There seems to be this narrative that gay men were forced to live a double life. The ideal middle-class man living a peaceful life with his wife and kids in the suburbs. While at night or certain periods of the year, he let loose his homosexual impulses. I think that is true for about half of the population, I doubt all homosexuals lived like that. There has to be more to the picture than the married guy who is closeted.
How did social class and culture affect gay life pre-stonewall?
|December 14, 2023 5:55 PM
There have always been "lifelong bachelors"
Yes, a lot of guys were pressured into marrying but many avoided that pressure
|November 15, 2023 5:16 AM
They had to sit in the back of the lifeboats I hope.
|November 15, 2023 5:28 AM
I don't think it was a peaceful life. I think of the writer John Cheever, who had sex with men and women. (I'm not calling him gay or bi here, because I really don't know.) But I love his short stories, and the male protagonists in them are usually deeply troubled alcoholics (as he was). I think white middle or upper class people born prior to say, 1960, had very little choice but to fall in line and do the married with children routine, while having their gay relationships in secret.
When I was a very young gay, I met a couple who would be objectively classified as lower-class, or plain old poor. She was a lesbian and he was gay. They got married and had kids and had affairs with same-sex partners over the years, and everyone, including their families were happy, because outwardly they did what they were supposed to.
I think regardless of class, that was the highest form of freedom you could aspire to back in the day, marrying another gay person who was all-in on the scam.
|November 15, 2023 5:39 AM
A lot of gay men moved to the big city so that they wouldn’t have to settle for suburban angst. There, they worked in “the arts” or advertising or whatever and no one cared. They could be a part of their own community.
|November 15, 2023 5:52 AM
|November 15, 2023 2:41 PM
[quote] There, they worked in “the arts” or advertising or whatever and no one cared. They could be a part of their own community.
Except the police, blackmailers and gay-bashers.
|November 15, 2023 3:12 PM
I know in the Black community, at least the one I am familiar with, it was not discussed. The women knew a young man was a "sissy" especially the effeminate ones, but as long as they didn't bring that stuff around here" it was tolerated. The men were disgusted by it, and avoided being around Gay men, but they weren't violent. Now there was a whole lot of closeted Gay men, especially in the church community. One pastor I know of had a thing for younger men, and he was busted in someone's driveway getting a blow job. Married with 4 kids. A lot of the choir directors I knew were Gay. ( I had a good voice and sang in several choirs right up until college. The trouble came if you were open about it, or if you hit on someone straight and got your ass whupped.
|November 15, 2023 3:21 PM
If you expected any intergenerational wealth or rewards you had to be married to produce heirs. If you expected any professional advantages or advancements you had to be married. I think lifelong bachelorhood was only available to men without families, who were able to live with financial security without family or societal pressures.
|November 15, 2023 3:25 PM
My grandmother grew up on a farm. It ceased to be a working farm by the early 1950s. It was a place where we spent parts of each summer when I, my siblings, and my cousins were growing up. Our generation of the family were all born after it was a working farm. I recall as a small child (would have been late 60's...I was born in '63), two men lived together across the road from the farm. My parents, grandmother, aunts, and uncles were all very friendly with them. The men moved away by 1970. When I was older, thinking back, I realized the men must have been a couple. Yet, it was never mentioned.
My Dad had a first cousin who was gay. But it was never mentioned. My Dad and his cousin practiced the same type of law, and there were always conferences. So, they socialized. A boyfriend or lover was never there. When the cousin entertained, a female friend acted as hostess.
My Mom had a college who was gay and partnered. My parents socialized with them, but their relationship was never a topic.
It was all rather DADT. I grew up post-Stonewall, and I would describe my upbringing as upper middle class. There were gay men in my parents' circle of neighbors, family, and friends, but the relationships those men had were never openly acknowledged.
It's rather sad.
Pre- or post-Stonewall, it was a very homophobic era...no, anti-gay era...where men had to hide who they were and their relationships were never acknowledged.
|November 15, 2023 3:41 PM
R8 lifelong bachelors who were professionally successful like professors or scientists could get away with it. Back in the olden days, say pre- 1960 a man might even manufacture a dead wife, and describe himself as a "widower." If he was a man of means he traveled a lot. And at the turn of the century, if you were in society, you could accompany a close woman friend, and escort someone and the rules of etiquette were in your favor. Chaste courtships were the rule back then.
|November 15, 2023 3:42 PM
I had multiple dead wives and a dead kid!
|November 15, 2023 3:50 PM
Basically, if you were rich, well-educated, and sophisticated (and all your friends were as well), you could get away with it (as long as you never mentioned any part of it to your straight friends). The moment you crossed that line, you were toast.
|November 15, 2023 3:57 PM
Pre-Stonewall I was living with an engineer in a house we purchased jointly in a suburban neighborhood in a major city. We were cordial to our neighbors and lived a peaceful life. We were not challenged or harassed.
