THE BEGINING OF TIME
TO THE END OF WORLD WAR II
Of all mankind's ideas, the equating of sex with sin has left the greatest train of trouble.
Why this chronology? Basically to assemble the known historical facts about homosexuality in an easily accessible format, to make those facts available to the widest possible audience, and hopefully to peak the interest of future scholars, and dilettantes alike, to delve into the still largely uncharted waters of gay historical research.
This chronology is the result of a labor of love that began almost thirty years ago when I began assembling the few readily available facts that were known about homosexuality in history. Since that time a small host of gay and lesbian historians, have added greatly to that fund of knowledge, and yet the process has just begun. This chronology is an attempt to organize that knowledge in a simple, easily understood format.
The chronological format was chosen, first and foremost because it is easy. Easy to understand, making it more accessible to more people. And easy to write, and update. With a minimum of words, the known facts can be presented without the hard work of trying to figure out what they all mean. A task which is purposely left to the reader.
I make no pretense at painstaking scholarship. I have presented most references as I found them. I have not tried to verify every entry. I have not footnoted the references, as that would have turned this into a drudgery that I have neither the time, energy, nor inclination to pursue. Much of this information is gleaned from the standard works on homosexuality found in any reasonably decent library. Another large portion of the information comes from scattered references from the whole range of human inquiry, to properly identify the sources of this information would require an index nearly as long as the text. Such an index would be undeniably useful, but will have to be done by someone else.
The chronology suffers from a number of biases. It is confined almost exclusively to Western Culture, and to male homosexuality, reflecting not only the limitations of my own research, but also of the available information.
From the first intellectual inquiry into the topic of homosexuality, theory has greatly out-distanced fact. This was true of the first Jewish and Christian commentators on the Talmud, and Bible, and of endless legions of theologians throughout history who followed in their wake, nor was it less true of the jurists who followed in their wake, nor, unfortunately, of the physicians, psychiatrist, and early sexologist who took the issue over in the mid-nineteenth century.
Unfortunately, this penchant to reduce the growing, but still meager historical facts about homosexuality to ideological constructs was no less true of the gay and lesbian historians who have struggled valiantly to rescue the topic from the physicians, psychiatrist, politicians, and priests.
Much of our information is narrowly focused, depending on the available sources at any given time and place. For example, in the early Christian period our information about homosexuality comes almost exclusively from church sources, and so is heavily weighted as a discussion about sin, penance, and the imagined wrath of God. Later, the sources are penal law and court records, thus casting the subject of homosexuality in terms of criminality, by the nineteenth century homosexuals are more often written about as medical or psychological problems, and, in more recent times, we have pursued a politics of liberation, in which we have defined ourselves in largely political terms. It remains to be seen how own definitions will change as the result of the Aids epidemic.
The history of homosexuality in Western Culture, in the first millennium of the Christian era, is largely the story of Christianity taking a tale of confusing moral import, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and using it to impose its own anti-sexual, and specifically anti-homosexual bias on a Europe that seemingly had long ago worked out its own rather benign accommodations with male on male sexuality.
Long before the Christian era, Jewish scholars had used the Sodom story as a kind catch-all morality fable, demonstrating the folly of provoking God's anger by not following his rules. That homosexuality was one of the sins these scholars hoped to suppress by the story's retelling, is likely. That it was the only sin attributed to Sodom and Gomorrah is simply inaccurate.
It was the First Century AD Jewish philosopher, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria who indelibly lay the sin of Sodom at the door of the homosexual. As uncomfortable with the thriving homosexuality they encountered in the Ancient Mediterranean world, the early church fathers were quick to adopt Philo's interpretation of the sins of Sodom.
At the beginning of the Christian era, there was nowhere in Europe where homosexuality was penalized, or bared by the law. It was openly practiced, and even glorified by the Greeks and Romans, as it was by most peoples of the Mediterranean. It was reputed to have been wide spread, and respected among the Celts, as well as among the nomadic people of the Russian steppes and Asia Minor. There were no Nordic or Germanic laws against it, and it is not until the 7th Century, that the first European secular law criminalizes sodomy. In Northern and Eastern Europe sodomy did not enter the criminal codes until the 16th & 17th centuries.
Throughout history, outbursts of anti-homosexual scapegoating have accompanied struggles for power, whether it was between church and pagan, the church and secular power, one church against another, as in the Inquisition, the imposition of control of one people over another, as in the conquest of the new world, in the struggle of one nation against another or one politician against another. Homosexuals like the Jew, the heretic, and the unorthodox is a favored scapegoat in Western Culture.
Except for very ancient times, and very recent times most of what we known about homosexuals, is in their role as outcast and victim. What we have very little record of is an indifference towards, if not tolerance for homosexuality, that, as now, likely co-existed with the more stident official view.
What we know the least about for most of our history is how we found one another, what kinds of social groups we may have formed, what kinds of personal relations we entered into, or what we thought about ourselves and the other homosexuals we came into contact with, or what our families and friends knew about us, and how they reacted to that knowledge. This kind of information will be infinitely more difficult to find, and for many periods of history may not exist. At any rate it must be remembered that our information is skewed, and that as a result any theories we base upon them will reflect those distortions.
I hope this chronology will help encourage an ongoing inquiry into our history.
8th Century BC
c743 Greece - Acteon of Corinth is torn to pieces in a brawl by his jealous lovers. This led to the exile of Achies and his subsequent founding of Syracuse.
7th Century BC
c650 Sicily - The Greek colonial lawgiver Zaleucus introduces the institution of pederasty to Sicily.
6th Century BC
Greece - In order to stay the plague sent by Athena, whose altar had been violated, Epimenides calls for human sacrifices. The lovers Cratinus and Aristodelmus volunteer, thus becoming Athenian heroes.
Greece - The Attic lawgiver Solon considers homosexuality too elevated for slaves, and prohibits sex between a slave and free-born, there were laws discouraging free-born boys from selling their charms, and the death penalty for adult men found on the premises of schools where the boys would be below the age of puberty.
585 Greece - The tyrant of Corinth, Periander, considered one of the seven wise men of ancient Greece, is killed by a youth he had taken advantage of.
c530 Sicily - The Greek exile Pythagoras founds a pederastic school of philosophy at Croton.
c522 Greece - The gymnasia and baths become so notorious that political reformers agitate to close them. One such reformer is Polycates of Samos.
c514 Greece - The love between the aristocratic Athenian Aristogiton and the young Harmodius turns tragic when the reigning tyrant Hipparchus becomes infatuated with Harmodius. When the tyrant publicly insults Harmodius' sister, he is assassinated by Aristogiton and Harmodius. The two lovers are executed for the deed, and become Athenian heroes and martyrs.
5th Century B C
Israel - The Book of Leviticus, probably compiled in its
present form in the fifth century, states in (Leviticus
20:13) "If a man lie with mankind as he lieth with a
woman, both of them have committed an abomination:
they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon
them." Most later laws prescribing the death penalty for homosexuality in Western Christian culture can trace
their origin to the Leviticus sanction.
c470 Greece - The Spartan General Pausanias was betrayed to his enemies by the object of his affection, the youth Agilus.
403 Rome - In order to increase the birth rate, Rome legislates against celibacy.
4th Century BC
Greece - Aristotle says the homosexual disposition "occurs in some people naturally...and whether the individual so disposed conquers or yields to it is not properly a moral issue.
399 Greece - Socrates is condemned for corrupting the youth of Athens.
395 Greece - The favorite of the Spartan Naval commander and diplomat Lysander is the boy Aegesilaus -small, lame, mean-looking and deformed - Lysander nonetheless exerted his authority to put Aegislaus on the throne as his successor.
355 Greece - The historian Xenophon tells of the organization of a corps of lover-soldiers by the artistic Episthenes of Olynthus, himself the object of Xenophon's affection.
347 Greece - Plato who first praised, then condemned man-boy love, was partial to the youths Aster and Agathon.
338 Greece - The Theban lawgivers Diocles and Philolaus were famous for their affection. Out of their example and laws they instituted the Sacred Band of Lovers slaughtered at Chaeronea by the Macedonians. They were buried in the same grave.
336 Greece - A Macedonian youth named Pausenia taking offense at the advances of Attalus, a soldier and friend of King Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, reported the outrage to the king, but Philip having similar tastes, took the complaint lightly. Pausania soon after assassinated the king. It is believed that more than resentment and wounded honor were involved, and that Queen Olympias and Alexander the Great were also involved.
3rd Century BC
c226 Rome - Lex Scantinia - The only law which might have regulated homosexual practices is enacted about 226 BC. No text survives and it is uncertain exactly what it did regulate. While the law likely regulated some aspect of sexual activity, it is doubtful that it prohibited homosexual behavior as has been assumed by some scholars.
2nd Century BC
1st Century BC
c50 Rome - Cicero asserts that the Emperor Clodius always kept a number of male prostitutes with him.
44 Rome - Julius Caesar as a youth openly lived with Nicomedes, King of Bithynia, as a girl, "the queen's rival" as one Senate attack on Caesar stated. In his edicts, the tribune Bebulus called him "the Queen of Bithynia", and added "he had formerly been in love with a King, and now sought a kingdom. Once on mentioning in the Senate the kindness he had received from Nicomedes, Cicero interrupted saying, "Pray tell us more of that; for it is well known what he gave you, and you gave him." Curio the elder proclaimed in the Senate of Caesar that, "He was every woman's man , and every man's woman." The Roman Legions used to recite the following chant:
Gallias Caesar subegit, Nicomedes Caesarem
Ecce Caesar nunc triumphat, qui subegit Gallias
Nicomedes non triumphat, quit subegit Caesarem
Rome - Augustus Caesar, Julius' nephew owed his inheritance of wealth, prestige and name of Caesar to compliance as a youth to the sexual advances of his uncle. In Spain, he sold his favors to the nobleman Aulus Hirtus for 300,000 sesterces.
1st Century AD
The Epistle of Barnabas, then considered a part of the New Testament, but now considered apocryphal. The author equated Mosaic prohibition against eating certain animals with various sexual sins, i.e. "you shall not eat the hare. Why? So that...you may not become a boy-molester." Eating hyenas makes you an adulterer, or seducer, likewise eating weasel because it engages in oral sex. This construction equating certain animals with certain sexual characteristics was to prove an important influence on early Christian thinking.
The Physiologus, the most popular work of natural science of the Middle Ages is a collection of anecdotes about animals in which Christian morals were gleaned from aspects of animal behavior, reiterating the analogies found in the Epistle of Barnabas. It served as a manual of piety, a primer on zoology. It was translated from Greek to Latin, and during the Middle Ages into every European vernacular.
c41 Rome - The Emperor Caligulas loved to masquerade in female clothes in public.
c50 Egypt - Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, the Jewish philosopher affirms the talmudic fable that Adam was originally androgynous, and that "God separated Adam into his two sexual component parts...The longing for reunion which love inspired in the divided halves of the original dual being, is the source of the sexual pleasure."
