Sodomie, a sexual practice which existed legally well before the birth of Jesus.

Lundi 28 août 2006, par Paul Vaurs // Divers

The bonds in love and sexual between of the same people sex can be ritualisés, condemned, be marginalized or tolerated, their presence in any company, until those which deny them with the most force, confirms in fact the universality of these “practices”. Just like their social fate, their designation deeply varied according to times’, and the term of homosexuality, of medical origin, which covers their current reality commonly, dates only from the XIX° century. This word and the knowledge which it supposed of less prepared and not perhaps even caused, in Occident, the singular awakening of a great number of men and women which arrived, in the space of a hundred years, to make move back little by little in their companies the pathological, police speeches and moralist, with the profit of a recognition of the sexual orientation like fundamental freedom of the person. The question of homosexuality thus comprehensible if it is detached from the more general history of the constitution of the subject in the Western civilization, which finds its result in the concept of individual free, is thought at the same time like citizen and nobody.

From this point of view, it can be brought closer three other questions which they also were put in terms of emancipation, of plenary recognition of rights, starting from the end of the XVIII° century : the black question, the Jewish question and the question of the women. These four questions, which borrowed each way quite different, during two centuries following, are found indeed in the dispute of an old order of the things which perduré, even still thrived, in spite of the proclamations of principle inspired of Lumières : An order based on discriminations aiming at the race, the religion, the sex and manners of the individuals, on the idea of a law to the only service of the white, Christian man and father of family. It is not necessary to point out here the multiple episodes which marked each one of these combat, of which none is really finished today, since it is a question in each case of fighting against hatreds and prejudices which do not cease reappearing with the liking of the events. It should only be underlined the fact that, as regards the homosexual question, the principal turning of its history, marked by its first victories symbolic systems and legal, takes place in Occident only in the last third of the XX° century, at the end of the years 1960, so much so that it is possible to divide this history into two times, with for line of fracture the turning “1968- 1969”. To recall, by stopping us in the Occident, the broad outline of this history is all the object of the developments which follow.

Multiple approaches of the question.  

Singular, this history deserves to be recalled, but it includes so much aspects which no knowledge made up can claim to give an account of it to him all alone. It is necessary to measure how much this history, which very largely remains to be written, is not, in any case, a specific history. It is by interdisciplinary nature. It relates to the history of the private life, the history of the right and the punishments, the history of the women, the history of medicine and health, the history of psychiatry, the history of art, finally, to take again the expression of Michel Foucault, the history of sexuality. It would thus be necessary at the same time to forge new historical techniques to build it and borrow from the various existing disciplines to hope to progress, without speaking about the weakness of the sources.

Certain authors, conscious of these difficulties, deliberately chose approaches limited to the most obvious sources. A possibility, traditional, was to follow the evolution of the speeches on the love between people of the same sex through the literature and philosophy : A history then could be outlined, has which leads, in philosophy, of Banquet of Plato (IV° front century J. - C.) in Essai on the pederasty of Bentham (1785, published only in 1982), and, in literature, of the poems of Ovide to those of Verlaine and Rimbaud, while passing by the encrypted worms of Villon and Sonnets de Shakespeare (1609) ; or, for the XX° century, of Maurice of E. Mr. Forster (1914, published only in 1971) in Garçons de Montherlant (1969), of the female texts of Colette, Gertrude Stein or Virginia Woolf to Alexis of Marguerite Yourcenar (1929), without forgetting the accounts with keys of Aragon, or Incidents, private diary of Roland Barthes (1987).

Another way of considering the history of the question from the old world to the modern world is to follow it under the angle of the “homosexual relationships”. A reflection on “the homosexuality which does not say its name” of Antiquité to the XIX° century must make a great place with these figures of legend. And, on the matter, the examples do not miss, that they are the mythological couple formed by Zeus and Ganymède ; the warriors Achille and Patrocle in Iliade ; lovers become hero of the Athenian democracy, Tyrannoctones Harmodios and Aristogiton (the adult and the beautiful young man) ; the Hadrian emperor and his Greek lover, the Antinoüs slave.

For Europe after 1500, let us quote the king of France Henri III and his “nice”, and the many princely or royal figures to which historiography was limited a long time : Louis XIII ; Dear Sir, brother of the king Louis XIV ; Frederic II of Prussia ; finally Louis II of Bavaria, more tormented these ambiguous characters.