As a teenager I had been picked up by many men in my small hometown, most of whom were married. It was damaging for me. But I got a lot of dick.
|November 15, 2023 3:59 PM
I often wonder what would have been the best occupation where you could most safely be yourself without fear of ruin. I would think being self-employed in a one man band kind of situation. Something which didn’t require intense social networking or a physical storefront. Maybe something geographically widespread or itinerant where the little details of your life wouldn’t matter because you’re just passing through or inn gig. Maybe some kind of highly skilled independent service or trade…I don’t really know. Any kind of conventional type job would require a beard or lavender marriage to pull off success and security. Otherwise, everything could be lost in an instant.
|November 15, 2023 4:02 PM
Surely, gay men in stereotypical gay occupations like hairdresser, fashion designer, interior designer, or people in the arts, weren't expected to marry and pretend to be straight. A lavender marriage would be expected more in straitlaced professions like doctor, lawyer, etc.
|November 15, 2023 4:33 PM
I assume fashion designer Bill Blass was gay but he tried his best to butch it up.
|November 15, 2023 4:36 PM
Yes, he was gay
|November 15, 2023 5:15 PM
By the end of WWII the tilt of the U.S. from an agrarian to an urban nation was firmly achieved, and with it the exodus of gays and lesbians to big cities which became magnets.
One residual of that still strong in the 1970s and 1980s was a mix of people brought together only by their sexuality. One night you might go home with a banker from a long line of bankers to a rather palatial apartment, the next you might fuck on the dirty sofa of a bricklayer while his visiting brother slept in the bedroom, and the brother might wake up and join in ("nothing too gay").
It's not that there was no sense of class consciousness among gays (it could be quite bold and blunt), it's that it was set aside easily for the prospect of good sex, and that sex wasn't seen as a step or misstep toward finding the perfect gay partner and adopting the perfect children.
Somewhere starting in the 1990s class consciousness among gays developed into a richer, more elaborate game of self-separation - and prudishness. The latter picking up in part from the HIV/AIDS scare and the vocabulary of crix belly and facial wasting, the old game of spotting the ones you wanted to fuck being replaced by picking the ones you had better not. It was an ugly time on many levels and some of the harshness of it carries over in the extreme measures gay men now take to find someone who looks just like them. Gay men now look not for good fucks (outside the secret realm of apps) but for quality boyfriend material. No fucking and no friendship unless he has the same background, has all the same likes and dislikes, is equal on a measure of good looks, is not significantly taller or shorter or older or younger, earns the same amount of money, has the same likely career and inheritance outcomes...
That's been a big change in my adult life (starting at the end of the 1970s.).
The other change is that the complicated ruses of keeping one's circles of people apart has mostly collapsed. It's becoming increasing a rare thing to find a gay man who takes the trouble to conceal that aspect of his life.
|November 15, 2023 5:47 PM
[quote] Basically, if you were rich, well-educated, and sophisticated (and all your friends were as well), you could get away with it (as long as you never mentioned any part of it to your straight friends). The moment you crossed that line, you were toast.
Not really. Females are always trying to play matchmaker. If you are a man of a certain socio-economic status you cannot avoid the machinations of female co-workers, or the wives of co-workers and friends. In the 90s I had to come out repeatedly as a result of some b*tch trying to set me up with a friend. I imagine it was much worse in prior decades.
|November 15, 2023 6:32 PM
Lots of bachelor uncles who just never met the right girl.
|November 15, 2023 6:36 PM
The modern equivalent to my comment above is "I only date in Europe".
|November 15, 2023 6:37 PM
Or "meet my beautiful Christian girlfriend"
|November 15, 2023 7:03 PM
Or an Asian girl.
|November 15, 2023 7:06 PM
I'm too busy serving the good people of South Carolina in the Senate to find a wife
|November 15, 2023 7:20 PM
|November 16, 2023 6:28 PM
Tricks from the lower orders understood that they were to come and go through the service entrance.
|November 16, 2023 9:04 PM
|December 4, 2023 12:02 AM
Some joined Ringling Bros
|December 4, 2023 12:07 AM
A lot of gay men joined the priesthood. No pressure to have girlfriends or sex.
|December 4, 2023 12:44 AM
r3 you mention white men prior to 1960s being pressured to marry, but they still had it better then black or brown people here. Think of it like this, a white man in the west, even a gay one, has more places of refuge since the world was their oyster. In an age where gay spaces were few and far in-between, mixed with overt racism, there remained avenues for white gay men to socialize then black and brown gays. No one had it easy, but white gays still had a lot better options.