He, incorrectly interprets the story of Sodom in homosexual terms, the interpretation that is adopted by the early Christian theologians.
He seems to have consciously confused child molestation and homosexuality. He believes that any use of human sexuality, potential or actual, which does not produce legitimate offspring violates "nature". Celibacy is as unnatural as homosexuality and masturbation. Philo has a great influence on early Christian theology.
c65 Rome - Seneca, the most influential Stoic in the West is rumored to have had homosexual relations and to have inspired his pupil Nero along these lines as well.
68 Rome - Nero. "He impersonated a woman, and in that character was given in marriage to one of his infamous herd, a pathetic named Pythagoras. The Emperor of Rome, with the affected airs of a female delicacy, put on the nuptial veil...the genial bed was displayed to view; nuptial torches were lighted up; the whole was public, not even excepting the endearments which, in natural marriages, decency reserves for the shades of night" Tacitus. Suetonius adds that on this occasion Nero "imitated the cries and shrieks of young virgins when they are ravished."
96 Rome - The emperor Domitian, as a youth is lover to Senator Nerva...while as Emperor his open devotion to the pretty actor Paris becomes the subject of Juvenal's Satire. Romans who sought political favor went to Paris. Domitian discovered an intrigue between Paris and the Empress and in a rage orders Paris to be publicly executed. Paris was an acclaimed female impersonator in pantomime and dance.
2nd Century AD
130 Egypt - Hadrian is told by a magician that unless another man would voluntarily allow himself to be sacrificed to the Egyptian gods, the Emperor himself would die. When Antinous, the Emperor's favorite volunteered, Hadrian, himself, threw Antinious into the Nile where he drowned. On returning to Rome, Hadrian built a great temple for Antinious and had the Senate make him a god.
c165 Rome - St Justin Martyr observes of abandoned children sold into slavery, "that nearly all such children, boys as well as girls, will be used as prostitutes."
c192 Rome - The Roman Emperor Commodus adopts the dress of an Amazon in the Arena, and takes the name of Commodus Amazonia. His young lover is called Philo-Commodus, the favorite of Commodus.
c215 Egypt - Clement of Alexandria is one of the earliest Christian theologians to invoke the rule that sexual intercourse must be directed towards procreation. He speaks out against the practice of homosexuality, and urges that those who practiced it be barred from the city.
c222 Rome - The Roman Emperor Heliogabalus formally marries the male slave Hierades. His plan to give this emancipated slave the tittle of Caesar and make him his successor leads to his own downfall and murder.
c235 Rome - The Emperor Marcus Aurelius considers outlawing the exoliti (male prostitutes), but decides this action would only drive it underground. He assuages his own misgivings about the practice by transferring the tax on these prostitutes to public works, instead of the imperial treasury.
c249 Rome - The Roman Emperor Philip outlaws the exoliti (male prostitutes) in the West, although they still flourish another hundred years in the Eastern Empire.
4th Century AD
c300 Rome- In his Digest of Roman law, the jurist Paulus writes, that a male who voluntarily is passive to another male should lose half of his estate, and reiterates an earlier edict barring such men from the legal profession.
305 Spain - The Church Council of Elvira denies communion even at the hour of death to men who "defiled" boys, but is silent about consensual age male sexuality.
314 Italy - Because of an inaccurate Latin translation, the Church Council of Ankara is incorrectly assumed to have referred to homosexuality, when it was referring to bestiality. As a result early Western Christian penances for sodomy are based on the penance for bestiality.
c330 Rome - A tax on male prostitution is instituted during the reign of Constantine.
c330 - Lactantius, a Christian author and apologist expresses disgust that a man could be passive sexually.
342 Rome - Homosexual marriages are outlawed in the West, although no penalties are imposed.
C360 - St Basil wrote on how to avoid the temptations posed by a beautiful young monk in a monastery.
390 Constantinople - In his legal code, the Emperor Theodosian imposes the death penalty for forcing or selling males into prostitution.
c390 Eastern Roman Empire - Driven by a profound horror of a man's sexual passivity to another man, St John Chrysostom issues many diatribes against homosexuality. He contends that homosexuality was rampant within the Christian society of Antioch.
391 Egypt - Fanatical Christians burn the library at Alexandria because its books were pagan. All but a small portion of Sapho's poetry, as well as an unknown amount of material touching on homosexuality is lost.
5th Century AD
c400 Africa - St Augustine in describing the desolation he felt at the death of a friend of his youth regrets the sexual aspects of his passion. Augustine will set the anti-sexual tone of the emerging Catholic Church. His argument that sex is justified only for procreation becomes known as the Augustinian Rule.
476-7 Eastern Empire - The Roman custom of forming a union with another man by the legal expedient of declaring him a brother is declared invalid in outlying Syriac, Armenian & Arabic speaking provinces of the Easter Roman Empire. The Syriac and Arabic versions of the code include a law imposing the death penalty for homosexual behavior.
6th Century AD
c500 Eastern Roman Empire - At the beginning of the 6th Century the tax on male prostitution is abolished under the emperor Anastasius. While relieving the Christian government of this tacit acceptance of homosexuality, it probably did little to alter the institution.
The Sixth-Century African poet Luxorius wrote a poem about a man who gave his wealth away to men who sodomized him.
533 Eastern Roman Empire - Justinian Code. In his codification of Roman law, the Emperor Justinian placed homosexual acts under the same category as adultery, and put them for the first time under civil authority. In a 538 revision of the Code homosexuality is criminalized for the first time under Roman law. "Because of such crimes there are famines, earthquakes, and pestilences; wherefore we admonish men to abstain from the aforesaid unlawful acts, that they may not lose their souls...We order the prefect of the capital to ...inflict on them the extreme punishments, so that the city and the state may not come to harm by reason of such wicked deeds."
A great plague struck Constantinople in 541, that wiped out more than a third of the population in the next three years. It is not surprising that the "emperor and the Church believed this proved his predictions of the dangers posed by homosexuality. In a 544 revision of the Code, the emperor reminded the citizens that "Though we stand always in need of the kindness and goodness of God, yet is this specially the case at this time, when in various ways we have provoked him to anger on account of the multitude of our sins...We ought to abstain from all base concerns and acts -and especially ...the defilement of males which some men sacrilegiously and impiously dare to attempt, perpetrating vile acts with other men." Homosexuals were urged to desist and seek forgiveness through penance. The recalcitrant were turned over to the city prefect. The penalty was death, and the confiscation of the property of the guilty. Justinian and the Empress Theodora used the law to attack enemies and to enrich themselves through the confiscation of property. In the process, the homosexual became the enemy of the state.
538 Eastern Roman Empire - Isaiah of Rhodes, prefectus vigilum of Constantinople is tried under the new law against homosexuality. After severe torture Isaiah is exiled.
Eastern Roman Empire - Alexander, Bishop of Diospolis in Thrace, tried under the Justinian ban, is exposed to public ridicule after being castrated.
c540 Europe - Rule of St Benedict. The code regulating most medieval monastic life stipulates sleeping arrangements to discourage sexual activity between monks.
567 France - The second Church Council of Tours endorses the Benedictine rule that monks should never sleep two to a bed.
7th Century AD
c-600 Eastern Empire - St Theodore of Sykeon. While visiting Constantinople , the patriarch Thomas became "so attached to him...that he begged him to enter into ceremonial union with him and to ask God that he would be together with him in the next life."
c654 Spain -King Reccesvinth, the ruler of Visigoth Spain passes legislation penalizing sodomy, stipulating castration as the penalty. This is the first European secular law to criminalize sodomy.
693 Spain - The church Council of Toledo describing sodomy as being "prevalent" in Spain, declares that, "if any one of those males who commit this vile practice against nature with other males is a bishop, a priest, or a deacon, he shall be degraded from the dignity of his order, and shall remain in perpetual exile, struck down by damnation." Guilt by association carries with it the penalty of a hundred lashes, a shaved head, and banishment.
8th Century AD
c735 Rome - Penitential of Pope Gregory III specifies a penance of 160 days for lesbian activity, and as little as one year for homosexual acts between males.
741 Eastern Empire - The Edoques, a legal handbook issued by Leo III and Constantine V, constitutes the major code of secular law in the East for several centuries. It ameliorates the penalty of Byzantine civil law for homosexual behavior from death to mutilation.
c789 France - Charlemagne warns monks to desist from homosexual practices. A church council admonished priests and bishops to "attempt in every way to prohibit and eradicate this evil." No penalties were recommended.
9th Century AD
829 France - The church Council of Paris prohibits priests from referring to penitentials for penances for homosexual acts, as it considered those penances as too lenient.
867 Eastern Empire - Basil I (867-886)founder of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire possibly entered into same-sex unions with two men, each of whom helped to advance his career.
Nicholas, a parish cleric, upon finding the homeless Basil "went with him to the baths and changed (his clothes) and going into church established a formal union with him, and the rejoiced in each other." Basil next entered the service of Theophilos, who "had a great interest in well-born, good-looking, well-built men who were very masculine and strong". Basil was appointed chief equerry.
While traveling in Greece a wealthy widow showered Basil with gifts asking only that he enter into a same-sex union with her son, John. After this Basil was taken into the service of the Emperor Michael III, who became so attracted to him that he named him "companion of the bed chamber", adopted him as a son, and eventually made him co-Emperor. Not long after Basil assisted in the assassination of Michael.
10th Century AD
c900 Europe - The Penitential of Regino of Prun which enjoyed widespread authority and influence was largely gender blind. The penance for anal intercourse whether heterosexual or homosexual received a three years of penance, the same as for simple heterosexual fornication.
938 Rome - Pope John XII (938-964) models himself after the emperor Heliogabalus, holding homosexual orgies in the papal palace.
11th Century AD
c1000 Germany - Burchard, Bishop of Worms classified homosexuality as a variety of fornication less serious than heterosexual adultery. He assigned penance for homosexual acts only to married men. In civil legislation regulating family life in the diocese of Worms there is no mention of homosexual behavior.
c1051 Europe - In his denunciation of the clergy, Liber Gomorrhianus, (The Book of Gomorrah) St Peter Damian describes homosexual activity among the clergy in lurid detail, claiming it is all too common. He also complains about the widespread practice of priests confessing to one another in order to avoid detection.
Pope St Leo IX is angered by St Peter Damian's attack on the clergy and in his reply agrees only to defrock those who have engaged in homosexuality "as a long-standing practice or with many men." He is more concerned with maintaining stability and seems to have had a low estimatimation of the seriousness of homosexual offenses among the clergy. This is at a time when the church is trying to impose a ban against the marriage of priests. No doubt the hierarchy relied on the tacit acceptance of the ban by homosexual priests for support..
Anselm of Lucca, the future Pope Alexander II, and a pupil of the Abbot Lanfranc famous for his passionate devotion to younger monks, stole the Liber Gomorrhianus from Peter Damian, thus suppressing its distribution.