One can still imagine another history which would take into account this time the vocabulary concerning homosexuality. This way was also followed by several authors. How the homosexual ones were called ? How did they name themselves ? The stake of the word has its importance. And it is indeed interesting to follow the old qualifiers : “guy” (used with the XIV° century), “bardache” (to evoke homosexuality passivates until the end of the XVIII° century), “antiphysic” (XVIII°), “uranist” (XIX° century) or to study the expressions coloured like “people of the cuff” or “people of the floating jacket”… The homosexual term, itself, appear only at the end of the XIX° century. It is according to any probability, introduces in 1869 per Karoly Maria Kertbeny, pseudonym of the writer and doctor Hungarian K. Mr. Benkert.

The word was a success growing, and international, so much so that it became in the middle of the XX° century a term of the current language. After Seconde Guerre world, the homosexual ones still use between them, as if it were about a membership of a secret society or a brotherhood, expressions like “being like that” or “in being” (already frequent at Proust) or “to have tendencies”, while general public, which does not like the nuances and nourishes stereotypes, speaks about “pitches”. Andre Gide, for its part, likes in particular the distinction in three categories on which it returns in his Journal : the pederast (who loves young people, in any case men younger than him), the sodomite (who likes to penetrate the men) and reversed (which likes to be penetrated). After the appearance of words like “homophiles” ; (neologism in particular used by French homosexual association Arcadie in the years 1950, supposed not to reduce the people concerned to their only sexual dimension), one saw emerging the term “homosensuel” of Yves Navarre in the years 1970, then soon those of “insane”, and especially of “fag”, at the origin about the insult but then taken again by autodénigrement by the militants of the years 1970. Itis as at that time as the “gay” term of American origin appeared in France : francized (the newspaper Gai Pied) or not (the annual walk of the gay pride), it is a nonpejorative term which knows a strong diffusion starting from the end of 1970. It was built in opposition at the end American straight (right, regular). The American terms queen (insane) and especially queer (odd) are less widespread in France, but attest at the same time American influence as regards homosexuality and of the importance still attached by the homosexual ones to the manner of naming themselves.

Homosexuality, like feeling of membership determined, is not a transhistoric constant. A long time it existed as such, neither like word, neither as lived, nor of course like identity. Confused under Antiquité with the friendship, the bisexuality or the pederasty (which had a positive value then), it is denounced and defined only little by little with Christianity, and is truly named only with the XIX° century. It is this evolution which will be recalled rapidly in the developments which follow.

Antiquité Greek and Roman.  

To include/understand the homosexual practices in Antiquité, one of the most enthralling entrance doors remains the traditional work of the historian Kenneth J. Dover, Homosexualité Greek. Beyond its merits and scholarship of its author, this book with the characteristic to be a useful exercise of one period demystification a long time considered as a “golden age” of homosexuality. Admittedly, Dover and of many other authors after him, in particular Claude Mossé and Paul Veyne, clarify well the existence of frequent sexual relations between individuals of male sex in Antiquité. And when one sees on a vase a young man giving a hare to a boy, it is well of a gift of love that it acts ; or when a boy cherishes the chin of another, it is well of a proposal in question. Besides a whole literature evokes the love of the boys, since Plato (Banquet, Phèdre), until Plutarque (Dialog of the love). But Dover shows very well that there is a great difference between the sexual relation with a person of her sex and the situation which consists in “liking” the same sex. In the traditional Greek company, the carnal relationship between individuals of male sex was very codified and very treated on a hierarchical basis. There was especially the distinction, in Greek ethics, between the role active and developed éraste, which took the initiative of the conquest in love, and the passive role of eromene, the youngest partner, object of the desire. For the teenagers, the passivity was quite simply a normal stage of their preparation to the life of man. For as much, it would be reducing to support that these practices were justified only by their initiatory use, as rites of passage in the company of the adults. A multitude of texts and representations iconographic indicate that in traditional Greece and, later, in the hellenized world, these practices are of a frequency, a banality and a visibility such that they do not tally absolutely any more with one ritual explanation. They say more simply the statute socially privileged of the male sexual relations in this civilization of before the sin.

These relations will take a still different form in the Roman world : free boys of Greece initiated by their elder, companions of youth or weapons celebrated and sought for their beauty because they offer an ideal of perfection to the male world of the city, one passes to the model of the absolute power of the Roman Master on his house : women, children and slaves. However, the hellenisation of the Roman company shows through clearly in the famous example of the relation of love between the emperor Hadrian and Antinoüs, the Greek beautiful young man (relation magnifiée in majestic Histoire with the IV° century, which Marguerite Yourcenar will take as a starting point for Les Mémoires by Hadrian)

In all the cases, in Greece as in Rome, the man who wishes another man does not make, according to Dover, an experiment comparable so that we call “homosexuality today”. The alternative which would like that a person is hétérosexuelle or homosexual is not then conceivable. If there were probably, like everywhere else, of the more intense case of sexual attachment between certain “carriers of barbs”, those remained secret because they were by no means encouraged by the company. In the public life, the free men, who constituted the small number of the full citizens, were to remain virile and “active”, that they were in relation to slaves, young teenagers or women. Never, in any case, they did not exclude the relationship with the women. The sex acts with of the same partners sex thus did not have an exclusive value and even less “identity”. This is why one can affirm in the sense that “the homosexual one” does not exist in Antiquité.

As also the historian Paul Veyne underlines it, which we know of traditional Antiquité testifies not to a homosexuality opposed to the heterosexuality, but to homosexual “behaviors” related to certain ages of the life or certain circumstances which did not exclude at the same individuals from the concurrent hétérosexuelles practices.

This turning by Antiquité is very useful finally to include/understand the current situation which remains in many country of the world, and in particular in the Moslem countries, where such a sexuality of initiation or substitution is still frequent today. Those which achieve these acts, in companies which remain extremely repressive in addition with regard to homosexuality, are not tested either like homosexual.

The repression of Église and État : the time of the sin.  

Compared to Antiquité Greek and Roman, the establishment of Christianity in Rome marks in Occident the true beginning of the judgment of the practices between men - which owed perdurer in Europe christianized until the end of the XVIII° century. In a total way, under the influence of Christianity itself heir to prohibited Judaism, a sexual morals much more rigorous settles, or at least develops bus John Boswell showed that it existed sometimes before at the beginning of the Christian era, in particular at the stoical ones and pythagoricians : the sexual relations are limited little by little to the framework of the marriage, adultery is prohibited like all the nonprocreative conduits. This Christian morals hardens a little more starting from the IV° century, so much from the point of view of the requirements of the couple (of which that of virginity before the marriage) that from the point of view of the repression of “reversed” (Roman laws of the IV° and VI° centuries). It is the time of the sin.

Bible, just like Coran, condemn homosexuality very firmly. In Ancien Testament, chapters XVIII and XIX of content Genèse history of Sodome and Gomorrhe, two cities destroyed by a rain of sulfur and fire sent by Dieu to punish its inhabitants for their sins, summaries later by the Christian tradition by the word “sodomy”. More explicit still are the interdicts of Lévitique, XVIII, 22 : “You will not sleep with a man like one sleep with a woman. It is an abomination”, and XX, 13 : “If a man sleeps with a man like one sleep with a woman, they made both an abominable thing ; they will be punished of died : their blood will fall down on them.” In Nouveau Testament, only the Paul apostle, in Épître to Romains, I, 24-27, condemns these practices, like signs of the pagan idolatry : “This is why Dieu delivered to infamous passions : because their wives changed the natural use into that which is against nature ; and the same the men, giving up the natural use of the woman, ignited in their desire the ones for the others, principal man with man of the infamous things…” This judgment will be taken again by Pères of Église, then by the theologists and the lawyers. Saint Augustin and, later, holy Thomas d’ Aquin will be very severe with regard to the sodomy, which tends to the Means-age to indicate all the sex acts stripped of procreative purpose : coitus interruptus, masturbation, fellatio, anal coitus, coitus enter the thighs, bestiality.

The repression of especially male homosexuality is accentuated between the VIII° and the XII° century (Boswell holds the XII° century for decisive) with the promulgation of laws against the punished sodomy of the death penalty. The sorrows will be still reinforced and will diversify thereafter, striking the sodomites for heresy or crime of divine and royal lese-majesty starting from the end of the XIII° century. In a total way, this repression of homosexuality will perdurera until the end of the XVIII° century, a little later for certain Western countries. In France the last execution by fire takes place in 1783. If justice at that time reduces its zeal against the “common people” (the nobility as for it not having almost never been worried), a police repression mixing arrests, blackmail and pointing, takes over effectively.

Under the influence of the philosophers of Lumières, in particular of Voltaire, revolutionary penal Code of 1791 and Napoleonean penal Code of 1810, that one owes in particular in Cambacérès, itself homosexual - dépénalisent officially homosexuality in France by giving up the crime of sodomy. While following the French model, several Western countries decrease the sorrows rather quickly striking the homosexual ones, to start with the death penalty which they remove. However other countries will preserve or create specific penal provisions to repress homosexuality. The United Kingdom will be severe throughout the XIX° century : a capital execution still takes place in 1835. The repression of the “vice against nature”, adopted by Prussia in 1851, will be extended to the German empire in 1872 by paragraph 175 of imperial penal Code, only repealed in 1969. Even in the absence of such provisions, other forms of repression appear against the homosexual practices, including in France throughout the XIX° century, and during a good part still of the XX° century.

The XIX° century mental specialist.  