Now let's think on the black and brown gays. Yes, many gay spaces were integrated, but many others were not welcoming to people of color. So, white gays were often as discriminate as their straight counterpart. Black and brown people simply had a much smaller community, with resources, and options. Marrying was twice as important because generational wealthy, and options, were smaller.
I'm not here to discount the white male struggle of our gay forefathers, but I am saying like with all things in the West, white men, including gays, had a lot more options, freedoms, and resources.
|December 4, 2023 12:44 AM
r10 this season of Julia (HBO Show about Julia Child) has an episode where an old queen is accompanying a wealthy widow. At one point, his young, hot, gay lover shows up and a guest mentions to the widow that her man may not be into her. She responds that she knows and doesn't care, he offered her companionship in her old age, which was worth more to her than love.
Made sense for a lonely woman and a lonely man to make a friendship.
|December 4, 2023 12:50 AM
r13 how was it damaging? The disappointment or a lifetime of chasing closeted/unavailable men? Do tell!
|December 4, 2023 12:51 AM
[quote]Except the police, blackmailers and gay-bashers.
I was a young man in the 1970s and lived in NYC.
It is impossible to explain to a young person today the wild open-air sex rodeo that Manhattan was at that time....the numerous bars, backrooms, gay cinemas all over the place, peep shows, the baths, the piers, the t-rooms...sex was every where and very, very open. During that time I never heard of anyone being bothered by the police.
Today is like Puritan times in comparison.
|December 4, 2023 12:57 AM
[quote]One residual of that still strong in the 1970s and 1980s was a mix of people brought together only by their sexuality. One night you might go home with a banker from a long line of bankers to a rather palatial apartment, the next you might fuck on the dirty sofa of a bricklayer while his visiting brother slept in the bedroom, and the brother might wake up and join in ("nothing too gay").
So true. You obviously were there. Such exhilarating times. Sex at the Dakota, at the Olympic Tower, at a townhouse off Park, at a tenement on the lower East Side, sex at a 42 nd Street peep show....it was crazy.
|December 4, 2023 1:03 AM
Glad r33 & r34 had so much fun because the free wheeling ways lead to the spread of AIDs at a politically inopportune time for gay rights. But, at least there was great sex for all those lives and time we lost.
|December 4, 2023 1:10 AM
R35, I think everyone, gay and straight, has a a strong libido in their 20s and 30s. If you don't, there's something with you.
|December 4, 2023 1:15 AM
I think all of that unprotected sex lead to massive consequences. We can appreciate your slutty 1970s NYC, but also know the horrors it brought in the 80s and 90s to our community. We may be prudish today when it comes to sex, but at least our youth are alive, healthy, and able to be out in the open. It was a perfectly acceptable trade-off.
|December 4, 2023 1:18 AM
R35 and R37 If you had been around then, in your 20s, in Manhattan, would you have sat home?
|December 4, 2023 1:20 AM
R35, young straight people in the Edwardian era had a liberal attitude towards sex because they were rebelling against the restrictions of the Victorian era. And this is before there was really good contraception.
Straight people in the 1960s had liberal attitudes about sex because they were rebelling against the oppressive 1950s. These liberal attitudes spread to gay men in the 1970s.
|December 4, 2023 1:21 AM
Where do you live R37 -- the youth (and not so youth) of today in Manhattan are all on prep; and raw-dogging is again the norm.
As well as a 24-hour post-sex dose of doxycycline to help nip other std's in the bud.
|December 4, 2023 1:22 AM
^^ignore my typo. STDs
|December 4, 2023 1:26 AM
R37, you only appreciate the down side after the fact. Who would have predicted AIDS, a new fatal sexually transmitted disease, would happen?
