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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 05:12 AM

For Centuries, Blackmail Was a Tool Used to Intimidate Gay Men

There are a lot of exaggerations in the 2018 film The Favourite, but one part thatís true to life is that Sarah Churchill really did threaten to blackmail Queen Anne with letters suggesting the two were more than just friends. Itís a rare example of an 18th-century woman blackmailing another over a supposed same-sex relationship during an era when that was mostly a manís game.

Long before tabloids threatened to release intimate photos of billionaires, British men began sexually blackmailing each other with accusations of sodomy. The accusation didnít just threaten social stigma; the punishment for attempted sodomy was years in prison, and the punishment for proven sodomy was death.

Despite the consequences, there were quite a few men sleeping with men in early 18th-century London. Some solicited sex on the street from male soldiers working as prostitutes. It was around this time that soldiers began to blackmail wealthy clients, but also men they simply thought would pay rather than have to face a charge of sodomy, however unfounded. Sometimes, a soldier would accost a random person on the street and say if that he didnít pay him, the soldier would swear to the magistrate that he was a sodomite, says Randolph Trumbach, a history professor at Baruch CollegeóCity University of New York.

ďA man in these years therefore stood about as good a chance of being blackmailed for sodomy as of being charged with actually committing the act,Ē Trumbach writes in ďBlackmail for Sodomy in Eighteenth-Century London,Ē after reviewing court indictments from the years 1752 to 1759.


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Reply For Centuries, Blackmail Was a Tool Used to Intimidate Gay Men (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Feb 2019 OP
Odoreida Feb 2019 #1

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 09:04 AM

1. Still is in some places n/t


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