- ジェンダー史学 (ISSN:18804357)
- vol.2, pp.63-76, 2006 (Released:2011-10-11)
The purpose of this essay is to interrogate the socio-historical background against which malemale intimate relations were decriminalized in late twentieth-century England, focusing on how the perception of same-sex relations changed in response to the rise of the concept of "homo-/heterosexuality," and how this affected the change in the criminal law against male-male intimate relations, which had previously been criminalized since 1885.Since the 1980s, a number of research projects, highlighting issues concerning the criminalization and/or de-criminalization of male-male intimate relations in England, have been carried out on the history of "homosexuality." Most of the research depicts the process of decriminalizing of such relations in the context of a rise of the so-called "permissive" society based on liberal political thinking. Although this essay does not deny the importance played by the emergence of liberal attitudes towards human sexuality in general, it is argued that there must be other characteristics of this process, which cannot be wholly explained by the emergence of the "permissive" society. That is, there was a transformation of the perception of same-sex intimate relations from an immoral and degraded act to "homosexuality" as an ontological state or identity which claims that the "homosexuals" are individuals who deserve the right to exist just as the "heterosexuals".This essay examines the historical circumstances under which the concept of "homo-/heterosexuality" was made, and how it circulated and subsequently changed the way people perceive human sexuality, especially male-male intimate relations. Although the emergence of the "permissive" society was a vital factor in laying the framework in which other factors could operate, by itself it cannot explicate whole story of the decriminalization process. Along with the liberalization of the general political atmosphere of society, it is crucial to examine the historical circumstances under which the change in people's perceptions of same-sex relations occurred, as well as how this in turn changed the attitudes of people toward the "homosexual".