1059 Rome - The Lateran Synod issues a series of canons responding to each of St Peter Damian's demands for clerical reform except the issue of homosexuality .
c1095 Europe - An Appeal from the Eastern Emperor, a forgery widely circulated in the West to drum up support for the Crusades, accuses the Muslims in Jerusalem of having "degraded by sodomizing them men of every age and rank: boys, adolescents, young men, old men, nobles, servants, and, what is worse and more wicked, clerics and monks, and even - alas and for shame something which from the beginning of time has never been spoken of or heard of bishops! They have already killed one bishop with this nefarious sin."
12th Century AD
1102 England - When the Church Council of London decreed that the general public be informed that homosexual intercourse should in the future be confessed as a sin. St Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury prohibits the decrees publication saying, "this sin has hitherto been so public that hardly anyone is embarrassed by it, and many have therefore fallen into it because they were unaware of its seriousness." Anselm, like Pope Alexander II, had been a pupil of the Abbot Lanfranc.
1114 France - A heretic at Bucy-le-long, a village near Soisons confesses that after desecrating the sacraments the heretical devotees seized whoever was nearest, even men with men, and women with women. While sexual orgies were often ascribed to the rituals of heretics and witches, this is the first to explicitly mention homosexuality. It would become a commonplace allegation in later trials.
1120 - The Church Council of Nablus specifies burning at the stake as the penalty for homosexual acts.
1123 Rome - The first Lateran Council declares clerical marriages invalid. Contemporaries point out that homosexual priests are more likely to enforce the prohibition, which may explain the rather casual attitude taken towards homosexuality amongst the clergy by Popes Leo IX and Alexander II.
c1150 France - Echoing the 1st Century Epistle of Barnabas, Bernard of Cluny attacks homosexual relations, writing that he who "dishonors his maleness (is) just like a hyena." He also noted that homosexuals "are as numerous as grains of barley...the entire universe - alas is addicted to this sordid practice."
1179 Rome - The Third Lateran Council decrees degradation and confinement within a monastery for clerics guilty of sodomy, and excommunication for the layman.
13th Century AD
1210 A number of heresies appear in Germany, the Low Countries, and Italy. Known as the Brethren of the Free Spirit in the North, and the sect of the Freedom of the Spirit in Italy. Arguing that since all things are God, there is no evil. Urges to lust, greed or other so-called sins should not be resisted. Practicing asceticism as neophytes, they believe that when they are fully initiated as "men of freedom", they will be incapable of sin. They fully accept homosexuality in those having the desire.
1212 France - In Paris the penalty for sodomy is fixed at death. This is the first secular law to criminalize sodomy since the Spanish Visagoth law of 654. It is the first to prescribe the death penalty.
1227 Denmark - Pope Honorius II, in reply to a request for advice on dealing with sodomy, advises the Danish archbishop to adopt a penance which is neither to harsh, nor too lenient.
c1230 France - Jacques de Vitry denounces students at the Sorbonne for practicing sodomy.
1233 Italy - The papacy accuses the forces of the Holy Roman Empire, with whom it is fighting, of sodomy, and enlists the aid of the newly founded Franciscan and Dominican orders (who were currently directing the Inquisition in Southern France) to denounce the supporters of Emperor Frederick II of heresy, sodomy and other offenses against morality.
1259 Italy - Bologna punishes sodomites with burning at the stake, or perpetual banishment.
1262 Italy - In Siena those accused of sodomy are given a week and a day to confess, or they will be expelled and their property confiscated.
1265 Spain - The most important medieval compilation of Spanish law, Las Siete Partidas of Alfonso X, prescribe the death penalty for sodomy.
1265 Italy - A Dominican brother, and a Guelph (a member of the pro-Papal party) introduce statutes in Bologna requiring the state to assist in prosecuting heretics and sodomites.
1266 Italy - With the Guelph victory over the Ghibellines at Benevento, the Inquisition again attacks political opponents as heretics, sodomites and adulterers. The first record of burning at the stake for sodomy in Italy dates from this time.
1270 France - Article 22 of Le Livres de jostice et de plet, the French penal code derived from the district of Orleans states: "He who has been proved to be a sodomite must lose his testicle. And if he does it a second time, he must lose his member, and if he does it a third time, he must be burned." This is perhaps the first secular law to also regulate lesbian sexuality.
1270 France - The poet Guillot cites the Rue Beaubourg in Paris as a cruising place for sodomites.
1270 Italy - Siena expels those accused of sodomy, and confiscates their property.
1281 Sweden - The Bishop of Skara proclaims that "a person who sins against nature, must pay a fine of nine marks to the bishop. There was no civil law against sodomy.
1292 Belgium - John de Wettre, "a maker of small knives", is condemned for sodomy and is burned on the pillory next to the church of St Peter, in Ghent.
France - There are 26 public baths in Paris, providing steam and hot water, even during the winter. They are closed to prostitutes, vagabonds, lepers, and men of bad repute.
14th Century AD
1305 Italy - Fra Giordano condemns the city of Florence for being a veritable Sodom, where fathers encourage their sons to engage in prostitution.
1309 Italy- In Perugia, mild penalties for sodomy are replaced with burning at the stake.
1309 Italy - The Siena commune orders a fine of 300 lire for first sodomy offense. Those who can not pay within a month are to be hung by their penis in the town square.
1309 Europe - Trial of the Knights Templars in France, Italy, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland and Cyprus.
The Militia of the Templars had been formed to guard the holy places of Palestine, and the routes of the pilgrims. A military order, their rule was said to have been devised by St Bernard. Novices were initiated at night behind guarded doors, in rituals that remain secret. As the Crusades declined the order became the bankers of the Mediterranean, and much of Europe.
At dawn on Friday, October 13,1307, all the Templars in France, some two thousand in number, were arrested and charged with idol-worship and obscene practices. Tortured, they confessed to worshipping idols, one shaped like a cat, another like the devil and another like a satyr; that they had spat on the cross, that they had engaged in sodomitical practices and that they had betrayed the cause of the Crusades and had plotted against the Pope and the King of France.
When the Templars faced the tribunals of the Inquisition, under the control of Pope Clement V, they withdrew their confessions, but pressed by Philip of France the Pope ordered all Christian princesses to arrest the Templars.
While charges of widespread homosexuality among the Templars is likely true, it is doubtful that it ever received official sanction. The real motive for attacking the Templars was to plunder their vast treasuries, and to break their considerable power.
1324 Italy - Siena orders its citizens to track down sodomites "in order to honor the Lord, ensure peace, maintain the good morals and praiseworthy life of the people."
1325 Italy - Florence issues a law proscribing severe penalties for sodomy.
1327 England - Murder of Edward II. Notoriously attracted to male favorites during his reign, he is held in the Tower, tortured and eventually murdered by his wife Isabella, whose henchmen shove a molten poker up the King's rectum.
1336 Austria - Trial of heretics extracts testimony that they met underground in covens where Lucifer appeared as the king of heaven with a crown and scepter. After practicing a blasphemous communion they engaged in sexual orgies that included homosexuality.
1342 Italy - The city code of Perugia establishes that a delegation of eight men from each of the five sections of the city be chosen to denounce sodomites.
1348 Italy - Venice, two servants caught sharing a bed, confess under torture to sodomy. One is burned alive in front of the Doge's Palace.
1350 France - Jean II gives the office of Constable to his relative and favorite, Charles d' Espagne, who is rumored to be the object of the King's "dishonest affection."
1361 Sweden - In a political attack on King Magnus, St Bridget jeers, "You have the most indecent reputation inside and outside this land that any Christian male can have, namely that you have had intercourse with men. This seems likely to us, because you love men more than God or your own soul or your wife."
1368 France - Violante Visconti marries the seventeen year old Marquis de Montferrat, who is given over to strangling boy servants.
1373 Belgium - Willem Case and Jan van Aersdone are executed for sodomy in Antwerp. Another man is burned at the stake in the town of Mechelen.
1375 Belgium - Two men are executed for sodomy in Ypres.
1391 Belgium - A mass trial of seventeen people accused of Vuyle faicten (sodomy), including two women, is held in Mechelen. One person confesses and is executed.
15th Century AD
1403 Italy - The Questa is created in Florence, to protect public
morals and suppress sodomy.
1407 Venice - The "Signori di Notte" (Lords of the Night) are responsible for patrolling and overseeing the city, but in an excess of over-zealousness they arrest 35 men as sodomites, 14 of whom are members of the nobility. The Consiglio dei Dieci (Council of Ten), responsible for the overall security of the city takes charge in order to block the prosecutions. From this time forward almost all sodomy trials are handled by the Consiglio dei Dieci, which is also responsible for passing the decrees concerned with suppressing homosexual behavior. Group trials stretch into the mid-16th Century, but never again on the scale of 1407.
1412 France - Witch trials are held in which those accrued as sorcerers and heretics received light sentences while those accrued of sorcery and sodomy are condemned to death.
While the charge of homosexuality was common against Catharist heretics, it was less commonly associated with witches.
1414 Germany - The church Council of Constance convened by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund to put an end to the "Great Schism" of the Catholic Church (in which there were three pretenders to the Papal throne), deposes the Pope of Pisa, John XXIII, for various crimes, including piracy, murder, rape, sodomy and incest.
1421 Italy - The city of Siena takes steps to suppress sodomy, signaling the beginning of a persecution that lasts until 1430.
1422 Venice - Beginning of a period of persecution of sodomites.
1425 Italy - St Bernardino of Siena preaches against sodomy, and complains that "you cannot leave Tuscany without being reproached twelve times a day that here we never punish such a vice." In a number of sermons, between 1424-27, St Bernardino details the homosexual underworld of the Siena of his time. Favorite meeting places included taverns and pastry shops.
1429 China - The late-Ming writer Shen Defu believes government officials turned to boys and young men for sex after 1429, when the emperor ordered them to stop cavorting with courtesans. Male prostitutes were known as xiaochang (little singer).
1432 Italy - The Official of the Curfew and the Convents is created in Florence to suppress sodomy.
1440 France - Gilles de Rais ("Bluebeard") is executed after being found guilty of sexually abusing and murdering hundreds of children of both sexes.
1444 Venice - City authorities issue regulations in 1444 and again in 1477 to combat the "abominable vice" of sodomy in schools of music, gymnastics, fencing and mathematics.
1451 Rome - Previously a subject of the secular courts when dealing with laymen, or the ecclesiastical courts if the offender was a cleric, Sodomy becomes a subject of the papal Inquisition as a result of a decree by Pope Nicholas V.
1453 Spain - At the age of six Juan II of Castile is given as his page, and companion, Alvaro de Luna. When the king came of age at 14 he appoints Luna Constable of Castile, who from that point on ruled in the kings name.
As one contemporary states "for 35 years he lived happy at his (Luna's) side and submissive to his will" Rumors abound of "lascivious business" between them, but if attracted to men, the king also liked women. While Luna reputedly controlled the king's sexual relations with his first wife, after his second marriage the king no longer tolerates this interference. At the queen's instigation Luna is beheaded in 1453 on charges of high treason.
