Advertisement

Introduction

  • Jeffrey Meek
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History Series book series (GSX)

Abstract

In 1967 gay men in England and Wales celebrated the limited decriminalisation of sex between males, brought about through the Sexual Offences Act. The path to law reform had begun in 1957 with the publication of the Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (hereafter, the Wolfenden Report),1 which had followed investigations into whether the laws governing sex between men were appropriate. It may have taken a decade for the recommendations to find their way into law, but after centuries of persecution gay men had achieved a measure of freedom from state interference in their lives. Yet, gay men in Scotland were excluded from this legal change, and faced a further 13 years of criminalisation until in 1980 the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act brought about legal equity. Prior to this, crossing the border between England and Scotland was a legally retrograde step which reduced the lives and experiences of non-heterosexual men to a collection of sexual acts judged by a prurient and hostile legal justiciary.

Keywords

Sexual Identity Oral History Oral History Interview Scottish Society Retrograde Step 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 2.
    For example, see Jeffrey Weeks (1990) Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, Revised edition (London: Quartet Books)Google Scholar
  2. — (1981) Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality Since 1800 (London: Longman)Google Scholar
  3. — (2007) The World We Have Won: The Remaking of Erotic and Intimate Life (London; New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Matt Cook (ed.) (2007) A Gay History of Britain: Love and Sex Between Men since the Middle Ages (Oxford; Westport, Conn.: Greenwood World Pub.).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Stephen Jeffery-Poulter (1991) Peers, Queers & Commons: The Struggle for Gay Law Reform from 1950 to the Present (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    For further examples see Graham Robb (2003) Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century (London: Picador)Google Scholar
  7. Hugh David (1997) On Queer Street: A Social Histoty of British Homosexuality (London: Harper Collins).Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    See, for example, Matthew Waites (2005) The Age of Consent: Young People, Sexuality and Citizenship (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), p. 96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jeffrey Weeks (1990) Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, Revised edition (London: Quartet), pp. 164–5.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    Brian Dempsey (1995) Thon Wey: Aspects of Scottish Lesbian and Gay Activism, 1968 to 1992 (Edinburgh: USG).Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    Roger Davidson & Gayle Davis (2004) ‘“A Field for Private Members”: The Wolfenden Committee and Scottish Homosexual Law Reform, 1957 to 1967’, Twentieth Century British History, 15, pp. 174–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. — (2006) ‘Sexuality and the State: The Campaign for Scottish Homosexual Law Reform, 1967 to 1980’, Contemporary British History, 20, pp. 533–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. — (2012) The Sexual State: Sexuality and Scottish Governance (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).Google Scholar
  14. 10.
    See Jacob Barbard-Naude (2013) ‘The Politics of Private Law: Sexual Minority Freedom in South Africa and Scotland’, in Daniel Visser & Elspeth Reid (eds) Private Law and Human Rights: Bringing Rights Home in Scotland and South Africa (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press), p. 46.Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    Home Office Scottish Home Department (1957) Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution [Hereafter RCHOP] (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office), p. 71.Google Scholar
  16. 13.
    John M. Johnson (2002) ‘In-Depth Interviewing’, in Jaber F. Gubrium & James A. Holstein (eds) Handbook of Interview Research: Context and Method (Thousand Oaks, Calif.; London: Sage), p. 105.Google Scholar
  17. 14.
    Alan Bryman (2001) Social Research Methods (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press), p. 314.Google Scholar
  18. 15.
    Valerie Raleigh Yow (2005) Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 2nd edition (Walnut Creek, Calif.; Oxford: AltaMira Press), p. 11.Google Scholar
  19. 16.
    Alistair Thomson describes composure as an ‘aptly ambiguous term’ describing a dual process whereby we construct our story, or memories, using the meanings and public language of our culture, and we compose the memories which assist us to feel comfortable about our lives: Alistair Thomson (2006) ‘Anzac Memories: Putting Popular Memory Theory into Practice in Australia’, in Robert Perks & Alistair Thompson (eds) The Oral History Reader, 2nd edition (London: Routledge), p. 245.Google Scholar
  20. 17.
    Discomposure follows when individuals are unable to construct memories in line with available cultural references, which can lead to anger, confusion and discomfort: Penny Summerfield (2004) ‘Culture and Composure: Creating Narratives of the Gendered Self in Oral History Interviews’, Cultural and Social History, 1, pp. 71–4.Google Scholar
  21. 18.
    Rebecca Jennings (2004) ‘Lesbian Voices: The Hall Carpenter Oral History Archive and Post-War British Lesbian History’, Sexualities, 7, p. 437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 20.
    Kenneth Plummer (1995) Telling Sexual Stories: Power, Change, and Social Worlds (London: Routledge), p. 87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 25.
    Catherine Marshall & Gretchen B. Rossman (2006) Designing Qualitative Research, 4th edition (Thousand Oaks, Calif.; London: Sage), p. 3.Google Scholar
  24. 27.
    J. A. Maxwell (2005) Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach (Thousand Oaks, Calif.; London: Sage), p. 22.Google Scholar
  25. 29.
    K. Charmaz (2000) ‘Grounded Theory in the 21st Century: Applications for Advancing Social Justice Studies’, in N. K. Denzin & Y. E. Lincoln (eds) Handbook of Qualitative Research (Thousand Oaks, Calif.; London: Sage), p. 507.Google Scholar
  26. 30.
    K. Charmaz (1990) ‘“Discovering” Chronic Illness: Using Grounded Theory’, Social Science and Medicine, 30, pp. 1161–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 32.
    Brian Heaphy, Jeffrey Weeks & Catherine Donovan (1998) ‘“That’s Like My Life”: Researching Stories of Non-Heterosexual Relationships’, Sexualities, 1, p. 454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 33.
    Raymond M. Lee (1993) Doing Research on Sensitive Topics (London; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage), p. 60.Google Scholar
  29. 35.
    J. Faugier (1996) ‘Looking for Business: A Descriptive Study of Drug Using Female Prostitutes and their Clients’, unpublished PhD Thesis (University of Manchester).Google Scholar
  30. 36.
    K. Weston (1991) Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship (New York: Columbia University Press).Google Scholar
  31. 37.
    J. Weeks, C. Donovan & B. Heaphy (2001) Same Sex Intimacies: Families of Choice and other Life Experiments (London: Routledge).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 42.
    Office for National Statistics (2009) ‘Internet Access: Households and Individuals, 2009’, Statistical Bulletin (Cardiff: Office for National Statistics), p. 12.Google Scholar
  33. 43.
    R. A. Cant (2004) ‘Exploring Gay Men’s Narratives, Social Networks and Experiences of Health Services Targeted at Them: A London Study’, unpublished PhD Thesis (London: South Bank University), p. 70.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jeffrey Meek 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Meek
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations