HOMOSEXUAL EXISTENCE AND EXISTING SOCIALISM: New Light on the Repression of Male Homosexuality in Stalin's Russia

HOMOSEXUAL EXISTENCE AND EXISTING SOCIALISM: New Light on the Repression of Male Homosexuality in... 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 world’s first 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 regime’s religious and reactionary regulation of sexuality has been presented as the benchmark of an enlightened sexual politics. The same viewpoint interprets the Soviet government’s recriminalization of sodomy during 1933 – 34 as one feature of the “reactionary trend” accompanying Joseph Stalin’s rule, a degeneration from Vladimir Lenin’s (or Leon Trotsky’s) 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 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies Duke University Press

HOMOSEXUAL EXISTENCE AND EXISTING SOCIALISM: New Light on the Repression of Male Homosexuality in Stalin's Russia

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1064-2684
eISSN
1527-9375
D.O.I.
10.1215/10642684-8-3-349
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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 world’s first 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 regime’s religious and reactionary regulation of sexuality has been presented as the benchmark of an enlightened sexual politics. The same viewpoint interprets the Soviet government’s recriminalization of sodomy during 1933 – 34 as one feature of the “reactionary trend” accompanying Joseph Stalin’s rule, a degeneration from Vladimir Lenin’s (or Leon Trotsky’s) 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

Journal

GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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