Theories and terminology
*heterosexuality as an obscure medical term in the 1890s which referred to non-
procreative sex (sex for pleasure), which was assumed to be between men and
women, but by the 1930s, it had come to mean normal sexual intercourse between
opposite sex participants.
*queer was once a derogatory term but has since been reclaimed as a politically
charged term. Others have preferred the term LGBTQQI (Lesbian, gay, bi,
transGENDER, queer, questioning, intersex) as the most inclusive.
*Queer theory emerged from the 1960s and 1970s, inspired by anti-homosexual
attitudes in society and especially by the Stonewall Riots.
*attitudes towards homosexuality have a history of change.
*In Victorian Era, same sex relationships (aka Boston marriages) between women were
permitted and even encouraged, even if there was sometimes a sexual aspect to
women’s friendships. Same sex crushes and relationships became a tolerated part
of women’s culture.
*1920s/30s sexology defined 2 types of homosexuality: the invert & the pervert. The
invert who was the true homosexual, incurable. The pervert was a borderline
personality, who could go either way, and could be “cured”. Pop culture presented
homosexual relationships as ending in madness, suicide or jail.
*WWII helped create lesbian culture, since women were in homosocial (same sex)
environments like the army and factories. However, lesbianism wasn’t approved
*In the post-WWII/Cold War Era (1960s), homosexuality was seen as dangerously
deviant, and homosexuals were evicted from government jobs. The RCMP
created the “fruit machine” to determine sexuality.
*1970s pulp fiction sometimes helped create a sense of community for lesbians (and
gay men) who had no other resources!
*Homosexual activism increased with the