1459 France - Trials at Artois, allege the witches had an orgy among themselves, followed by ritual intercourse with Satan, who took male or female form as the situation demanded. Sodomy, as well as, other "crimes against nature" were committed. The accused were subsequently exonerated by the Parlement of Paris.
1460 Venice - Persecution of sodomites.
1462 Spain - In his summary of Islamic law the Muslim scholar Ice de Gerbir states the penalty for sodomy is death by stoning. Anyone using the term sodomite as an insult or taunt is to receive 80 lashes.
1464 Venice - Persecution of sodomites.
1464 Spain - Dissident Castilian noblemen circulate a letter expressing shock at King Enrique IV's homosexuality, his consorting with Jews and Muslims, and his halfhearted support for the re-conquest of Granada from the Moors.
It also asserts the illegitimacy of his daughter Juana, and supports the succession of his half brother Alfonso. Isabel, Alfonso's sister and Enrique's half-sister, eventually succeeds to the throne to the great detriment of Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, and the peoples of the new world.
1465 Spain - The Coplas de Provincial, a satirical poem about the Castilian royal court describes the men as incestuous, sodomites, cuckolds and Jews, and the women as adulterous and without virtue.
Spain - On August 2 Alfonso issues a manifesto declaring himself king, and promises that "the sins of heresy, sodomy, and blasphemy, which were as prevalent as they were notorious in the reign of my predecessor Enrique, will be uprooted from my kingdoms and destroyed by me."
1474 Florence - A charge of sodomy is brought against the 22 year old Leonardo da Vinci. It is never prosecuted.
1474 Venice - Persecution of sodomites.
1477 Venice - City authorities again issue regulations to safeguard the schools of Venice from the "abominable vice" of sodomy.
1494 Spain - The German physician Hieronymos Munzer writes that on leaving Almeria in l494 he saw the bodies of six men hung from a tall post. They were Italians convicted of sodomy. They had first been hung by the neck, then hung by their feet after "their genitals had been cut off and hung around their necks because in Spain they hate this sin greatly."
1497 Spain - Ferdinand and Isabel decree that the existing penalties for sodomy are "insufficient to eradicate such an abominable crime". A conviction now carries with it guilt of heresy and high treason. The penalty is burning at the stake and the confiscation of property which went to the royal treasury.
1497 Italy - A pamphlet by Domenico Cecchi urges a harsher punishment for Florentine sodomites, that they should lose a testicle for each of the first two offenses, and for the third offense should be sent to a madhouse. Fines were the most common penalty in Florence up to this time.
1498 Italy - Among the charges brought against Savonarola by his enemies is that of being a hermaphrodite and of using one sex or the other according to his desires.
He is examined by Giovanni Manetti who "then, taking a lighted candle, he examined him and touched those parts as much as it pleased him, with the right hand. But, then, not much time passed before he became seriously sick. Questioned by his wife and relatives, he did not want to confess, but always shouting 'This hand! This hand!' agitated it very miserably a gesture he repeated until the end of his life."
Before his fall from power Savonarola had ordered public exposure for a first sodomy offense, tying to a pillar for the second, and burning for the third.
16th Century AD
1506 Spain - The Inquisition at Seville makes a special investigation into sodomy, causing many arrests, and the exile of many others. Twelve people are burned at the stake.
1507 Germany - Article 141 of the Constitutio Criminalis Bambergenis, the criminal code of the German city of Bamberg, contained a prohibition of sodomy of a human being with a beast, a man with a man, or a woman with a woman. The inclusion of women within the definition of sodomy in German laws appears to have derived from the Bamberg code. Article 141 reappears without alteration in a 1516 revision of the code. This is the first appearance of sodomy as a crime within German law.
1509 Spain - When the Spanish Inquisition began exercising jurisdiction over sodomy, the Suprema of Castile, on October 18, 1509, orders that no action betaken by the
Inquisition against sodomites except where heresy was involved. But after an inflammatory sermon by Fray Luis Castellioli blaming a pestilence in Valencia on God's wrath against sodomites, the people of Seville force the confession of four who are burnt at the stake, a fifth who had received a more lenient sentence is seized by the mob, garroted, and also burnt.
The Castile Inquisition never again exercises jurisdiction over sodomy, without the concomitant charge of heresy. The Castilian secular courts prosecuted sodomites more vigorously than the Inquisition in Aragon. Between the 1580's and the 1650's some 100 to 150 sodomites are executed in Madrid alone.
1513 Panama - The Spanish explorer Balboa encounters homosexuality among the chiefs at Quarqua in Panama. A 16th century English account reports that "the most abhominal and unnaturall lechery" was practiced by "the Kynges brother and many other younger men in womens apparell, smoth and effeminately decked, which by the report of such as dwelte aboute hym, he abused with preposterous Venus." To keep "this stynkynge abhomination" from spreading, Balboa turned to the expediency of throwing forty of these men to be torn apart by his dogs.
1514 Italy - Florence. Niccolo Machiavelli, in a letter to a friend, amusingly recounts the nocturnal exploits of another mutual friend in search a young man. Among the haunts mentioned were the Borgo Santo Apostolo, Calimala Francesca, and Il Tetto de'Pisani.
1519 Mexico - Cortes begins the conquest of Mexico. Justifying Spanish atrocities, Cortes often reminds his troops that they were engaged in a holy war against Aztec abominations of human sacrifice, idolatry, cannibalism and sodomy.
An anonymous conquistador reports that the people of Panuco on the Gulf of Mexico were great "great sodomists".
1520 Mexico - Upon meeting Moctezuma, Cortes is pleased to note that he is not a sodomite, as he seemed to think all Mexican men were.
Most Mexican accounts agree that Moctezuma was felled by stones thrown by the Aztec side, but believe that his death was caused by strangulation or daggers at the hands of the Spanish. One account claims the final and fatal wound was of a sword thrust up his rectum, likely a metaphor for his weakness in facing the Spanish.
1522 Mexico - Encouraged by Cortes, the town council of Vera Cruz affirms that all Mexico was addicted to sodomy.
1524 Spain - The Spanish Ambassador to Rome arguing that sodomy had been introduced to Spain by the Moors, convinces Pope Clement VII to grant the Inquisition of Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia, jurisdiction over sodomy, irrespective of the presence or absence of a charge of heresy. This power is granted over opposition from local bishops who view it as an usurpation of their authority. Punishment for adults over 25 is burning at the stake, while minors are whipped and sent to the galleys. Actual penalties were usually not as severe as in the secular courts, and the Inquisition was especially lenient towards the clergy. By 1530 the Pope had extended this same authority to the Inquisitions of Saragosa, and Barcelona.
1532 Germany - Section 116 of the Constitution of Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, states that "if anyone commits impurity with a beast, or a man with a man , or a woman with a woman, they have forfeited their lives and shall, after the common custom, be sentenced to death by burning."
The Constitution represents a culmination of the work to codify the penal code of the Holy Roman Empire begun at the Diet of Freiberg in 1498, and formally adopted by the Diet in Regensburg in 1532. The Carolinian constitution has a great impact on future European penal law, not only in the German states, but in France and Russia as well, bringing sodomy under secular jurisdiction for the first time in much of the Germanic and Slovak portions of the empire.
1533 Spain - A memorial from the Aragon Cortes to Emperor Charles V protests that the Inquisition had arrested people for private offenses having nothing to do with heresy, extending their jurisdiction to cases of sodomy, usury, and bigamy. Inquisitional jurisdiction over moral offenses was considered then and later as illegitimate, but with papal and royal favor it grew to overwhelm all opposition and criticism. The Aragon Inquisition continues to exercise control over sodomy cases.
1533 England - Sodomy statute of Henry VIII, the first English law to mention homosexuality, becomes the basis of American as well as British law. Like a later Elizabethan law of 1562, the prohibition has more to do with the struggle for power between the church and expanding secular power, than any moral outcry against homosexuality. There are few sodomy convictions at the time.
The English law is unique in its use of the term Buggery, in that it called for death by hanging rather than burning at the stake, and finally, and most importantly the frequent commutation of the death sentence to exposure in the pillory. The statute remains essentially the same until 1861, when the death penalty was abolished for this offense. No more than an average of three people a year are executed under the statute between 1561 - 1861 within the entire British Empire.
1537 Venice - Persecution of sodomites.
c1540 Spain - Theologian Francisco __________ points out that if the sin of sodomy can be used to justify Spanish depredations in the Indies, it could be equally used to justify a war by France on Italy.
1547 Venice - Persecution of sodomites.
1552 Spanish West Indies - Lopez de Gómara speculates that every native of the West Indies is touched by homosexuality.
1555 Geneva - In the period between 1555-70 there are an unusually high number of trials for sodomy. The trials coincide with the greatest activity of the Calvinist moral tribunal, the Consistory, as well as with a large immigration of French refugees, many of them young males. All those charged are French refugees.
1561 Spain - Inquisitor General Valdes obtains authority from Pope Pius IV to exercise control of cases of solicitation for sex by priests during confession, in part, to keep such incidents from public scrutiny.
1563 Sweden - The Protestant King Erik XIV proclaims a number of crimes that must be punished with death, in order to escape the wrath of God: among these is "bestiality with dumb animals and other such vices." Whether because of the vagueness of the law, or the fact that sodomy is of little concern to the Swedes, there are no cases of sodomy brought to trial, in Stockholm, before the seventeenth century.
1568 Spain - Felipe II orders the death of all sodomites in his realms. His reign which lasts until 1598 and is extremely oppressive. Just before his death, he reaffirms the death penalty for sodomy. Among those charged are Antonio Perez, Felipe's secretary, and the Count of Villamediana.
In Sicily, under Felipe's control, there is a tradition of tolerance for male-male sexuality. The local authorities resist, and succeed in handing down lesser sentences in a great many cases. The Papal Inquisition in Sicily refused jurisdiction over sodomy.
1569 Mexico - López Medel refers to the "nefarious & widespread customs" of homosexuality among the Mexicans and Guatemalans.
c1570 Italy - Church trials in Loreto reveal that a choir boy was passed around among the older monks, canons and musicians of the church.
1572 Spain - The first sodomite is burned by the Inquisition of Valencia, beginning the first of two prolonged periods of persecution from 1571-90, and again in 1621-30.
1578 Belgium - The issue of homosexuality becomes caught up in the struggle for power between Protestants and Catholics in the Low Countries. A number of Franciscan friars are executed in Bruges on charges of sodomy, while in Ghent, eight Franciscans and six Augustinians are burned at the stake by the Protestants. There are few trials after 1579, when the Low Countries are divided into the largely Calvinist Northern Provinces, that would become the Netherlands, and the Catholic Southern Provinces, now Belgium.
1578 Rome - Several "marriages" between Portuguese men are reportedly celebrated in a Roman church. They lived together for some time before they were arrested and burned at the stake.
1585 Spain - In Seville the authorities make an example of a black man accused of sodomy and procuring young boys. His face painted, and dressed in a lace ruff and curly wig, he is marched through the streets to be burned at the stake.