The contribution of the authors who are leaning on the XIX° century is essential, and among them of course that of Michel Foucault in Volonté of knowing. The philosopher tried to include/understand how the homosexual behaviors remain “problems” with the XIX° century and give even place to multitudes of analyzes which constitute as many objects of knowing. Foucault speaks about “the noisy entry” in the middle of the XIX° century of homosexuality in the medical reflection. This turning makes it possible to make homosexual relations a pathology and with the psychiatrists to take over priest and police officers. They have then at their disposal a new, “homosexual” word, invented one said it in 1869 by the Austrian doctor Benkert and very quickly diffused, precisely, via the medical studies, even if there remains competed with by the terms of reversed, of uranien or uranist.

It would be useless to lengthily reconsider the medical speeches of XIX° century which treats homosexuality with an insistence turning on obsession and on the multiplication of the psychiatric studies which “analyze” homosexuality in terms of the physical and moral, hereditary or acquired “degeneration”. In ironic recensions, the writers Domenica Fernandez and especially Jean-Paul Aron called on these astonishing doctors and left the lapse of memory this sinister literature.

From this point of view, the German doctor Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) seems an exception : defining a “third sex” made up men of female sexual provisions, its studies want to show that homosexuality is constitutionally given, therefore innate, nonmodifiable and consequently nonreprehensible. Hirschfeld will be one of the most active militants in favor of the de-penalization of homosexuality, in the name of science, not of the legal principle of non-discrimination. On his side, Sigmund Freud, in his Trois Essais “on the sexual theory” appeared in 1905, opposes this biological determinism and supports a diagram of explanation where homosexuality is acquired in the personal development, because of basically ambivalent constitution of the subject, the original bisexuality human being. For the majority of the psychiatrists, if homosexuality is not any more one crime, it becomes a disease or at best an anomaly - what is only one relative progress. The homosexual one is arranged among the victims of perverse pathologies. Regarded as a patient or a misfit, the examination and the treatment of its case concern the private clinic.

However, through these studies and this definition of homosexuality (either in terms of “practices” or “acts” as it was the case before, but in terms of morbid psychic constitution), is constituted the idea of homosexual like singular individual, and homosexuality like distinctive feature of a group. Vis-a-vis the psychiatric speeches which constituted them in “species”, the homosexual ones initially chose to hide or to be confessed (consents poignant and tearing which will constitute the heart of the reflection of Michel Foucault). Soon however, they will meet collectively in varied forms. Here how, and as paradoxical as that appears, the psychiatric language gives body to the idea of homosexual like group.

One century of combat.  

Soon, indeed, one sees appearing at the end of the XI° century and the beginning of the XX° the first claims and the first attempts at collective organizations. Admittedly the majority of its groups clandestine or will be developed little, but some of them, to start with that of Magnus Hirschfeld, will be a durable success and will be used as model (the Nazis will put a term at its work in Germany, as of their arrival with the capacity). Such initiatives will durably impregnate the collective memory of homosexual before Seconde Guerre world ; Parallel to the work of the writers, and in particular, the route of Oscar Wilde (since its lawsuit in 1895 until the upsetting account De profundis) ; courage of André Gide (Corydon, defense and illustration of the pederasty which points out the dialogs of Plato, and especially the autobiographical account If the grain does not die), and of course codes and “keys” of the Proustien model, social reference mark with him only for generations of homosexual.

What is decisive between the end of the XIX° century and the medium of the XX° century, it is that the “homosexual ones” are able from now on to be thought as such : they became aware of their singularity. Between the medical profusion of the end of the XIX° century and the movements protestors of the years 1960, years 1900-1950 thus constitute indeed a phase of important transition. More precise studies over the years 1920 and 1930 (for example the historical study of Florence Tamagne) show, particularly in Germany and initially in Berlin, the first signs of formation of a homosexual “community” : multiplication of the coffees, bars, cabarets, night clubs and places of meeting attended exclusively by this community, importance of the literature and especially the fact that theoretical debates and controversies are born, announcing the debates of today on the question of “the integration” of homosexual, for example in the United Kingdom and in France. The homosexual ones start as of this time to want to assert their normality.

Seconde Guerre world comes to put a momentary term at this “release”. In Germany, the persecution of homosexual takes a systematic turn. The historian Richard Plant advances the figure of 20 000 homosexual deportees (all confused countries), died in the concentration camps, where marks to them distinctive was the pink triangle. In France if repression is not also violent, the mode of Vichy penalizes nevertheless homosexuality again and worsens the sorrows.

