xvi Chronology A second source of documents related to human sexuality is legislation and court proceedings. Beginning in the 1600s America, colonies and states enacted laws to control sodomy. Vague terms were used to describe sodomy and generally meant any form of sexuality disapproved by those in power, who were white landowners. By the early twentieth century, states passed laws to sexually sterilize persons considered “deviant.” With the development of psychology, psychopathic laws were passed to indefinitely incarcerate those convicted of illegal sexual crimes. These three catego- ries of laws created a cache of documents that demonstrate how confused legislators were concerning human sexuality and morality. Court proceedings and decisions also help to shed light on the relationship between religion and sexuality in early America. Unfortunately, legislation and court proceedings only show the tip of the iceberg con- cerning homosexual behaviors and nothing about same-sex relationships—and what is shown is extremely negative. Finally, we have the problem of identity. The gay identity is decidedly a mod- ern term that cannot be properly applied to people of earlier cultures. Also, the gay- straight dichotomy is extremely limiting. How people express their gender, sexual orientation, sex roles, and more is extremely fluid. It seems that for most of human history and most places on this earth, conforming to gender roles was important but not with whom you had sex. Considering that there are no documents showing same- sex marriages, or the adoption of children by same-sex couples, or diaries that explic- itly state homosexual behaviors or “gay” identities, it is problematic to tell a history that includes LGBT people. Since Stonewall, and in particular the past 30 years, gay rights have come to the forefront of world politics. Every day there is some act of gay protest, opposition to gay rights, laws being passed or rescinded that specifically identify sexual orienta- tion, and other events. Thus, any chronology, including this one, will be incomplete. Readers are encouraged to use this list as a starting point in their own research. Homosexuality Prior to the Nineteenth Century The Industrial Revolution caused major changes in most people’s lives. The devel- opment of steam power, the use of fossil fuels, and the invention of electricity were technical developments that increased the ability of humans to communicate and be productive. These events occurred during the 1800s. Before that, most people worked on farms. A farmer in seventeenth-century England might be virtually indistinguish- able from a farmer in 180 CE Rome or a farmer in Egypt or China or Africa in 2000 BCE. Cultures slowly evolved and most accepted homosexual behaviors. In general, as long as a person who owned property fulfilled his or her familial obligations of producing children, with whom they had sex was relatively immaterial. What is rarely written about are what anthropologists call “all-male societies” (or societies made up of one gender). Jamestown, the first settlement in America by Europeans, was made up exclusively of men. Frontiersmen, the military, and the movement west were conducted mostly by men. The early settlement of the Midwest,
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