HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 29, 2000
Early gay history: Tales of persecution
*- Continued from Page 12
• Several hundred men a year were prosecuted for homosexuality in Florence, Italy, during this century.
• Despite frequent persecution, male beauty is frequently celebrated by male
Renaissance artists: Michelangelo's dedication
of love sonnets and sculptures to Roman
nobleman Tommaso de' Cavalieri is only one
• While lesbian relationships usually
attracted less attention from men in power, in
the Plymouth colony in America, two women
were charged with "lewd behavior each with
the other upon a bed."
• In 1578, a Roman church celebrated several "marriages" between Portuguese men,
but the couples are later arrested and executed.
• In 1640, Anglican bishop John Atherton is
executed by hanging for sodomy, incest and
England's King Edward II (ruler, 1307-1327)
(above), fathered lour with Isabella of Spain,
but his true love was Piers Gaveston.
Burning was the common punishment for
'sodomites' in Europe for several centuries.
This manuscript illustration from 14S3 depicts
the burning of Richard Puller and his page,
Zurich, the year before.
banks, like people,
At Capital Bank
you talk to a real person,
not an endless
3007 s. Shepherd
@ W. Alabama
adultery; pamphlets distributed at the time
feature drawings of Atherton and his male
lover, John Guide.
• As physicians increase their study of
mental illnesses, the medicalization of homosexuality in Western society began in earnest,
as those engaged in same-sex activities were
labeled sick instead of simply sinners—a belief
that persists until the present day, although the
American Psychiatric Association removed
homosexuality from its official list of mental
disorders in 1973.
The explosion in gay culture in the last 100
years is, of course, too much to condense into
a few brief words, as gays became more and
more organized into distinct communities,
that then began to direct their energies back
outward to fight for inclusion and equality in
• During World War FJ, gay men and lesbians joined Jews, Gypsies and others on the
German hit list as Adolf Hitler attempted to
control the world through a mix of military
might and social cleansing. During the
Holocaust, gay men were forced to wear pink
triangles in the concentration camps; lesbians,
grouped with other "undesirables," wore
• In 1969, patrons at the Stonewall Inn, a
New York City gay bar, fought back against an
all too common police raid, in what would
come to be seen as the start of the modem gay
• By the late 1970s and the 1980s, gay
activists found their work, and their lives, cut
short by AIDS, which rapidly claimed thousands. But the swift organizing to fight the disease and care for the dying, often in the face of
indifference or hostility from mainstream institutions, helped build the community groups
and organizing structures that would contribute to major gay rights victories for the rest
of the century.
• In 2000, the Netherlands became the first
country in the world to extend full, legal marriage to gay couples.
In June 1969, angry patrons fought bock after a
routine police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a New
York City gay bar, in what many consider the
beginning of the modern gay rights movement.
A Center for