I'll bet people in the 1960s and 1970s thought they were living in a brand new world because there were antibiotics that could cure STIs and vaccines that could prevent STIs. In the 19th century and earlier, I assume if you contracted an STI, you had it for life and diseases like syphilis could be lethal. It didn't stop men from cheating on their wives. Rembrandt made a portrait of a man whose face was disfigured because his mother had syphilis. I know that if a woman was infected with certain STIs during pregnancy, there could be catastrophic consequences for the developing fetus, eg serious disability or death. Not exactly surprising that Christianity stressed getting married and staying faithful to your spouse.
|December 4, 2023 1:32 AM
* ...if a woman was infected with certain STIs for the first time during pregnancy...
|December 4, 2023 1:34 AM
Tangentially related: In the late 70s and 80s I met a lot of gay men in Los Angeles who were employed, but seemed to live in a style much more higher class than their income might predict. Seemed to me there was a whole "type" of gay men who were from families of considerable means, but because they were gay they were "exiled" to LA or SF. It seemed to me (I dated a number these guys) that their life in these west coast enclaves were not just "that's where there were a lot gay men", rather they were exiled, and FUNDED to stay away from the midwestern and southern places they had grown up.
Class: upper. Lifestyle: ex-pat boho. Orientation: gay gay gay.
|December 4, 2023 1:44 AM
R44 You think life in a small town in the midwest and south in 2023 is so wonderful for a gay man? Young gay men are still moving to, or long to move to, the cities. Of course the problem today is that few can.
50-40 years ago you could move to LA or NYC with no money, get a dumb job, rent an apartment and if needed get a roommate and you could make it work. Those days are over.
|December 4, 2023 1:54 AM
R45 Yes, of course. My point (given OP's interest in the impact of social class on old gay choices) that I'd known a lot of guys from rich families who were basically given an allowance if they stayed away from Kansas City et. al. Of course men of all classes and means came to the big cities. But these guys were a unique subgroup. More to OP's question, I don't think there are many wealthy families in 2023 who are so concerned about a gay son besmirching the family reputation that they pay for him to go live in the Castro.
|December 4, 2023 2:02 AM
[quote] I'd known a lot of guys from rich families who were basically given an allowance if they stayed away from Kansas City et. al.
Do you actually *know* this or is it your speculation? One post you indicate it's what you think, the next you say you know it for sure? Which is it? I find it hard to believe that happened for many gay men, to be honest. Perhaps the appearance of their income simply came from spending everything they made (no wife or kids to keep) or from inheritances/trust funds.
|December 4, 2023 8:49 AM
It would be rather hard to prove, but I think gay men in the 19th century and early 20th century were drawn preferentially to male-only professions and areas. I think lots of cowboys were probably gay, seamen, (navy, merchant marine, whaling ships), army, especially if posted overseas, explorers, miners, anything that got a man away from being constantly hounded about why he wasn't married. In rural areas, that probably continued well into the 20th century. But yes, any sorts of jobs in the theater, dance, certain kinds of musical careers, interior design, graphic design, photography, window dressers, fashion, and retail in men's shops and fine department stores would have employed a ton of gay men up through Stonewall in the larger cities. Solitary professions like writers, and artists would also probably entice gay men. I think gay men probably memorized standard lines when questioned. "Oh I'm a confirmed bachelor" or, 'I'm just not the marrying kind", or "I just haven't met the right kind of woman for me", etc.
|December 4, 2023 9:26 AM
As an 18 year old teenager in the late 80’s, my older Boston roommate at the time took me to one of the last (if not the last)Black Party at the Saint in NYC.
He made sure to walk me through the entire club as though he was a proud curator of a museum, making sure I saw every dark corner of the glorious debacle and every sexual deed on display. These were men he knew well, and a generation that had been already devastated by the AIDS crisis. This tribe of men had weathered through and enjoyed both persecution and a freedom of sex and sexuality that we may never see or celebrate again.
I didn’t realize how special it really was at the time, but John did.
|December 4, 2023 10:23 AM
[quote]Glad [R33] & [R34] had so much fun because the free wheeling ways lead to the spread of AIDs at a politically inopportune time for gay rights.
FFS. It's not like the men of the 1970s invoked AIDS on purpose! You might as well accuse the general public of inflicting Covid on the world because of their obstinate failure to wear face masks in 2015. Those guys raging in the 1970s had just started to be released from decades and decades of fear, isolation, violence and pressure to conform, you dick. They WERE the face of gay rights.
That kind of moralizing at the time was the reason so many more gay men and drug users died in the US than in places that didn't get up on their high horse about it.
|December 4, 2023 11:46 AM
Thank you, R50. Vicious cunt r35 deserves to be slapped in the face until his neck breaks.
|December 4, 2023 11:50 AM
“That kind of moralizing…”
Gay msm in the late 1960s into the early 1980s were into some heavy duty barebacking popper driven sex with lots of fists deep into a lot of asses followed by lots of dicks into those same asses. The baths were amazing. Hardcore unprotected anal followed by more unprotected anal with many. They were absolutely wild and fun and interesting. The smell of poppers everywhere.