1590 Netherlands - The military law, Articul-Brief, covering the conduct of soldiers and sailors, calls for the death penalty for sodomy.
1590 Geneva - During a war with the Duke of Savoy, a fortress is captured where Turkish prisoners work as galley slaves. Three of them confess to homosexual acts and are burned at the stake, along with two French soldiers who they implicate.
c1590 England - David Baker alleges that homosexuality among students is common at his school, Broadgate Hall, as well as at Oxford.
17th Century AD
1601 Belgium - Antwerp. A Jesuit is burned at the stake for sodomy.
1605 China - The Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci includes an engraving of the destruction of Sodom in his essay in Chinese on "Depraved Sexuality", thus introducing Western attitudes towards homosexuality to China.
1605 France - A parody of the court of Henri II, Island of the Hermaphrodites, is published by Thomas Artus.
1607 Virginia - Before the departure of the ships that left the first settlers (all male) in Virginia, one settler reports that "allowance was somewhat bettered, by a daily proportion of biscuits which the sailors would pilfer to sell, give or exchange with us, for money, sassafras, furs or love."
1608 Sweden - King Charles IX adds an "appendix" to the penal code listing crimes "abstracted from the Holy Scriptures." Section IV states, "Thou shalt not sleep with a boy as with a woman, for this is abomination. And they both shall die, their blood is upon them." This is the first specific mention of sodomy in Swedish law.
1610 Geneva - Prominent Geneva official Pierre Canal arrested for high treason and attempted homicide, confesses under torture to being a homosexual and implicates more than twenty other men. Canal is broken on the wheel for treason, and burned for sodomy. Eleven other men are tried that year. Of the four who confess, three are drown, and one escapes. Six do not confess and are banished, while the most prominent of the accused receives a heavy fine and loss of political privileges.
1618 Belgium - Two women are tried for sodomy in Bruges.
1620 Portugal - As in Aragon, the persecution of sodomites reaches its greatest intensity in the period between 1620-34. In the 18th century sodomy trials are uncommon. In the period from 1567 to 1794, there are 4,419 accusations and confessions of sodomy Fewer than ten percent are arrested or tried, and only 30 sodomites are burned at the stake by the Portuguese Inquisition.
1621 Spain - Beginning of a period of intense persecution of homosexuals by the various Spanish Inquisitions, that lasts till the mid-1630's.
1624 Virginia - The Virginia Council and General Court meeting from November 30, 1624 through February 6, 1625 finds Richard Cornish, a ships captain, guilty of a sexual attack on William Cowse, his indentured servant and steward. He is found guilty of buggery and executed.
1629 Massachusetts - "This day we examined 5 beastly sodomitical boys, which confessed their wickedness not to be named. The fact was so foul we reserved them to be punished by the governor when we came to new England." From the Journal of the Rev. Francis Higgeson.
On September 29, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony requests the Massachusetts Bay Company "...advise what punishment may be inflicted upon them". Their fate is unknown.
1631 England - In a trial before the House of Lords, Lord Audley, the Earl of Castlehaven, is found guilty of promoting a rape on his wife, and of sodomizing his pages while they raped her.
1635 New Hampshire - "Capt. Wiggin, Governor of Pascutaquack, under Lords Say and Brook wrote to our governor, desiring to have two men tried here, who had committed sodomy with each other and that on the Lord's day in time of public exercise. The governor and divers of the assistants met and conferred about it but did not think fit to try them here."
1637 Plymouth Colony - John Alexander and Thomas Roberts are 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 Alexander found to have been formerly notoriously guilty that way, and seeking to allure others there unto. The said John Alexander was therefore censured by the Court to be severely whipped, and burnt in the shoulder with a hot iron, and to be perpetually banished the government of New Plymouth, and if he be at anytime found within the same, to be whipped out again..." 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."
1638 Sicily - Dr. Marti Real observes that throughout Italy sodomy is treated with far greater leniency than the enormity of the offense deserves.
1640 Ireland - John Attherton, Anglican bishop of Waterford and Lismore is hanged for a combination of adultery, incest and sodomy. An illustrated pamphlet of the case includes an engraving of Atherton and his male lover.
1642 Plymouth Colony - "Edward Mitchell, 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, and once more at Barnestable, in convenient time, in the presence of Mr Freeman and the committee of the said town."
"Edward Preston, for his lewd practices tending to Sodomy with Edward Mitchell, and pressing John Keene there unto, is also censured to be forthwith whipped at Plymouth, and once more at Barnestable, etc. John Keene, because he resisted the temptation & used means to discover it, is appointed to stand by whilst Mitchell and Preston are whipped, though in some things he was faulty."
1644 England - In his authoritative commentary, Laws of England, Edward Coke opines that "If any person shall commit buggery with mankind or beast...(they are guilty) of a felony without benefit of clergy." Buggery is defined as "a detestable and abominable sin, amongst Christians not to be named...our ancient Authors do conclude that it deserveth death...though they differ in the manner of punishment."
1644 Italy - Some Franciscans take the unusual step of praising the practice of sodomy.
1646 New Haven Colony - The New Haven court executes William Plaine, though married he is found to have committed sodomy with two persons in England and has "corrupted a great part of the youth of Guilford by masturbations...above a hundred times."
1646 New Netherlands Colony - Jan Creoli, a Negro is sentenced for a second sodomy offense, "to be conveyed to the place of public execution, and there choked to death, and then burnt to ashes. Manuel Congo a ten year old, "...on whom the above abominable crime was committed", is sentenced, "to be carried to the place where Creoli is to be executed, tied to a stake, and faggots piled around him, for justice sake, and to be flogged."
1652 Venice - Antonio Rocco's anonymous defense of pederasty, Alcibiade Fanciullo a Scola, is published.
1653 New Haven Colony - A complaint is made to the Governor of "sundrie youths in the Town that had committed much wickedness in a filthy corrupting way one with another, they were called before the Governor and Magistrates" Upon confessing several youths are sentenced to be publicly whipped.
1654 Belgium - The sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy is strangled and burnt at the stake for seducing two boys 8 and 11.
1658 Mexico - Fourteen men convicted of sodomy are burned at the stake in Mexico City.
c1660 England - Dildoes, imported from Italy, and condoms first become available in London. Sold at the Sign of the Cross in St. James' Street. A century later they are still being imported. Neither listed as dutiable nor prohibited goods, a consignment is none-the-less ordered destroyed by embarrassed customs officials.
1660 New Netherlands Colony - Having plead guilty to sodomy, Jan Quisthout van dar Linde, a soldier, is sentenced "to be taken to the place of execution and there stripped of his arms, his sword to be broken at his feet, and he to be then tied in a sack and cast into the river and drowned until dead." Hendrick Harmensen, on whom the crime was committed is sentenced to be privately whipped.
1663 New Hampshire - A wife falsely accuses her husband of sodomy and hires their servant to testify against him. She is sentenced to be whipped 20 times and the servant 10 times.
1666 England - Anthony Wood alleges that the electors to a Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, had chosen a handsome young man with a view to "kissing and slobbering" him.
1669 England - Drawing a parallel between flogging and homosexuality in public schools, an anonymous pamphlet argues from the point of view of school boys that "our sufferings are of that nature as makes our schools to be not merely houses of correction, but of prostitution, in this vile way of castigation in use, wherein our secret parts...must be the anvil exposed to the immoralist and filthy blows of the smiter."
A late 16th Century Dutch writer widely read in England, believed that God in his wisdom had formed the buttocks so that they could be severely beaten without causing serious bodily harm. The late 16th and early 17th centuries are, in England, the great age of flogging. Every village and town sported a whipping post.
Dr. Busby of Westminister School and Dr. Gill of St. Paul's are notorious for their savagery. Ben Johnson described a schoolmaster as a man accustomed to "sweeping his living from the posteriors of little children."
1677 Connecticut - Nicholas Sessions, a relatively wealthy resident of Windsor, is brought to trial for sodomy. (In 1640 Sessions had refused to testify against Aaron Starke, accused and convicted of buggery with a heifer). Testimony reveals that Sessions had propositioned numerous men in the community over a thirty year period, suggesting a greater tolerance than is usually assumed. Session's property is to be held in bond to guarantee his good behavior for his lifetime. He lived another 12 years, without further incident.
c1678 France - The homosexual members of the court of Louis XIV organize a secret society. When the Count de Vermandois, a son of the king, non too discretely requests admission in 1681, the king learns of its existence, and suppresses it the following year.
1683 Denmark - The Danish Law Book, Danske Lov, of King Christian V proscribed burning at the stake for sodomy.
1684 Spain - The conviction for sodomy of the distinguished cleric, Fray Manuel Sanchez del Castellar y Arbustan, leads to his exile and silencing, It also signals a growing mildness in sentencing by the Spanish Inquisition.
1698 England - During the trial of the foppish Captain Rigby for attempted seduction of a boy he met in a park, the following testimony is preserved. When the young man protests that he should go after women, Rigby is said to have replied, "D-mn 'em, they are all pox'd, I'll have nothing to do with them." A then current theory explaining the seeming increase in homosexuality was that men turned to boys in order to avoid rampant venereal disease. The argument is problematic.
1699 England - Groups of sodomites are arrested in London and at Windsor.
18th Century AD
1702 Netherlands - The trial of Gabriel de Berger reveals special signs that homosexuals used to recognize each other, and where they cruised in the Hague. Two men are executed for sodomy in Rotterdam
1706 Russia - Peter the Great issues a new military legal code based on Sweden's military code. It is the first Russian law to penalize consensual male homosexuality. Prescribing burning at the stake for sodomy, it is not known to have been enforced. A 1716 revision prescribes corporal punishment, reserves the death penalty for rape, or use of violence. The code applies only to the military. Peter reputedly dabbled in bisexuality.
1707 England - A number of men are convicted for sodomy after being entrapped by agents of the Societies of the Reformation of Manners. The Societies sent agents into known homosexual hangouts on London Bridge, and around the arcades of the Royal Exchange.
1708 New York - Infamous transvestite Edward Hyde is withdrawn as Governor of New York and New Jersey. He is not believed to have been homosexual.
1709 England - London. Entrapment of homosexuals at the arcades of Covent Gardens, and at the public latrines in the Savoy and Temple. Three of the accused commit suicide in jail.
Edward Ward publishes The Secret History of Clubs, an exposé of homosexual hangouts in London.
1710 England - John Dunton reports that prostitutes had "burnt so many beaus, that now he-whores are coming into use...a new society...call'd s-d--ites; men worse than goats, who dressed themselves in petticoats."
1715 England - Dudley Ryder reports that "among the chief men in some of the colleges, sodomy is very usual. It is dangerous sending a young man who is beautiful to Oxford."
1716 Denmark - Professor Ludvig Holberg, in his Introduction to Natural International Law, while stating that "we must condemn the evil vice", he goes on to argue that "the authorities cannot punish vices which are practiced by so many, and which are so firmly embedded that to eradicate the evil would be to cause the disintegration of the whole state. And if they are but works of darkness and are not generally noticed and of little consequence, why trouble the authorities by calling their attention to them?"
