History

Lesbian sexuality and Queen Victoria. 

In comparison to  male homosexuality there is far less historically recorded in regards of lesbian encounters.

Even though certain homosexual acts between men were illegal in Briton from 1533 onwards there was nothing at all in British law preventing Lesbian relationships.
Although we know  the Catholic church made laws that prevented any same sex acts, because Henry 8th was excommunicated from the church, nothing was applied in Briton. The Buggery act of 1533 was only used sparingly until the early 17th century. When the buggery act was used it was almost always in conjunction with other crimes and laws, during this period, it always seems to astonish historians when they talk about this. Many do believe that this act targeted all forms of buggery in order to humiliate his enemies.

As there was nothing in law preventing lesbian relationships there is very few legal documents, unlike with homosexual, male on male relationships, as most documents are a part of legal cases or is evidence. A good example of this is Thomas Whites diaries used in the prosecution against him and his lover, leading to his hanging in 1811.

Perhaps because of the lack of law at this part in history and little scandal like the ‘sodomite trials’  and molly house trials, through the 18th and 19th century gave the notion that lesbianism was partially a myth, or it was simply tolerated and people just turned a blind eye to?

In Victorian England there is a lot of evidence that suggests that two women often would live together a spinsters without anyone raising a eye brow. After all who could tell if they were spinster sisters or in a wonderful loving relationship?

The story of Queen Victoria believing that ‘Lesbians’ didn’t exist is simply a myth. If her government had approached her then there would be a record of it, yet a lot of evidence suggests otherwise.

The myth surrounds a 1885 parliamentary act that was to prevent child prostitution after a media campaign to set an age of consent at 16. It was debated to add certain amendments that prevent any form of homosexual acts involving two men (gross indecency). It was believed that the courts would be more likely to get a conviction compared to the buggery act.

It appears that it simply wasn’t added for females, probably through confusion and/or too much emphasis on male homosexuality whilst in debate. Also the general oppressed attitude in society towards women, would have contributed. It is also very clear that Henry Labouchere was focused on homosexual acts between two men when debating it in parliament.

The myths origins appears to be from 1977 Wellington, New Zealand when #LGBT campaigners were asked to explain why a demonstration for lesbian equality centred on a statue of Victoria.

Well I’m not amused….and before you ask she didn’t say that either!

 

 

On a side note:

It wasn’t until 2003 that an age of consent came into power to protect young girls of under 16 from female paedophilia .

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2 thoughts on “Lesbian sexuality and Queen Victoria. 

    1. I’ve been aware if this attempt for some time, with little time to go into too much detail, it is interesting how the house of Lords had a different take on this proposed law, yet didn’t seek to alter the Labouchere Amendment in order prevent the known blackmail and general treatment of men who were caught.

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