escaped Miss England’s savage little redneck mind.
But Miss England is another story. I was writing about the gradual acceptance of homosexuality in this piece and got carried away. I don’t want to pollute my blog any further, with the name of this depraved little female monster. I apologize for the little digression.
About homosexuality in Great Britain, they used to say that the sun never set over the British Empire. I would like the liberty to add a corollary – ‘at any given moment, a man was being buggered somewhere in the British Empire’. Ooooh, yeah.
Before 1967, if you were a single male in the UK, with a male flatmate and you ordered a double bed, you could go to jail for it, no kidding. At the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, a renowned gay watering hole in London, you couldn’t just walk in, in the 1970s. The door would be bolted from the inside. You had to knock and a bouncer, a thoroughly gay toughie, would slide open a small peephole and examine you. He would open the door only if you didn’t look like one of those skinhead neo-Nazis.
And don’t even talk about Scandinavia, a land where even making it in the attic with a Shetland pony was legal, right from the days of the vikings. The great explorer, Leif Ericson, may have been known to his crew as ‘Leif the lucky’ because of his uncanny ability to survive the harsh elements through three voyages, but he had to turn back from Canada since the men were sick of screwing each other and were about to turn to the pigs and horses on board. The most commonly heard phrase on the boat till then was,” Hey, ass—le, it’s my turn taday.***slap, bam, pow, ouch, oh thor!***”
Nowadays you hold hands, smooch, pat ass, with another man in public and it’s no big deal, at least in the west. In the east maybe you’ll still hear a ‘bat-a-tat!’ (the sound of collective eyelids batting), but not in the west. Here, you can even be married, to another man. (I now declare you husband and husband, amen).
What a remarkable turnaround in mindsets – perhaps even the most profound – the realization that there is absolutely nothing unnatural about being gay. Till as recently as the 1980s, over 80% in the civilized west thought that gay sex was sinful. And now? That figure is less than 10%, though that 10% is most likely to comprise of folks who are barely literate, who vote Conservative, Tory or Republican, are strongly religious and most likely racist.
Short of introducing it in primary schools, nowadays homosexuality is accepted and out in the open, everywhere. Immediately after I moved to the west, I remember holding up a magazine so I could peer out of it’s corner aghast, as a slender man sat on the lap of a muscled hulk on a seat right opposite, both lost in their loud, wet smooches. No one seemed to notice even.
What explains this massive shift in fundamental thought processes that judge us, beliefs that point out to us what is sinful and what is okay? What drives social changes such as this? This is not to ignore the fact that gay folks all over the west still face prejudice and abuse. You still get to hear the words like ‘dyke’, ‘faggot’, ‘queen’, ‘tranny’, ‘pansy’ and ‘fairy’, spoken in derision but there is no doubt that there has been a quantum shift in the way that we look at homosexuals today.
How does social change come about? I think that music had a lot to do with it. Gay started sounding cool, to young folks starting the 1960s, given the high percentage of gay rock stars who just decided to let it all hang out in those days. Another catalyst must have been more and more children ‘coming out’ and their parents learning that their own child was gay. Dick Cheney’s openly lesbian daughter, Mary, must have tempered the way even a hard-line conservative like him looks at gay folks. Perhaps he balances his softness toward gays with his hyena-like ferocity toward other liberals. Maybe if Cheney hadn’t had a lesbian daughter, he wouldn’t have had to prove his macho ultra-right persona to the neo-conservatives and might consequently have turned out to be softer and open.
Perhaps attitudes and the law play catch-up with each other over decades. In the case of homosexuality, the law appears to have finally caught up with the attitudes. On the other hand, take a look at the death penalty – while most western societies abolished it as early as in the 1960s, it was only in 2014 that a poll showed attitudes in support of the death penalty dropping below 50%.
What is exhilarating is the fact that, almost 3500 years after the Lord handed down the Ten Commandments to Moses, the modern world is finally able to distinguish between crime and sin. We now know that while it is sinful to covet another man’s wife (or brother-in-law), it is no longer a crime to do so.
Today, if the Almighty had tried to hand the two stone tablets to old Moe, he would probably have shaken his head and said,” Spare me, Sire. In Quebec today, the fine for adultery is $10 and you get to keep even that and you get a free taxi ride home from court, if it is only your tenth adulterous liaison.”
(I lied about the free taxi ride. Heh)