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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 - The Perverse Adult, Part II.docx

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HIST 210
Steven J Maynard

The ‘Perverse Adult’: The Historical Emergence of Same-Sex Identities and Subcultures, Part II I. State Formation/Sexual Formation: Cold War Sexuality II. Late 19 -Century Sexual “Types” and “Kinds” III. The Law: Gross Indecency, 1890 IV. The Police: “Morality Squads” V. Capitalism and Sexual Identity VI. Ethnicity and Gender in Male Same-Sex Identities VII. In Parks, Lanes, and Lavatories: Urbanization and Sexual Identity VIII. Everyday Acts of Resistance Last Week: Highighted the role of print-culture in the maing of particular sexual identity; the lesbian identity. Thinking of sexuality as a historical formation. **Importance of the late 19 cwntury on the making of sexuality in Canada** I. State Formation/Sexual Formation: Cold War Sexuality • In the 1950s and 60s; height of the cold war in Canada • Lesbian and gay women/ men were considered a threat to Canadian state • Russian spies would seek gay males • Thought of them as weak • So they could give up all the Canadian secrets under erotic seduction • To find out what the Canadian government was doing o They got the documents that they requested. The state had blanked out parts of the document. • Book: The Canadian War on Queers: – Gary Kinsman and Patrizia o Long book o Topics:  Notion that homosexual had inner character weakness  Viewed homosexuality as an illness  Same-sex activity had been regarded as a sin, then a crime. In the post-war time it was seen as a mental-illness  Always changing the conceptualization of same-sex relations  The changing views of psychology. At its peak of cultural power/ influence in cold0war period.  In 1951 – that’s when it first emerges om Canada  Getting WW2; that’s when psychiatirts were used to weed out homosexuals in the army  In 1948 parliament passes criminal psychopathic legislation • Said that homosexuals were dangerous sexual psychopaths  In 1954-58; government establishes the Royal Commision on the Criminal, Sexual Psychopath  This insecurity was coupled with cold war sacredness – homosexuals should also be pruged. Political dissidence like communists but also this idea that homosexuals were also a national security threat. • How do you find the ‘Psychopaths’? o RCMP hired a professor from Carleton University to find homosexuals; Prof. Wiggs  Word Association Tests  Long lists of words  Queen; Circus; Whole (hole); Blind; Bull  True or false questions o Most infamous way – the Fruit Machine  A contraption got strapped into; shown erotic imagines  If pupils dialited over some images you were dubbed a homosexual and then fired from the national commission  This never got off the ground  He needed a control group  To prove that this could work they would have to  People refused because they were worried they would be detected as gay o They would send suspected gay people to their bosses office. Hundred of people were fired of civil service during the 50s and 60s o They would go down all departments and tally suspected homosexuals, actual homosexuals. • The more they did research they found that it went way out of Ottawa. • The RCMP would take notes at bar at the Lord Elgin Hotel, known gay bar o By the end had a list of 9000 names o We know that Sex Espionage Cases during the Cold War involve heterosexual liaisons • If it wasn’t really about State Security, what was it about. It was actually about heterosexuality. o How heterosexuality gets to be installed as the hegemonic. We should look at the States involvement (state formation – historical fore that shaped sexuality) o Accomplished by constantly prugong the state  Define the state by default by purging the govt. of queer people. Then left with a straight state. o Keep them from getting in the government in the first place. • Revision of the immigration Act – prostitutes, Homosexuals and Lesbians were including in the list o 1952 • The previous laws focused on sexual acts (sodomy, e.g.) could be barred for having a record of this. But by 1952, homosexuality is a status or type of person. Huge shift. This is not identifying an act. This is explicitely looking for a type of person. It marked out an identity. • If purging from the government of homosexuals and barring them from entering the country in the process of defining the state as straight II. Late 19 -Century Sexual “Types” and “Kinds” • Three Vignettes: o 1866, Montreal. La Presse – Homme-Femme, passers-by, vile passetimes. Slipped quickly back to the pleasures on their kind. o 1894, Halifax. Mary, several of the men she was dating. Mary was in fact Thomas. He strolled down the street and was able to pick up men. o 1898, Toronto. Bell-boys, they can tell you a lot from their own experience. Saying that the idea of Canada as ‘saintly’ is actually true. Oscar Wilde type. • Here links between sexual behaviours and sexual identity • How did we get from acts to identity? o Law  1892 – Canada gets a Criminal Code  Before then there were crimes like buggery, sodomy and those were not sexual crimes.  Was a nother 1886 –indecent assault. Any male person commiting indecent assault upon a female or a male. who thus creating the first homosexual offence.  In 1890 – gross indecency. Criminalized all physical intimate contact between men. Part of the problem, very difficult to prove crimes like sodomy and buggery. Also a higher level of evidenciary proof needed. With gross indecency – just holding hands (two men) could be considered breaking the law  Back to the 1892 criminal – makes them into law III. The Law: Gross Indecency, 1890 • Minister of Justice; Sir John Thompson; bill he presented about indecency. • It was beginning to occur • Not all MPs charged Thompson’s zeal to • Laurier objected the bill because it left gross indency undefined o “It is difficult to know what is a gross indency” • Mills (MP) - Crimes about morality, not crimes that hurt anyone so why are we entering these in the criminal code – 1892. A huge minority view • House of ____ passes the bill. And keeps the vague definition. Any contact between two men. Keeps the prison punishment – 5 years. And it adds flogging to the punishment. • Should crimes of this sort be punished – thought flogging could be a better deal than long term imprisonment. • 1969 – Trudeau, he partially decriminalized homosexuality ‘stay out of people’s bedrooms’ • Allowed the law to be interpreted • Represents a very obvious shift towards a more same-sex activity than a non- procreative activity. IV. The Police: “Morality Squads” • 1886 – Archibald ?, Appoints the Morality Department in Toronto o He is a key figure of the history of sexuality in Toronto o In charge of orchestrating police action against gay men o Houses of ill-fame, indecent assault, liquor vendors, etc. o First report in 1886, made many references of sex between men o Who were the men they were going after. o Documents used – court documents V. Capitalism and Sexual Identity o Key to understanding their experience… was their status as wage-earners  Overwhelmingly skilled and unskilled, working class workers  Reflected the predominance of the clothing, food and printing industry  Matched the economic profile of the city  Labourers were the most numerous  Some middle-class, office workers. Also the periods when Toronto is undergoing its administrative Revolution. – Men fille
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