In Victorian England, terms such as lesbian and sapphic came into use for female relationships. For some time, the Victorians never seemed to consider criminalising female homosexuality.
Apocryphally, these were also due to be criminalised in the 1885 legislation know as the Labouchere Amendment, until Queen Victoria declared them impossible, whereupon the clause was omitted – a joke that serves to underline a common, and commonly welcomed, ignorance, at a time when lurid, fictionalised lesbianism was often figured as an especially repulsive and seductive French vice.
“The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you’ve just told them.” – Rachel Maddow
One of the first people to break the amendment was Oscar Wilde. The judge sentenced him to two years hard labour, although he wished he could punish him even more saying that, “this is the worst case I have ever tried.” A week earlier, the same judge tried a case of child murder.
The Phrygian cap is a soft felt or wool headdress fitting closely around the head and characterized by a pointed crown that curls forward. It originated in the ancient country of Phrygia in Asia Minor and is represented in ancient Greek art as the type of headdress worn by Orientals. In Rome the Phrygian cap was worn by emancipated slaves as a symbol of their freedom. During the 11th and 12th centuries, it was again extensively used.
The Phrygian cap once more became the emblem of liberty in the 18th century during the French Revolution, when it was adopted by the Revolutionaries as “the red cap of liberty.” Until this day it is closely associated with the French Republic, as it is the headdress worn by Marianne, the allegorical personification of France.
The United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious adherence; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and infant mortality.
Sappho Sadly, the same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious literalism, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms.
Hang on, political party affiliation in the United States is not a perfect indicator of religiosity! Continue reading →