It would have to be seen how, according to the countries, and of the decades, the homosexual ones are treated between the years 1920 and 1960 in the legislations and the facts, to also see how they start to be organized and to publish newspapers. To a large extent, this history remains to write, “even if in France, one knows now rather well the genesis of the association and the Arcadie review, rested by André Baudry, which played a major part since 1948”. It is also possible to measure the place of the literature in these evolutions, since white Livre of Cocteau (1929), to the romantic trilogy of Jean Genet (Our-Dame-of-Fleurs, Miracle of the pink, Journal of the robber, 1946 to 1949), while passing by all works of the “women of left bank” (Natalie Clifford Barney, Colette, Renee Vivien, Djuna Barnes, Radclyffe Hall, Gertrude Stein, Alice Toklas…).

See finally, and perhaps especially, how the first statistical studies on homosexuality, and in particular the famous Kinsey report/ratio in 1948 which shows at least momentary homosexuality a little too quickly from 37% from the questioned men, could maintain the idea that homosexuality became a frequent behavior. In less than one century one thus passed from “why” religious, with “how” psychiatric and soon with “how much” sociological. It is as with the manner of putting the question as the changes are measured.

The characteristic lesbian.  

If one frequently tends to confuse male and female homosexuality (and the homosexual term encourages there), it is impossible to mix the two stories systematically. To a large extent, the police and religious practices with regard to the lesbianism are basically different from those which condemn the homosexual men.

If female homosexuality appeared a long time less shocking that that of the men, it is because one surrounded it by silence. Since the Greek poetess Sappho, around 600 years before J. - C., it seems that the lesbianism is marked by a great vacuum : very ignored, little repressed, tardily named (the term appears about 1600, forged starting from the name of the Aegean Island, Lesbos, but would be especially diffused by Baudelaire in Les Fleurs of the evil) ; more than any other its history remains to write.

There was certainly, with the XIX° century, “chatterings” of writers like Theophilus Gautier, Daudet, Maupassant or even Balzac - in spite of its very early Fille with the eyes of gold -, but these works made often only deeply prolong one speech misogynist. In this manner, the almost total silence of the women themselves redoubled that of the law. However, between 1905 and the years 1960, the living room located 20 R ue Jacob in Paris de Natalie Clifford Barney, American called “the Amazon”, will become the center of a “saphic agitation” which did not have of equivalent since. These unsteady and exaltées women who raise jackets, ties and monocles belong to the legend.

The writers of Belle Époque who “tasted with the cursed brioche” find there : Renee Vivien, Djuna Barnes, Liane de Pougy… The living room désemplit not to the war. Radclyffe Hall (the author of famous Puits of loneliness, 1928) there unloads, like Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas. “I am very able to envisage your future legend, written Marguerite Yourcenar in Natalie Barney”. One admires especially, without good to be explained it, the quiet duration of this turn of force which is a free life. I said myself that you had been likely to live at one time when the concept of pleasure remained a civilizing concept, it is not it today. “ If Natalie Barney did not succeed in constituting truly what one can call a work, the Amazon will have represented to the caricature the saphism emancipator of first half of the century.

Among the women present street Jacob, Colette is certainly most famous of all. Its work, of which the series of Claudine, approaches with happiness the topic of the female memories : the figure of the mother, gardens of childhood, secrecies of schoolgirls, the arrival in Paris, finally the discovery of the loves between women. The world of Claudine-Colette is wrapped sensual intrigues between girls and young boys. In parallel of work, the life of the novelist illustrated a model of female independence marked in particular by its revenge on the undue appropriation of its talent by her husband. The marital years, where it is only one “small village bride”, succeeds, after the divorce, a transformed existence : it cuts its hair, smokes, gets dressed as a man. Its novels, consequently, approach the topic of incommunicability in love between the man and the woman. Its female loves, the scandal of the Moulin-Rouge in 1907, where it kisses her partner Missy publicly (what involves the intervention of the police force and the prohibition of the following representations), his friendship with Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais, its connection with Mathilde, then with the young person wire of its second husband forged an image of woman iconoclast.

This femininity of a new kind will be one of the sources of its heat and the salt of its work. It will be also the cause of the refusal, by Église, of its religious burial in 1954. A work and a life which durably marked the imaginary lesbian.

The revolution of the years 1970.  

Throughout the world, the birth certificate of the “homosexual revolution” carries a date : June 27, 1969. This night, in New York, six senior police officers into civil penetrate inside a homosexual coffee, Stonewall Inn, with number 53 of Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. Usual descent, the visit shows some interpellations of transvestites and a closing of the coffee, while customers are violently hustled. Simple routine. This evening however, the homosexual ones react for the first time : the reinforcements of police force are accommodated with blows of bricks… and stiletto heels. Three nights of riots follow. For the first time, the homosexual ones adopt an offensive attitude. It is the birth of the to like out off the closet (or coming out, “to leave the wall cupboard”). This romantic event, that the American writer Edmund White could describe as “storming of the Bastille ” plays still today an important part in the collective memory of the homosexual ones.