It was never going to last. Then men stated to die. It was not a scare as someone above said. It was 100,000s of dead men.
Today msm lead the way again. Read on any msm hookup site. Condoms are out barebacking is back in with force. Men requesting to be filled with cum by as many takers as possible.
Today msm lead in just about every STD category I can think of. A small percentage of the countries population drives the STD epidemics.
It is what it is.
This is where the Mile Johnson’s of the world will pounce when they are in charge and the next serious outbreak of infectious disease starts within the gay community.
The Mike Johnson camps or home detention will not be because you are gay the camps will be because you are infected. And a threat to others.
Like our political system I expect things to get a lot worse not better. 3-5-20 years from now those alive will see a lot worse as far as politics and as far as msm std s..
It is what it is.
|December 4, 2023 12:24 PM
Millennials are insufferable, R50. They love acting like morally superior scolds.
|December 4, 2023 1:59 PM
R47 If I claimed some kind of unimpeachable data-derived conclusion, I didn't mean that. This is a thread on an amusing gayboard, not a place where social science is rigorously explored. I knew men in both LA and SF who grew up in great wealth in the midwest and were "paid" by their families to move away. In both cities it seemed to me that each circle had several men defined in this way.
Qualitative narrative research, not hard data, of course.
For other posts about HIV being some inevitable (perhaps even justified) result of unlimited sexual freedom: Jesus fucking Christ even 40 years later we are still internalizing this as some punishment for immortality. HIV was a virus. A virus, not a damnation.
|December 4, 2023 3:19 PM
You bunch of scolding scullery maids!!
|December 4, 2023 3:39 PM
R55 Aunt Ruby has spoken.
|December 4, 2023 3:40 PM
Yes HIV is a virus but it became a deadly epidemic because of certain behaviors. Lots of people had lots of sex and were at virtually no risk for AIDS. Many gay men had lots of sex and were at much smaller to little risk of AIDS and death. Certain behaviors are always going to be more risky. If people know that they can lower their risk.
HIV if it had hit in 1951 instead of 1981 would have looked totally different with a shit load less dead gay men. The baths which were not a thing in 1948 and fisting with lots of poppers which were not a thing in 1948 , and lots of unprotected sex, that was what drove AIDS and AIDS deaths. Behaviors especially being an anal bottom who did not insist on protection, not bad luck played a major role in all those deaths..
HIV+MPox+Syphilis+Gonorrhea for many men it’s not one or the other it’s all 4 plus some more today.
That is not going to be physically heathy it’s also not going to be politically healthy if the Mike Johnson’s are in power long.
|December 4, 2023 3:45 PM
[quote] Who would have predicted AIDS, a new fatal sexually transmitted disease, would happen?
I find it hard to believe that any twentieth century infectious disease doctor or epidemiologist worth his salt would not have believed that promiscuity within a closed demographic group (e.g., the <10% of the population that are MSM) enables social diseases to emerge and spread quickly within that social group. They just thought then, and many continue naively to think so now, that medical science will find a cure for any disease that happens to come along.
|December 4, 2023 4:17 PM
[quote]promiscuity within a closed demographic group (e.g., the <10% of the population that are MSM) enables social diseases to emerge and spread quickly within that social group
oh, like Africa where HIV hit so profoundly? really?
|December 4, 2023 4:46 PM
Where is Africa do you live?
|December 4, 2023 4:50 PM
There is a good deal of misinformation above. The sexual revolution in the late 60s and all the way through the 70s was not confined to gay men. Straight people were also exploring the boundaries of non-monogamous sex in droves. They had their own sex clubs (Plato's retreat, etc etc). But straight people don't have anal sex in nearly the numbers that gay men do. They have other options, and frankly, anal sex is not as pleasurable for women, who have no prostate, as it is for men, so they are more likely to exercise veto power. It's just a sad accident that HIV is a blood-borne disease, and anal sex is the one form of sex that is almost guaranteed to bring a blood-rich area of the body, prone to micro-bleeds with ever encounter, into contact with semen and/or bloody abrasions on the skin of the insertive penis.
When the pathogenic model of medicine evolved in the 19th century, and people realized how syphilis was transferred, a disease which probably infected close to half the inhabitants of Europe, there was an immediate clamp-down on sexual activity. What we now call Victorian prudishness was almost completely driven by fear of infection. Cities, then and now, were the real drivers of sexual disease spread, because of the expanded options for sexual activity, and the mobility and anonymity of the population.
I don't see any evidence that the sexual activities of gay men are anywhere near what they were in the late 1970s. Yes, there is a subset of gay men who have the money to spend all their time in the party circuit, and drugs and unprotected sex are a big part of that - but they don't represent the majority of gay men, most of whom are having the occasional grnder hookup and keeping their precious bottle of Prep handy or have partnered up sufficiently to mostly have sex with a very few people.
|December 5, 2023 8:18 AM
“ I don’t see the evidence”
Would you suggest a federally funded study?
No one ever suggested it was only msm having lots of sex with lots of different people. The issue is epidemics of syphilis, MPox, HIV, AIDS, Neurosyphilis, etc etc
And you are correct these are driven by lots of anal sex without gloves or condoms. That was the case in 1980 and in 2023.
In time this will no longer be a medical,issue it will become a'political,issue. Driven by the right. Something previous admins and cdc and nih have tried really hard to avoid. The next admin or the one after may see this a lot differently.
“ Infected Gay Men A Threat To Children”
That headline when and if it happens begins the end of gay rights in the US. No one cares if the infections stay within the community.
|December 5, 2023 12:44 PM
I grew up in 1910 Weimar Republic and the gays were walking around naked in front of each other. When Hitler saw that, he was jealous and started ww2 as a result. It was don't ask, don't tell why he initially started it.
|December 5, 2023 3:15 PM
Agree with R62 about the "peril" of the foundations of R61's arguments.
Also: [quote]What we now call Victorian prudishness was almost completely driven by fear of infection.
Source? The history/research of the period I read concludes that:
1. Sex among Victorians was much more frequent than we conclude from our retrospective view of their public voices. (See the widespread presence of prostitutes).
2. Sexual liberation. Read about Edward Carpenter and other "free love" socialists in Britain.
|December 5, 2023 3:19 PM
[quote]What we now call Victorian prudishness was almost completely driven by fear of infection.
Interesting. I did not know that was the cause of Victorian prudishness.
I heard an interview with writer A.S. Byatt. She mentioned that some young Edwardians were into free love. I assume she did her research and knows what she's talking about.
|December 5, 2023 3:42 PM
[quote]Gay men now look not for good fucks (outside the secret realm of apps) but for quality boyfriend material.
Please, stop. Just stop.
|December 5, 2023 4:25 PM
R54 "who grew up in great wealth in the midwest"
|December 5, 2023 4:49 PM
I spend the War Years at my garçonnière in the Shanghai French Concession, one of the last dens of iniquity where the meat market allowed all classes to mingle. Along with Geneva. Many homosexsicles from the great houses of Europe, North Africa and Indochina were sent to one or the other city to hibernate.
|December 5, 2023 5:04 PM
R67 = the overbearing hall monitor of syntax and word choice has shared his thinking processes.
|December 5, 2023 6:27 PM
r46 yeah, even many conservative (or at least Republican) families are more open to accepting a gay son today, ideally if they had a backup straight son as well. If that's their only boy than mom and dad just quietly seethe at their lot in life. And I follow some gays in rural W Virginia, it's really not that bad in many small town or areas if you keep things quiet in public. But small town America isn't blind to gays. They just adopt a don't ask, don't tell, don't show policy. This isn't Afghanistan.
|December 5, 2023 8:32 PM
r64 for your reading pleasure:
"What impact did the prevalence of syphilis have on society, especially in terms of public health and moral judgments, in the 19th century? The prevalence of syphilis had a profound impact on society, particularly in terms of public health and moral judgments, during the 19th century.
Syphilis was a highly contagious sexually transmitted infection that spread rapidly throughout populations, causing significant morbidity and mortality. The disease had devastating effects on individuals and communities, leading to widespread fear and stigma.
From a public health perspective, the prevalence of syphilis presented numerous challenges. The lack of effective treatment options during this time meant that syphilis often progressed to its later stages, causing severe complications such as neurosyphilis, cardiovascular damage, and disfigurement. These complications not only impacted individual health but also strained healthcare systems and resources.
Public health officials attempted to address the issue through various initiatives. For example, in some countries, efforts were made to establish venereal disease clinics for diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, public awareness campaigns were launched to educate the population about the risks of syphilis and promote preventive measures, such as practicing abstinence or using condoms. Despite these efforts, the stigma surrounding the disease often hindered progress in effectively combating its spread.
Moral judgments and societal attitudes towards individuals with syphilis were influenced by the prevailing moral code of the time. The disease was often associated with promiscuity and immoral behavior, leading to widespread condemnation and ostracization of those affected. The moral judgments extended not only to individuals infected with syphilis but also to their families, who often faced social exclusion and discrimination.
The prevailing belief in the 19th century was that syphilis was a punishment for immoral behavior, reinforcing negative attitudes and inhibiting efforts to provide support and care for affected individuals. This attitude also had implications for marital relationships, as the fear of contracting syphilis from a partner led to strained marriages and an increase in social tensions.
In conclusion, syphilis had a significant impact on society during the 19th century. Its prevalence had public health ramifications, straining healthcare systems and resources, while moral judgments and societal attitudes perpetuated stigma and discrimination. The understanding and management of syphilis have significantly improved since then, but its impact on 19th-century society cannot be underestimated.
In conclusion, syphilis in the 19th century was a devastating disease that plagued individuals and communities alike. The impact of this sexually transmitted infection was magnified by a lack of understanding and effective treatment options at the time. With its debilitating symptoms and potential for transmission, syphilis posed a significant threat to public health during this era.
The stigma surrounding syphilis was pervasive, leading to secrecy and shame among those affected. This resulted in delayed diagnosis and treatment, exacerbating the spread of the disease. Additionally, the social and economic consequences of syphilis were far-reaching. Families were torn apart, livelihoods were disrupted, and the overall well-being of communities was undermined.
However, the 19th century also witnessed advancements in the field of medicine that began to shed light on the nature of syphilis and explore potential treatments. The discovery of the causative agent, Treponema pallidum, by Friedrich Schaudinn and Erich Hoffmann in 1905 paved the way for further research and understanding of the disease.
While the progress made in the 19th century was limited compared to contemporary medical advancements, it laid the foundation for future breakthroughs and the eventual development of antibiotics that would effectively treat syphilis.
|December 7, 2023 7:19 AM
Rembrandt's "Portrait of Gerard de Lairesse". Gerard's mother had syphilis and passed on the infection to her baby during pregnancy. The syphilis caused him to go blind in his late forties. The disease caused his facial features to swell and made his nose bulbous.
We're so lucky to live in the age of antibiotics and vaccines and STI testing. STIs caused so much misery in the past.
|December 7, 2023 7:36 AM
Was the Stonewall riot really that much of a watershed in gay life (as opposed to gay political activity)? There wouldn't have been a Stonewall Inn if there wasn't already an organised gay scene of some kind.
|December 7, 2023 8:32 AM
Because lgbt people responded to a raid with violence and the police were rocked back on their heels. At one time, police officers had to barricade themselves inside the Stonewall Inn because they were greatly outnumbered by angry protesters.
|December 7, 2023 3:31 PM
People with "respectable" middle class or upper middle class jobs tried to slip away when the Stonewall Inn was raided. Those who were more on the fringe stayed and fought.
|December 7, 2023 5:37 PM
Great old-school personal blog about gay life in NYC from the mid 50s -- the late 90's. Entries are dense with historic and personal anecdotes and the writer is a very smart, well spoken guy. Read the whole thing during the pandemic and found it fascinating.
He discusses Stonewall, the bar and the event at length, towards the end of the linked page.
|December 7, 2023 7:14 PM
Gay people, r74. Even Marsha always called himself gay and loved the word gay. Stonewall led to Gay Pride and a bigger push for gay rights.
|December 7, 2023 7:56 PM
r76 that was an amazing link. I spent 2 hours reading through it. I was in NYC during some of those years, but the author is so thorough and so detailed in the background of many of the clubs and bars, and the general gay scene in NY, much of which I never had any idea about, it was truly enlightening. Reading about the years of the AIDS epidemic and his time of working with GMHC was also the sort of first hand information that should be in history books. Thank you
|December 9, 2023 11:45 AM
You’re welcome, R78 menluvinguy. I actually found the site through a link on another DL thread back during lockdown.
I emailed the gentleman at the contact address he provided to tell him how much I enjoyed and learned from his writing. I never got a response, so I hope he is still well and still loving his retirement away from the dumpster fire that is the USA
|December 9, 2023 3:16 PM
R48 is probably right inasmuch as there was more physical (not necessarily sexual) intimacy among men in all-male environments in those days and there was probably a lot of quiet coupling that went on, as well as opportunistic men having sex with men.
