Re: Fwd: more astou nding acronyms

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Mon Dec 19 15:08:45 UTC 2005

In a message dated 12/16/05 4:56:02 PM, wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM writes:

> The use of feminine names as well as ( IIRC ) a precious speaking style 
> among homosexual men in London was already commented upon in the 18th C. I 
> foolishly neglected to note the reference, but perhaps I can find it again.
>   Wouldn't it refute the academic theory that homosexuality, as a cultural 
> construct, didn't develop until the late 19th C. ?
>   JL

The fop is of course well established as early as Restoration comedy (and 
Chaucer seems to scorn effeminate men in his poetry). The fops, however, seemed 
to prefer sex with women rather than men, and there is a good deal of 
controversy about just what the sexual preferences were of Chaucer's effeminate guys, 
since they were clerics and supposedly cellibate.   

I don't know the 18th century literature on men who called others by women's 
names and spoke effeminately, but I wonder if it is not sort of begging the 
question to characterize them as "homosexual" rather than "effeminate" men? 

As I understand it, the argument that JL mentions here is one that holds 
that, before the late 19th century, the idea that the "homosexual" was a distinct 
and discrete KIND of human being was not a part of the taxonomy of human 
sexuality. Roughly speaking, everybody was considered to be, potentially, bisexual 
(and, for that matter, capable of entertaining thoughts of sex with animals), 
but the greatest percentage of people viewed their own distaste for same-sex 
and cross-species sex as in accord with natural law and a sign of their own 
moral superiority. Those who actually had sexual relations that violated the 
heterosexual same-species norm were thought to be morally depraved, not 
differently oriented. Such moral "depravity" could happen to anyone, not just those who 
were effeminate. And effeminacy was not a sign of a strong desire for same-sex 
intercourse (nor was waddling and speaking with a quacking voice a sign of a 
strong desire for sex with a duck).

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