It would be caricatural to reduce all the recent history of homosexuality to this American date symbolic system. However, it is well at the end of the years 1960 or with the whole beginning of years 1970 that the history rocks for the homosexual ones. In the majority of the Western countries, similar events take place. In France, the homosexual movement appears in 1971 in an obvious filiation post-soixante-huitarde, even if the homosexual fights will follow in our country a slow process of emancipation : after a time of identity fight centripetal, folded up on an internal reflection, the speech evolves/moves to be devoted to the defense of the rights of the minority on a mode centrifuges quasi trade-union. An evolution which will take ten years.

Throughout the years 1970, in the dynamics of May-68 and of the claims “gauchists” of the Pompidou years, the homosexual question became a stake of company indeed little by little. Initially, between 1971 and 1979, the movement was politically a situationnist, trotskist and soon Maoist, but always radical and minority. The fights were generally confined with the groups of conscience, the places of words or the discovery, between oneself, of homosexual specificity.

A specific feature of this movement at that time, valid as well in France as in the United States, is its proximity of the homosexual movement and the Women’s Liberation Movement. To affirm the lesbians must carry out besides two combat which they try to reconcile : a feminist combat to obtain the word as a woman, a combat lesbian to affirm their homosexual rights. However, very often, the feminists will refuse to consider the singularity lesbian. However, as the history of the French gay movement shows it, it is indeed within the movement of women (M.L.F.) that the homosexual men will be able to affirm themselves at the beginning, and to find solidarity, before stealing their own wings.

But the rupture of 1968-1969 is not summarized with a wind of release which blows of America. In the left-wing policy speeches, in the literature and the song, homosexuality also ceases being a taboo and is standardized. Many gay establishments are created. The fashion evolves/moves with the gays and especially the image of homosexual is virilized as the key texts of the sociologist Michael Pollak indeed showed it.

And if one needed an example moreover for this “release moving”, the cinema of the years 1965-1980 would be an illustration very speaking. De Théorème (1968) of Pasolini with Sebastiane (1975) of Derek Jarman, while passing by Les Damnés (1969), Mort in Venice (1971) and Ludwig (1972) of Visconti, Love (1969) and Music Lovers de Ken Russell, or Droit of most extremely (1974) of Fassbinder, it is a whole art which is also put at the service of a cause. The turning 1968-1969 is well a major rupture in the Western countries.

Normality counters rebellion.  

To be new, the debate on homosexuality is not therefore fixed. And while joining again for a share with old debates, the homosexual ones will continue (they do it still today) to divide on the question of their place in the company and their best possible integration : rebellion or normality ? It is around this alternative that organizes itself, in particular since the end of 1960, the debate on homosexuality. In a filiation universalist, part of the homosexual world defends a standardization with what it implies of concessions and compliance with the rules of civility ; in a filiation “Genet”, others affirm their will of social destabilization and rebellion. Two figures, for France, can summarize, until today, the stake of the debate. The first is that of Guy Hocquenghem. In 1972, at twenty-five years, this exemplary product of what one will call, in a seizing short cut, “thought 68” (reader of Fourier, Reich, Marcuse and soon of Deleuze and Foucault), “acknowledges” its homosexuality publicly, in France pompidolienne, at the time of a crashing to pieces interview published in Nouvel Observateur. Blow, which was to be a singular testimony takes the collective title of “revolution of homosexual”. By doing what, for this time, one has called his coming out (to make public its homosexuality to its entourage), by telling its life, mixes unstable culpability and of revolt - traditional way towards the revolutionary Utopias -, Hocquenghem traces the way of a radical homosexual combat.

Become writer and lampoonist of talent, Guy Hocquenghem will settle, during the years 1970, like the most famous French homosexual militant. With the head of homosexual Front of revolutionary action (homosexual radical group, the F.H.A.R. was created in 1971 and disappeared about 1973), by multiplying the provocative newspapers, like the famous Tout periodical ! or the mythical number of “Trois Milliards of pervert”, Hocquenghem will be also the author of a determining radical work (in particular fundamental works that are homosexual Désir, 1972, and Dérive homosexual, 1977).

Neither identity, neither reforming, nor then truly anti-discriminatory, the homosexual movement such as Hocquenghem conceives it wants revolutionary, refusing the assignment of homosexual to an identity, more foucaldien or deleuzien that Community, more marked by libidineuses fairyhoods of Jean Genet and the set of themes of Pasolini that by Montherlant, Julien Green, Marcel Jouhandeau or even Gide. Through articles and books, it exalte a version except standard of homosexual and fights “modernity reassuring of homosexual 35 years with moustache and attaché case, which breathes with delights the odor of aftershave” of its partner.

