Wednesday, August 7, 2013

the gay voice in the ''gay 90's''

Okay, back to my study of A Queer History of the United States. Now, where was I? Oh yes! In the mist of all this fighting and bickering amongst the labor, Women suffrage, free-love, African-American and social purity movements where were the LGBT's? Of course, it's true that LGBT's are represented amongst all of those groups, but where was they're specific voice since most of them were not out? Well, it appears that they/we did not have one, at least not one of our own. The people that were specifically and openly talking about LGBT's or homosexuals, in the United States, were medical professionals.  The first time the fledgling word ''Homosexual'' was used in print in the United States was in a 1892 article by Dr. James G. Kiernan. Kiernan was a well known Chicago based Neurologist. He said that Homosexuals were persons whose ''general mental state is that of the opposite sex.'' I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that but he became a kind of respected ''authority'' on Homosexuality and wrote many more articles on the subject. They often had mixed messages like ''Homosexuality is linked to crime but may not be the cause of the crime.''
    In 1893 a famous speech, or then famous speech, called Should Insane Criminals or Sex Perverts be Permitted to Procreate? was given by The Texas Medical Journal's editor Dr. E. F. Daniel and widely reprinted. In it he argued that it would be more humane to castrate sex criminals, which would have included Homosexuals since Homosexuality was a crime, than to execute them or spend tax dollars on incarcerating them. He advocated for a ''sanitary utopia'' which took social purity to another level with applied eugenics. This was the extent of the Gay voice in the ''Gay 90's.''
    The labor, free-love and African-American movements must have really found this wing of the social purity movement particularly frightening. I'm certain that they knew the vast majority, if not all, of these insane criminals and ''sex perverts'' would be conveniently found amongst them!

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