One thing that changed after WWII was the rudiments of leather culture which tended tos pring-up in places like NYC and SF that had attracted a working class gay population because of experience during the war (processing, being stationed , etc.). That culture, of course, attracted decorators, well-off men, etc. who liked to slum, had their own fetishes, etc. but it was grounded in an experience that was unlike the arty, more bohemian gay culture in those places.
|December 9, 2023 3:39 PM
[quote]It would be rather hard to prove, but I think gay men in the 19th century and early 20th century were drawn preferentially to male-only professions and areas. I think lots of cowboys were probably gay, seamen, (navy, merchant marine, whaling ships), army, especially if posted overseas, explorers, miners, anything that got a man away from being constantly hounded about why he wasn't married. In rural areas, that probably continued well into the 20th century.
I live in Winnipeg, Canada. When the city was just a settlement growing in the 19th century, there was an overabundance of men. The city fathers actually decided to establish a red light district and bring in prostitutes because they were worried that with so many men, they would satisfy their sexual urges with each other 😆.
|December 9, 2023 9:18 PM
Lincoln is one of the edge cases of OP's question that has always fascinated me.
|December 9, 2023 10:01 PM
r79, I did the math on the author of that autobiography, and if he's still alive, he'd be about 85 now, so perhaps that's why he never responded to your email. He left a lot of breadcrumbs about his identity in the bio, so maybe someday we'll know what his name is/was.
|December 10, 2023 10:28 AM
This is one of the best threads I've encountered here in my three years browsing The DataLounge!
|December 10, 2023 11:33 AM
Social security really changed everything
|December 10, 2023 5:21 PM
Depending on where you live, bars still have more or less mixed clientele--places with one gay bar like State College or non-gay meccas like Pittsburgh. A friend who was used to SF and Atlanta was surprised to find out that if you met a painter in a bar in Pittsburgh, it usually was a house painter rather than an artist.
|December 11, 2023 1:07 AM
One thing I have been told is that in many mid-sized cities the blue collar dive taverns were often a meeting place, with usually a section unofficially deemed for gays (they had to be discreet). Sunday afternoons were very popular.
|December 11, 2023 1:14 AM
Rural areas and some smaller college towns often had some place with unofficial gay nights. Sometimes these were restaurants.
|December 11, 2023 1:18 AM
I've spent a lot of time in rural Appalachia on work assignments. Gays and lesbians who are born and bred in those towns are accepted as everyone has seen them grow up from infancy and so everyone knows that Tommy is effeminate or Mary Sue is butch. It's who they are and have always been and no one cares as long as they don't try to peddle 'outside ideas'. Gay people from outside the community are regarded with suspicion and rancor and are shunned as they are expected to be like everyone else and, if they are not, there's been no history or insider status to lessen the stigma.
|December 11, 2023 3:58 AM
R89: Very much in agreement, though one point worth making is that in the following sentence you could remove the word "gay."
[quote]Gay people from outside the community are regarded with suspicion and rancor and are shunned as they are expected to be like everyone else...
Anyone from outside is shunned or at least regarded with deep-seated suspicion. If a gay or lesbian outsider makes some headway, he or she will hear that 'my brother, my sister, my uncle, my cousin, my best friend..." There are towns where people may go into the Dollar Store just to get a good look at some stranger who passed by their porch, but everybody knows someone rather closely who's gay or lesbian. It's the strangers from away who worry them.
|December 11, 2023 12:46 PM
Suggest you read a bit of history OP. Yes there is much more to it than that and there is also an historical account if you’re curious.
|December 11, 2023 3:24 PM
"I don't think it was a peaceful life. I think of the writer John Cheever, who had sex with men and women. (I'm not calling him gay or bi here, because I really don't know.) But I love his short stories, and the male protagonists in them are usually deeply troubled alcoholics (as he was)."
I resent that deeply. I am not an alcoholic. My wife, on the other hand.....
|December 11, 2023 3:30 PM
Two lesbians could live together and people just assumed they were heterosexual spinsters who lived together to save on expenses. Two men who lived together would always be suspect and a source of gossip.
|December 11, 2023 5:54 PM
R93 so that’s the true storyline from those sisters in The Gilded Age. They both killed their husbands for the money.
|December 11, 2023 7:14 PM
R78 R79 I have just spent a couple of hours reading that blog, it was so interesting. I especially like the the 60’s era when he lived with Ken.
|December 13, 2023 7:28 PM
|December 14, 2023 5:55 PM