Until his death of the continuations of the AIDS in August 1988, Guy Hocquenghem, become in turn essay writer and novelist, will be able to remain faithful to his ideas in spite of the reconversion, after 1981, of the majority of his friends gauchists in the socialism of government (that of which still one testifies to the sharpest lampoons of Hocquenghem, Lettre open to those which passed from the Mao collar to Rotary, 1986). It is its talent to have known to anticipate, by the only account of its life and its identification with the gay movement, the whole of the hopes - but also of the dead ends - which watch for the homosexual modern one.

The second figure of the debate normality-rebellion is called Jean-Louis Bory. The solitary course - a little forgotten - of this untiring militant of the vulgarizing of the homosexual fact is registered in cross shade of that of Guy Hocquenghem. Old resistant, signatory of Appel of the 121 during the war of Algeria, man of the left close to socialist Parti, writer (it obtained at twenty-six years the Goncourt price), Jean-Louis Bory is, above all, critical of cinema. Using the platforms of which it lays out, to begin with the broadcast literary emission “Masque and the feather”, Bory will defend there with a rare tenacity a moderate homosexual militancy. For him, homosexuality should be regarded banal, if not as easy, and all its combat of the years 1970 can be summarized to three of its sentences slogan : “Neither shame, nor proselytism”, “right to the indifference”, “I plead, I inform”.

The influence of Jean-Louis Bory is measured with this reforming militancy of which it will become, almost in spite of him, the principal representative. It invents a new way between revolutionary homosexuality with the struck speeches of logorrhée gauchist, and the sizeable and a little ashamed militancy of before 1968. “There is a homosexual reality and if I am there it is because homosexuality exists”, will say Bory during the emission of television “Les Dossiers of the screen” in 1975. “I do not acknowledg that I am homosexual, because I do not have shame of it. I do not proclaim that I am homosexual, because I am not proud. I say that I am homosexual, because that is”.

Ambitionnant pour les homosexuels l’égalité et luttant contre les discriminations, Bory se worry especially the EC what it calls “the homosexuality of poor”, those which “are rejected by their family, scorned by their neighbors, laid off by their employer, suspectés when it is not eliminated by their trade union, not abused by the police force”. But it will make the expenses of an engagement far too personal : “I am assembled to the face and I return covered from wounds and of decorations”, it will explain little before putting an end to its days, June 11, 1979.

The Hocquenghem-Bory opposition can thus be used as red wire to include/understand the oppositions within the French homosexual movement (and well beyond) and, on this double line - a double filiation also - is registered all the recent history of homosexuality in France. But the history does not stop there. It misses there the “de-penalization” of homosexuality and the “years of ash” of the AIDS.

With the turning of the years 1980, a new phase opens indeed : the claims are specified and a mobilization in terms of “rights” allows soon, in France in any case, the “de-penalization” of homosexuality. This passage of a revolutionary and minority culture (class struggle defended by the first gay militants) to a anti-discriminatory culture (humans right) was a major evolution for the gay movement. Socialist Parti and François Mitterrand translate into act their political promise and, very quickly, between 1981 and 1983, the left will abolish all legal discriminations which, in the texts, comprised attacks, direct or implicit, with the freedom of the way of life chosen by the homosexual ones.

In less than one year, François Mitterrand, Robert Badinter, Gaston Defferre, Gisele Halimi, Louis Joinet and Jack Lang purge the French right of the majority of his archaisms as regards manners (circular Defferre against pointing by the police force, circular fine Badinter putting at the continuations of the parquet floor, law Quilliot which removes the mention for the tenants of having to behave in “good fathers of family”, etc), without to substitute for the repressive texts a specific, catégorielle or identity legislation. In that, they followed an approach universalist which results in first “to standardize” the life of the gays, and fit thus clearly in the prospect opened by Jean-Louis Bory.

Paradoxically, this filiation universalist and integrationist, the years AIDS still will reinforce it. At the beginning, of course, the epidemic very chamboulé. If it were then difficult to decipher the contradictory tensions of the gay movement, the waltz hesitation of the political action and the fears of the public opinion, the principal legacy of the years of fight against the AIDS remains nevertheless today the mobilization in favor of “rights”. The ethics of Aides association (founded in 1984) rested initially on the respect of the medical secrecy, on the voluntary principle of tracking, the defense of the private life and the not-judgment. It made school.

At the time when the years 1990 start, the homosexual question was thus already reformulated several times : homosexual “release”, logic of rights and fight against the AIDS combine then and give rise to a vast gay movement of which the visibility increased throughout the years 1990.