1716 Netherlands - Dutch military law mandates capital punishment for "unnatural misuses."
1717 Netherlands - Rotterdam. A network of sodomites is discovered. Several are banished.
1718 North Carolina - John Clark sues William and Edward Winn for libeling him by accusing him of attempting to bugger them. There is no record of the outcome of the trial.
c1720 England - Jonathan Wild reports that William Hitchen, the Under-Marshall of London, offered to introduce him to a company of homosexual prostitutes, and that in revenge for having been rejected, Hitchen had a group of homosexuals in drag arrested while returning from a ball in Holburn.
1725 France - The Paris police maintain a list of known pederasts, reputed to contain 20,000 names
1726 England - Trial of homosexuals, and expose of homosexual resorts, among them Mother Clap's house in Field Lane, Holburn.
1730 Netherlands - Mass persecution of homosexuals in Holland and Utrecht. 60 men are executed. After prosecutions begin in Utrecht in the Spring of 1730 the towns of Groningen and the state of Holland pass special statutes against sodomy, allowing the courts to try suspects who fled in absentia so that their property could be confiscated.
The discovery of a nationwide network of sodomites leads to over 300 trials throughout the Netherlands, about half of them by default after the accused had fled. The most notorious persecutions are led by the country squire Rudolph do Mepsche, in Groningen province. On September 24, 1731, 22 men and boys from Faan and other nearby villages are executed. Others are kept in prison, without a trial, until 1747. DeMepsche is accused of attempting to get rid of political rivals.
Capital punishment applies only in cases of ejaculation in ano with another man. It is imposed in about 10% of the cases. Prison terms of up to 50 years, banishment, confiscation of property, and corporal punishment are more common. Sentences handed down: 1730, 8 in Frisia, 12 in Holland, 21 in Leiden, and 12 in Amsterdam; in 1731 there are 40 sentences handed down in Holland. There are another 33 trials of unknown sentences.
1731 England - William Pulteney publicly accuses Lord Hervey of homosexuality.
1732 Mexico - Jose Manuel Garcia del Valle y Araujo, chaplain of a hospital in Mexico City, founded by Cortes for the treatment of syphilis, publishes a novena, or prayer addressed to St Boniface to intercede with God to rid the homosexual of his "dishonorable vice". The novena is reprinted well into the 19th century.
1734 Sweden - The penal code contains no reference to sodomy, although bestiality is retained as a capital offense. The law commission believed it was "not advisable to mention more sodomitical sins; it is instead better to keep silent as if they were not known, and if such a bad thing happens that they occur, let them be punished anyway."
1734 Georgia - Savannah. A man convicted of inciting others to sodomy, receives three hundred lashes under the gallows.
1739 England - The Warden of Wadham College is accused of attempted rape of a student. There are also rumors of other homosexual activities between dons and students. The Warden left the country hurriedly for France, and the episode is hushed up by the heads of the college.
c1740 England - Condoms made of sheep gut and secured with a red ribbon tied around the scrotum are sold by a Mrs Lewis in a shop in St Martin's Lane in London. They are used primarily as a prophylactic against disease and secondarily for birth control. Only in London and Paris are condoms openly manufactured, advertised and sold.
1740 China - The Manchu Qing government enacts a male rape law and for the first time in Chinese history outlaws sodomy between consenting males.
1744 Denmark - A married weaver is sentenced to two years hard labor, followed by his banishment from the province of Jutland, for having a sexual relation with a boy.
1764 Italy - On Crimes and Punishment by Cesare Beccaia, calls for an end to torture and the inhuman punishment of convicts, as well as the abolition of the death penalty for sodomy. This book has an important influence on European legal reform.
1764 Netherlands - Amsterdam trials reveal that the arcades of the town hall, dark parts of churches and public urinals, as well as parks and theaters were favored as homosexual meeting places. There are by mid-century taverns where homosexuals from a broad range of rank and social status meet. There are ten convictions for sodomy, and another 61 cases in which no sentences are recorded.
1772 England - A Captain Robert James is executed for sodomy. The more usual penalty by this time is the pillory.
1776 Netherlands - In the wake of a new wave of persecutions, an anonymous tract attributed to Abraham Perrenot, legal advisor to William V of Orange, defends homosexuals as doing little harm to society and argues that it should only be considered a crime when committed with under age boys. There are 4 convictions for sodomy in Amsterdam, and another 16 without recorded sentences.
1781 Belgium - Jan Stockaert is tried for sodomy, after having confessed to having sex with hundreds of boys. The court in Antwerp did not sentence Stockaert to death, but sought advise on sentencing from the Secret Council in Brussels. As a result, the court executed Stockaert secretly within the prison, a departure from the usual more public nature of executions for sodomy.
1783 France - The list of known or suspected pederasts maintained by the Paris police has reputedly grown to 40,000 names.
1786 Pennsylvania - Reduces the penalty for Sodomy from death to hard labor.
1787 Austria - Emperor Joseph II's penal code revision eliminates torture, and cruel punishment, reduced the number of capital offenses, and reduces the penalty for homosexuality from death at the stake to life imprisonment.
1791 France - The Code Penal, growing out of the French Revolution, treats homosexual behavior the same as heterosexual behavior, requiring only that they take place in private, between consenting adults.
1795 Belgium - With the French invasion of Belgium, and the adoption of the Code Penal, homosexual behavior is decriminalized.
1796 Netherlands - Beginning of a new wave of persecution of sodomites in Amsterdam. There are 12 sentences handed down in 1796, 5 in 1797, and 19 in 1798. Judicial torture is abolished in 1798.
1797 Australia - Francis Wilkenson is the first man to be charged with Buggery in Australia. Wilkenson is acquitted.
1797 England - Homosexual scandal involving the Rev. John Fenwick.
19th Century AD
1803 Netherlands - The last known execution for sodomy in the Netherlands occurs in the town of Schiedan, near Rotterdam.
1804 France - Following the example of the Code Penal of the French revolution, the Napoleonic Code provides no penalty for consensual sex, in private, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
1806 England - There are more executions for sodomy than for murder this year.
1809 Netherlands - The criminal code for Holland sets the maximum sentence for sodomy at life imprisonment. Two years later with Napoleons annexation of Holland, the French penal code is introduced, having the effect of decriminalizing sodomy.
1810 England - Four out of five convicted sodomites are hanged.
1811 England - Ensign John Hepburn, and Drummer Thomas White are "launched into eternity" before a "vast concourse of spectators including many notables and members of the Royal Family" for the crime of sodomy.
Ireland - Jocelyn Percy, Bishop of Clogher is involved in a homosexual scandal in Dublin. He is not prosecuted.
1812 England - Homosexual scandal involving the Rev. V.P. Littlehales.
c1813 England - The Phoenix of Sodom, or the Vere Street Coterie, by Robert Holloway published in London, c1813. An exposé of the early 19th century London homosexual underworld.
1816 England - Four members of the crew of the Africaine are hung for buggery after a major naval scandal.
1822 Spain - The death penalty for Sodomy is eliminated in the first liberal Spanish penal code, which refers only to "unchaste abuses".
1822 England - Homosexual scandal involving Percy Jocelyn, Bishop of Clogher. He escapes punishment by fleeing to Scotland.
1832 Russia - The legal code of Nicholas I, patterned after that of the German principality of Wurtemberg, includes Articles 995, which prohibited muzhelozhstvo, or anal intercourse, the only form of homosexual sexuality covered by Russian law. The penalty is deprivation of rights, and exile to Siberia for 4 or 5 year
1844 United States - A group of rebellious Mormon's issue the opposition paper the Expositor, attacking Joseph Smith's leadership of the Mormons in Nauvoo, Illinois. A mob of Mormons encouraged by Smith destroys the papers press and tries the leaders of the rebellion in absentia. Among the charges against them is "spicy testimony" regarding conduct with girls, and it is charged that Francis Higbee and John C Bennett had ruined young men, as well. There is no mention of polygamy, whose practice among the Mormon leadership is an open secret.
1852 Austria - Penal code revision criminalizes lesbianism, while reducing the penalties for male homosexuals.
1855 United States - The Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman is published.
1861 England - Offenses Against the Person Act. The penalty for buggery is reduced from a capital offense to 10 years to life. This was a part of an ongoing process of removing numerous crimes from the category of capital offenses, and does not reflect any particular interest in sodomy, per se.
1864 Sweden - Paragraph 18:10 of the new penal code "If anyone, with another person, engages in fornication against nature, or if anyone engages in fornication with an animal, he shall be punished with hard labor in prison up to two years."
1864 Prussia - Pioneer sexologist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs publishes his first studies on homosexuality, Vindex and Inclusa.
1866 Denmark - The death penalty for sodomy is reduced to imprisonment.
1867 Germany - Kark Heinrich Ulrichs speaks out for the rights of homosexuals at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich.
1867 Germany - J.B. von Schweitzer is elected head of the Universal German Workingmen's Association upon the death of its founder, Ferdinand Lassalle. In the early 1860's Schweitzer had been arrested on a homosexual charge in Mannheim. Lassalle defended Schwietzer, and urged him to remain active in politics and join his Universal German Workingmen's Association.
1868 Rome - Pope Leo XIII discontinues the long-standing practice of castrating young boys for the choirs of the Sistine chapel.
1869 Prussia - The term "homosexuality" is coined by the Hungarian sexologist, Dr. Karoly Maria Benkert (pseudonym K. M. Kertbeny). He also wrote a letter in this year to the Prussian minister arguing against the adoption of Paragraph 175 of the Prussia Penal Code, criminalizing male homosexuality.
1871 England - Ernest Boulton and Federick William Park are arrested for indecent behavior, cross dressing in public. The trial, held before the Lord Chief Justice in Westminster Hall, becomes a public spectacle.
1871 Prussia - The Reichstag adopts a new penal code including Paragragh 175 which criminalized male homosexuality.
1872 Germany - With the unification of Germany the Prussian Penal Codes crimialization of homosexual acts is extended to all parts of Germany.
1879 Sweden - Popular philosopher Pontus Wikner, secretly writes, but never publishes a pamphlet called "Psychological Confessions," which demanded the same rights of sexual expression and marriage for homosexuals, as heterosexuals.
1883 England - John Addington Symonds privately and anonymously prints his essay A Problem in Greek Ethics, the first serious study of homosexuality printed in English.
1885 England - Until the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, the only chargeable offense is anal sex based on the Sodomy law of Henry VIII. Under the Amendment, "acts of gross indecency" between men is punishable by up to two years of hard labor, thus crimalizing all homosexual acts, as well as the procuring of such acts.
1886 Netherlands - Because of liberal dominance of the parliament the criminal code of 1886 provides no penalty for same sex behavior, and set the age of consent at 14.
