Dan Healey Queer historians and activists have a peculiar relationship with the history of the Soviet Union. It is a relationship that has been shaped by Cold War politics and the rise, initially in the Anglo-American world, of the gay liberation movement. For activists on the left, the knowledge that the worldâs ï¬rst socialist state proclaimed a radical sexual politics has served as a talisman and guide. The decriminalization of male homosexuality, in the form of sodomy, in early revolutionary Russia was one of the sweeping changes to criminal, family, and property law that marked the coming of the Bolsheviks to power. The comprehensive clearing away of the tsarist regimeâs religious and reactionary regulation of sexuality has been presented as the benchmark of an enlightened sexual politics. The same viewpoint interprets the Soviet governmentâs recriminalization of sodomy during 1933 â 34 as one feature of the âreactionary trendâ accompanying Joseph Stalinâs rule, a degeneration from Vladimir Leninâs (or Leon Trotskyâs) presumed legitimate socialism.1 Our narratives also present the Soviet reversal on male homosexuality during the troubled 1930s through the prism of international relations. This perspective draws heavily on the work of the Freudian and Marxist sex reformer Wilhelm
GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies – Duke University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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