“The AIDS effect” was undoubtedly one of the elements of crystallization. Subject of distress, tearing and polemic force (that one remembers only the “gay cancer” about which the press in 1983 spoke, of the “mental AIDS” which the journalist Louis Pauwels in 1986 and of “sidaïques stigmatized” that denounced Jean-Marie the PEN in 1987), it is in years 1990 that the fight against the AIDS becomes a consensual cause : the French smile when association Act Up, created in 1989, honors the obelisk with the place of Concorde in Paris of a giant condom - pink fluo -, December 1, 1993 ; they bring in a number them financial contribution at the time of first Sidaction (April 7, 1994) ; they soon massively raise the small red ribbon (1994-1995) - a true phenomenon of mode. And if this movement is blown after 1996, there does not remain about it less one mobilization without precedent with the durable effects.

A revolution which is even more striking with regard to the ways of life : that they appear remote these emissions on homosexuality censured by the O.R.T.F., these militant stylistic devices of Jean-Louis Bory in Observateur, these small advertisements “Chéri (E)” provocative in Libération : codes in love, practical sexual, visibility of the gay couple, the men and the women homosexual of the years 1990 hardly resemble their elder. Into thirty years, the sexual release then the AIDS transformed the life of the gays so deeply who it is difficult, per hour of the “evenings foams” in the discotheques, of the gogo-dancers and the constitution of the gay district from the Marsh in Paris (since 1979, and especially after 1983) with its bars and its rainbow flags - the flag rainbow, new gay emblem -, to imagine what was the marginality depicted by Gide and Genet, which was the marriages of kindness or “black homosexuality”, hard dredger in the middle of the urban night. From now on, the homosexuality, which is lived for much like a destiny, and for others like a choice, is standardized. It is lived more and more “with the Frenchwoman” - without pride, nor shame. A sexuality like another ?

Lastly, let us not forget considerable progress of the research which starts to study the history of homosexuality, which was almost unthinkable a few years ago. Many original work, and not only very new to the gay & lesbian studies, makes it possible to better know the period of the inter-war period, the life of ignored personalities, or the stages of the gay release in the years 1970 and 1980. Because the history of homosexuality is still a new history. However, there remains true that homosexual working class, or the condition of homosexual in the nondemocratic countries remains badly known, if not completely ignored.

The success growing of Gay Pride completes this movement : anecdotic in the years 1970 (the first date in France of 1977), marginal since 1983 and ridiculous at the end of the years 1980, the manifestation of the gay “pride” gathers 10 000 people in 1993, 20 000 in 1994, 60 000 in 1995, 100 000 in 1996, 250 000 in 1997 and still 200 000 in 1999 and 2000. It becomes one of greatest Parisian festivals the, at the same time merry and militant. This vulgarizing of the homosexual fact found was initially disturbed, and finally confirmed, by the debate on a new bill which aimed at giving a statute to the nonmarried couples, heterosexuals or homosexual : Pacs (pace civil of solidarity). Major political confrontation, 120 hours of debates in Parlement testify some in 1998-1999 -, the private bill divided the political parties initially, like the experts, but ends up convincing the French (70% were finally favorable there in 2000). It was in the final analysis a victory of voluntarism in policy. And by the blow, the tolerance for homosexuality increased at the point to become “an acceptable manner to live its sexuality” for a majority of French (and for more than 85% of the young people of less than twenty-four years).

This confirmation of the “homosexual revolution” that the surveys offer to us is all the more significant as they follow throughout the thirty last years a curve in constant progression as for the tolerance of the French with regard to the homosexual ones. Four digits, alone, summarize this overall movement. With a question of Sofres posed regularly since almost thirty years : is homosexuality “an acceptable manner to live its sexuality ? ”, 24% of the questioned people answered by the affirmative in 1973, 29% in 1981, 41% in 1984 ; they are today in 2005 : 55%.

If one limits oneself to the French example, the homosexual question was reformulated several times these thirty last years : at the beginning of the years 1970 during the appearance of revolutionary “faces” from the subversive point of view ; second once at the end of the years 1970 with the fight against discriminations which strike the homosexual individual, in a logic of “rights” ; once again at the end of the years 1980, around the question of the AIDS and the necessary mobilization against the plague ; finally, last once during years 1990 in levelling problems with Pacs.

Rights, integration, recognition : that of way traversed in three decades ! Admittedly, this French evolution is not found in all the European countries, nor, a fortiori, in all the countries of the world. But in États democratic Western, there is nevertheless a basic movement which aims at regarding the homosexual ones as subjects of equal rights and to recognize homosexuality like a choice of life singular as acceptable as another. It is in this logic that the treaty of Amsterdam of October 2, 1997 introduced, under them principles having to guide the institutions of Communauté European, the fight against the discrimination based on the sexual orientation. The end of the homosexual interdict is one of the key dates of the recent evolutions of the Western companies.

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