1889 Italy - The Italian Penal Code, like the Code Napoleon, is silent on the subject of homosexual sex.
1889 England - The Cleveland Street Scandal, London. Involves a house of male prostitution and members of the British nobility, including Albert, who is the third in line to the throne. The Earl of Euston is rumored to have been arrested, and the names of Lords Henry, Somerset, Beaumont, Seaton and Dudley are mentioned in connection with the case.
1891 England - The word "homosexual" is introduced into the English language by J. A. Symonds in his A Problem in Modern Ethics.
1892 England - Charles Gilbert Chaddock, the translator of Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis, is credited with introducing the word "homosexuality" into the English language.
c1892 New York - Lincoln Stevens, comments on the raid on a tavern catering to homosexuals. "There were fairies; there were all sorts of perverts; and they had a recognized standing in the demi-world; they had their saloons, where they were 'protected' by the police for a price. The raid...was due to a failure of some one to come through with the regular bit of blackmail overdue."
1895 England - Edward Carpenter gives a public lecture in Manchester on "homogenic love", which is published as a pamphlet by the Manchester Labour Press.
1895 England - Trial of Oscar Wilde, March 3-May 26. The trial raises the topic of homosexuality in all of the English speaking world, and most of Europe.
1896 England Edward Carpenter's Towards Democracy, and Love's Coming of Age are published by the Manchester Labour Press, after being refused by more mainstream publishers.
1896 Germany - Adolph Brand begins publishing Die Eigene (The Special), the first homosexual periodical.
1897 England - London police arrest the bookseller and confiscate all available copies of Sexual Inversion by Havelock Ellis. His Studies in the Psychology of Sex is published in German to avoid English censorship.
1897 Germany - Dr Magnus Hirschfeld founds the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, the worlds first homosexual rights organization. The main thrust of the Committee is the repeal of the German Penal Code, Paragraph 175. The goals of the Committee are to overturn the criminalization of homosexuality, enlighten public opinion and to interest the homosexual himself in the struggle for his rights.
This same year the Committee launched the petition drive to repeal Paragraph 175, that eventually collects more than 6,000 signatures of prominent Germans. It was presented to the Reichstag on March 18, 1922. The Committee was destroyed by the Nazis in l933.
Germany - K. H. Ulrichs dies.
1898 Germany - August Bebel, the Social Democratic leader argues in the Reichstag for repeal of Paragraph 175.
England - The Vagrancy Act of 1898 states that any man "who solicited or importuned for immoral purposes, was to be deemed a rogue and a vagabond" under the terms of the act. The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1912 set the sentence at 6 months in prison, with flogging for a second offense.
1899 Germany The Scientific Humanitarian Committee begins publication of the Jahrbuch fur Sexuelle Zwischenstufen - The Yearbook for Intermediate Sexual Types, containing literary, political, historical, anthropological and scientific studies on the subjects relating to homosexuality. It continues to appear until 1923.
1899 New York - The Mazet Committee investigating public corruption in New York city includes testimony about resorts of male degenerates. Manila Hall, Paresis(Columbia) Hall, the Palm, the Black Rabbit, Little Bucks, the Artistic Club, and the Fifth Avenue Hotel are mentioned as homosexual hangouts.
20th Century AD
1901 France - Oscar Wilde dies in an obscure Paris hotel. Alfred Douglas is by his side.
1902 Germany - The Community of the Special is founded by Benedict Freidlander as a more cultured approach to the homosexual struggle. Its publication Der Eigene (The Special) is concerned with art and masculine culture.
1903 Germany - The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee issues a pamphlet for mass circulation entitled What the People Should Know About the Third Sex.
1905 Germany - Parliamentary debate to repeal paragraph 175 led by the Social Democrats in the Reichstag.
1906 Sweden - Paul Burger Diether, the contact person for the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, in Stockholm, announces a lecture on homosexuality, which is suppressed by the authorities.
1906 Austria - A branch of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee is established in Vienna, by engineer Joseph Nicoladoni, and psychoanalyst Wilhelm Stekel.
1907 Sweden - A homosexual scandal involves industrialist and designer, Nils Santesson.
Germany - Six military officers commit suicide after being blackmailed. In the previous three years some 20 military officers are court martialed for homosexual offenses, including Lt General Wilhelm Count von Hohenau, a relative of the Kaiser.
Germany - Freidrich Heinrich, the Prince of Prussia declines his investiture as Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St John, explaining that his homosexual orientation made him unsuitable for the post.
Germany - The Moltke-Eulenberg scandal begins to unfold. Prince Eulenberg's circle included Gen. Count Kuno Moltke, Count Johannes Lynar, Count Fritz, Wilhelm Hohenau, Freidrich Krupp.
On April 27, the journalist Maximilian Harden publicly reveals Eulenberg's homosexuality, and suggests he have the decency to follow the example of Prince Freidrich Heinrich and go into exile.
Germany - May 2. The Kaiser is made aware of the growing scandal and is given a list of 15 suspected homosexuals among his acquaintances. The Kaiser demands that Hohenau, Lynar and Moltke resign their commissions, and that Eulenberg either clear himself or go into exile.
Germany - July. The district attorney of his home district clears Eulenberg of violating Paragraph 175 of the penal code.
Germany - More than 2,000 people attend a debate on Paragraph 175 in Berlin addressed by Dr Hirschfeld.
Germany - August Bebel, the leader of the German Social Democrats speaks for the second time in the Reichstag for the repeal of Paragraph 175.
Germany - October, 29. The opening of a libel suit by Moltke against Harden. The trial confirms Moltke's homosexuality, and Harden is acquitted of libel.
Germany - November 6. Beginning of the libel trial of Chancellor Bulow against Adolph Brand. Ignoring police evidence that Bulow is being blackmailed, in a political cover-up, the court sentences Brand to 18 months in prison.
1908 Germany - January 4. The Moltke - Harden re-trial opens December 18, 1907. A political cover-up Moltke is cleared, while Harden is sentenced to 4 months in prison.
Germany - April 21. A phony libel trial set up with a friendly publisher allows Harding to prove in court that Eulenberg has had homosexual affairs, and perjured himself in previous trials when he denied the fact. Public opinion leads to charges being brought against Eulenberg on May 7.
Germany - June 29. Trial of Prince Eulenberg begins. Eulenberg feigned ill health, and the trial is postponed for almost a year.
Germany - During Kaiser Wilhelm's annual hunt to the Black Forest, the chief of the Military Directorate drops dead of a heart attack while performing for the assembled guests in a tutu. The incident is hushed up. Soon after the Kaiser suffers a nervous breakdown.
United States - The Intersexes, by Xavier Mayne (Edward Stevenson) Privately printed, it is the first American work to deal with homosexuality. In it Stevenson gives some description of the homosexual culture of his time. Homosexual resorts in New York city, and elsewhere were masked as "a literary club, athletic societies, dramatic societies or a chess club", steambaths and resturants are plentifully known to the initiated". The homosexual capitals of the U.S., are New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, St Louis, San Francisco, Milwaukee, New Orleans and Philadelphia.
U.S. - Lawyer Fiskher-Hansen is tried in New York for attempting to blackmail Philadelphia decorator Joseph E. O'Brien for $15,000. The lawyer is later acquitted.
1909 Germany - The trial of Prince Eulenberg is resumed on July 7, after a delay of almost a year. When Eulenberg faints during the first hour of the proceedings, the court grants Eulenberg a conditional postponement until he is well enough to stand trial. The trial is never re-convened.
1911 Netherlands - Dominated by a Christian Democratic majority, the Dutch Parliament passes a Morals Statute, to the Dutch Criminal Code. Article 248b sets the age of consent for heterosexuals at 16, while that for homosexual relations is 21.
The first homosexual rights organization is founded that same year, as the Dutch branch of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, by the jurist Jacob Schorer. Throughout its existence the organization meets with fierce opposition from both Catholic and Protestant groups. It is dissolved in 1940, when Schorer destroyed the membership lists just prior to the German invasion and occupation. Schorer's library is destroyed by the Nazis.
U.S. - Chicago Vice Commission issues "the Social Evil in Chicago". Dealing mostly with heterosexual prostitution, the report also describes a largely effeminate segment of Chicago homosexual life.
1914 England - Havelock Ellis and Edward Carpenter found the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology. The Society emphasizes an educational approach, and has a special homosexual subcommittee.
U.S. - In his Moral Conditions of Seamen, Dr McMurtrie reports that "In a recent conversation with a gentleman conversant with all phases of the seaman's life, I was told that homosexual practices among sailors had decreased in recent years to a notable extent. This he considered to be due to several causes, the most important being the passing of long voyages...another reason...was the rise of public sentiment condemning it among the men."
Austria - A branch of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee is established in Vienna.
1915 U.S. The Anarchist Emma Goldman lectures on homosexuality during her speaking tour of the U.S.
1916 Ireland - Roger Casement, the Irish patriot is executed in l916. During his trial Casement is abandoned by many of his supporters, when the authorities reveal detailed diaries Casement kept of his frequent encounters with young men.
Sweden - Mauritz Stiller, and Axel Esbensen produce the first Swedish film with a gay theme, Vingarne ("The Wings").
1917 U.S. - The Immigration Act of 1917 excludes from immigration into the U.S. of "persons of constitutional psychopathic inferiority". This wording is construed to include homosexuals.
USSR - The Bolshevik government removes all Tzarist laws, including those regulating sexual behavior. A period of sexual freedom and experimentation follows immediately after the revolution.
1918 US - "Recently, in San Francisco, a 'vice club' was raided. The gruesome revelations pertaining to this club of homosexualists invited the attention of the military authorities, who saw the corruption that must necessarily ensue among the soldiery if it were not summarily suppressed."
Germany - Dr. Hirschfeld speaks to a mass rally in front of the Reichstag in support of the German Revolution then taking place.
1919 US - April. Twenty sailors are arrested for homosexual activities at the Newport Rhode Island Naval Training Station.
July. Sixteen civilians are arrested on homosexual charges in connection with investigations instituted by the Newport Naval Training Station.
Germany - The Institute for Sexual Science is founded by Dr Hirschfeld in Berlin
Sweden - The first Swedish sexology book dealing with homosexuality is published by Dr. Anton Nystrom.
1920 Germany - A public lecture by Dr. Hirschfeld in Munich is physically attacked.
1920 US - When an Episcopal clergyman is accused of soliciting homosexual contacts at the Newport, Rhode Island YMCA, where he worked; protests by members of the Newport Ministerial Union, and the Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island, and a campaign by the Providence Journal forced the Navy to conduct a further inquiry into the methods used in uncovering homosexual activity at the Newport Naval Training Station. The investigation is critical of the methods used, but clears the officers who ordered them of any wrong doing. The ministers then turn to the Republican controlled Senate Naval Affairs Committee, which investigates the charges. Their report "Alleged Immoral Conditions at Newport", issued in l921, condemns the conduct of naval officers, including Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, for the methods used to entrap homosexuals. Riverside Drive in New York is referred to as a cruising spot in the report.
1921 US - The Army issues psychiatric screening regulations excluding men with feminine physical characteristics, and "sexual perverts". These regulations remain in effect until just before World War II.
Germany - Eros Theater, a gay theater is established in Berlin.
Germany - Dr. Hirschfeld is attacked by a gang of anti-Semites in Munich, and is left in the street for dead.
1922 Germany - The Scientific Humanitarian Committee presents its petition to de-criminalize homosexuality to the Reichstag.
Germany - German Foreign Minister Rathenau, a democrat, Jew and homosexual is assassinated by right-wing extremists.
USSR - The Soviet Criminal Code makes no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual consensual adult sexuality, nor does it regulate such sexuality.
1923 USSR - Sexual Life of Contemporary Youth, by Izrail Gel'man, published in Moscow by the People's Commissariat of Public Health states that "Science has now established, with precision that excludes all doubt, (homosexuality) is not ill will or crime, but sickness..."
Austria - A meeting addressed by Dr Hirschfeld in Vienna is attacked by Nazi youth who open fire, wounding many in the audience.
USSR - A pamphlet, "The Sexual Revolution in Russia", by Grigorii Batki, the director of the Moscow Institute of Social Hygiene is published. In it he states, "Concerning homosexuality...Soviet legislation treats these exactly the same as so-called "natural" intercourse. All forms of sexual intercourse are a private matter."
England - The British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology prints an abridged translation of the German pamphlet What the People Should Know About the third Sex, as The Problem of Sexual Inversion.
1925 US - The State of Illinois issues a charter to the Society for Human Rights, founded by Henry Gerber, and dedicated to "promote and protect the interests" of people who, because of "mental and physical abnormalities" are hindered in the pursuit of happiness. This represents the first guarded attempt to found a homosexual rights organization in the US. Members of the group are arrested for publishing an "obscene" paper, and Gerber loses his job as a postal clerk.
1926 Germany - Albert Moll, German sexologist organizes the first Congress for Sex Research in Berlin. He did not invite Dr Hirschfeld, arguing that he confused science with propaganda, and that if he had attended, many other important people would not have.
1927 US - Controversy over The Captive, a play with a lesbian theme ends with the New York state legislature outlawing "sexual perversion" as a theme on any of the state's stages. The law remains on the books until 1967.
1928 Denmark - The World League for Sexual Reform holds its first congress in Copenhagen.
1929 England - The World League for Sexual Reform holds its second congress in London.
US - Raid on the Lafayette Baths in New York City.
US - The Well of Loneliness, is published in the US.
1930 USSR - The article on homosexuality, by Mark Sereisky, in the 1930 issue of The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, calls it a "sexual attraction counter to nature," and a form of mental illness. Sereisky believed homosexuality could be cured by transplanting testicles from heterosexual men into homosexuals (once the problem of tissue rejection could be worked out.) This represents a Stalinist shift from previous official soviet views of homosexuality. The earlier edition of the encyclopedia stated that "in the advanced capitalist countries the struggle for the abolition of these hypocritical (anti-sodomy) laws is at present far from over...Soviet law does not recognize 'crime' against morality..."
US - A new code of standards is adopted by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association, headed by Will Hays, stating that "Sex perversion or any inference of it is forbidden on the screen".
Denmark - The Danish parliament reforms its sodomy laws, the first Scandinavian country to do so.
Italy - In a discussion of a draft penal code , Mussolini argues that Italian men were so virile, they could not be homosexuals, and so Italy needed no law banning homosexuality, and that such a ban would frighten away degenerate foreigner tourists whose cash Italy needed. Like Napoleon III, Mussolini prefers to leave the issue outside the criminal code in order to avoid sensational trials. Bowing to German influence, persecution of Jews and homosexuals is stepped up, and after 1938 homosexuals are considered political offenders. The usual penalty was exile to remote parts of Italy.
1931 Germany - The German Communist party agrees to organization of an association under the auspices of Wilhem Reich, at that time a party member. The German Association for Proletarian Sexual Politics, or Sexpol reaches a membership of 20,000. A major plank of its program calls for the repeal of Paragraph 175
1932 Sweden - Coinciding with the campaign of the more mainstream based National Federation for Sexual Enlightenment, iron-mill worker Eric Thorsell begins a one man agitation, with newspaper articles and public lectures, against paragraph 18:10 of the penal code, criminalizing homosexuality.
1932 Poland - A uniform penal code, Kodeks karny, decriminalizes sodomy.
1933 Germany - The last of the irregular series of "Newsletters" of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee is published in February, by Kurt Hiller, who is arrested and sent to a concentration camp in July.
Germany - May 7, Kristalnacht. Nazi students attack Dr Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexual Science as the beginning of Hitler's crusade against the "Un-German Spirit".
Germany - The Nazis pass a law providing for "surgical castration as a therapy and crime prevention measure." Homosexuals are the major victims of this law.
USSR - Revision of the Soviet penal code outlaws consensual homosexuality, reflecting the growing Stalinist repression. Maxim Gorki writing in Pravda and Izvestia, calls it a "triumph of proletarian humanitarianism", and warned that the legalization of homosexuality had been the main cause of Fascism in Germany.
USSR - Mass arrests of gays are carried out in Moscow, Leningrad, Kharkov and Odessa. A large number of those arrested are actors, musicians and artists. Accused of engaging in "homosexual orgies" they receive years of imprisonment or exile in Siberia.
1934 USSR - The law punishing homosexual acts with imprisonment of up to eight years, becomes a federal statute through the active intervention of Stalin, thus requiring all the republics to insert the law into their penal codes.
Germany - The Night of the Long Knives. Hitler begins official persecution of homosexuals with the murder of his long time ally and head of the Storm Troops, Ernst Roehm.
1935 Europe - The World League for Sexual Reform is officially dissolved. With the rise of Nazism, and the betrayal of the Stalinist left, most European sections have already ceased to function.
Germany - Paragraph 175 is expanded to include kisses, embraces and homosexual fantasies.
Austria - Sigmund Freud writes his famous "Letter to an American Mother", in which he states, "Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of." The letter is first published in 1951.
1936 US - Richard Loeb, of the infamous Leopold and Loeb murder case is killed in a fight with another inmate in a Joliet prison toilet.
USSR - Commissar of Justice, Nikolai Krylenko, insists there is no reason for anyone to be a homosexual after two decades of socialism, and that people persisting in these practices are obviously "remnants of the exploiting classes", and as such deserve five years at hard labor.
US - Random House prints a 4 volume edition of Dr Havelock Ellis' Studies in the Psychology of Sex. Previous to its publication, only doctors and lawyers could legally purchase books dealing with human sexuality.
US - Manhattan Beach, California. A shouting, jeering mob of about 100 men and women severely beat William Haines, and drive about 19 of his friends out of town. The White Legion, a klan like group is involved in the attack, which is apparently provoked by rumors that a member of Haines party had molested a young boy.
Netherlands - General Treasurer Ries is accused of having sex with a minor. He loses his job, and is abandoned by the government even through the charges are withdrawn.
1937 US - In the wake of a heterosexual molestation, the New York City police begin compiling a list of all known "sex degenerates", including all men charged with sex crimes during the last 15 to 20 years.
Germany - Himmler issues a special order not to bother homosexual artists and actors, so long as they are not too flagrant. A special permission for an arrest is required.
Czechoslovakia - Hans Rutha, a high official in the Czech Nazi party, and an editor of the party paper, and five others are arrested, in October, on suspicion of homosexual offenses. The head of the party indicated that internal opposition within the party was responsible for denouncing Rutha and the others. Soon after his arrest in November Rutha kills himself. In December, members of the Nazi youth organization also face homosexual charges, but receive suspended sentences.
1939 England - Dr. Havelock Ellis dies.
1940 US - New York District Attorney Thomas Dewey breaks up a blackmail ring that had operated for many years.
1941 US - Navy issues induction directive implicitly disqualifying homosexuals. The Army Surgeon General issues induction screening directive including homosexuality as a disqualifying category. Selective Service follows suit.
1942 US - Detroit's Club Frontenac is raided and female impersonators arrested during a raid on a private party.
US - Atlantic City closes its burlesque and drag shows. The Chief of Police states, "Female impersonators as entertainers are out."
US - In order to head off a feared use of homosexuality by heterosexuals trying to avoid the draft, the Selective Service issued regulations requiring those admitting their homosexuality be referred back to their local boards, a regulation that discouraged homosexuals, as well, from declaring their sexuality.
US - Gustave Beekman is charged with operating a house of male prostitution near the Brooklyn Naval Yard. In an affidavit Beekman states that the house was frequented by two Germans who questioned men there about military movements and that a U.S Senator, David I Walsh, chairman of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee also frequented the house. Beekman serves 21 years in Sing Sing prison, while the FBI claims to have cleared Walsh. The New York Post calls it a whitewash.
France - The Vichy government of General Petain criminalizes homosexual acts with anyone under 21.
1942 US - San Francisco. A series of military inspired vice crack downs leads to the revocation of liquor licenses, and the placing of bars off limits. At least three gay oriented bars are included.
1943 US - Psychology for the Fighting Man, a popular paperback deals with the issue of situational homosexuality among recruits, and was tolerant of homosexuals in the military who were discrete.
US - San Francisco female impersonator nightclub Finocchios is cited for liquor violations and placed off limits to enlisted personnel.
US - Sumner Wells resigns as Under Secretary of State to forestall revelations of his homosexuality.
Sweden - The 1864 penal code prohibition against "fornication against nature", is interpreted to include lesbian sexuality.
1944 Sweden - Homosexuality, in private, between consenting adults is declared legal, although the age of consent is higher for homosexuals.
US - Military directive establishes homosexuality as a disqualification from the Women's Army Corps (WACS), thus clearing the way for a purge of lesbians at the wars end.
US - Purge of lesbians at Fort Oglethorpe, George, WAC Training center.
US - War Department Circular requires the discharge of homosexuals either apprehended or reported, those seeking advice or treatment from medical officers are excluded from the regulations.
US - Section VIII, Psychopathic Personality is added as a category for discharge from the military. A catch-all phrase that included homosexuality, as well as other traits the military considered unsuitable. Those receiving Section VII, or Blue Discharges, are excluded from all military benefits, which became a post-war grievance for many gay GIs.
US - San Francisco Poet, Robert Duncan publishes a defense of homosexuality, "The Homosexual in Society", in the periodical Politics.
1945 US - Veterans Benevolent Society is formed in New York City. Primarily a social organization for gay veterans, it becomes peripherally involved in the grievances of GIs denied benefits as a result of Section VIII discharges. It also offered educational programs.
US - A Quaker Emergency Committee is organized in New York City to assist gay men arrested for solicitation. The fact that it is headed by the rabidly homophobic Dr George Henry calls into question its claim to have helped some 15,000 sex offenders.
US - Veterans Administration denies GI Bill benefits to any serviceman discharged because of homosexuality, these instructions are renewed in 1946, and 1949.
US - War Department Circular #85 provides that homosexuals who had not committed any sexual offense would be given honorable discharges from the military.