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1895. You live in a small rural village with 300 people. You are only attracted to men.

I can't imagine how hard life must have been for those men. They absolutely could not talk to anybody about it and lived their lives denying who they were. So sad

by Anonymousreply 7410/19/2013

Go west, young man.

Many of our gay ancestors did just that, as well as go out to the colonies. Whether it was riding the range as a cowboy or serving the British Raj in India, many a gay young man used the opportunity to escape from their homes to a "more free" civilization that also happened to be primarily male.

I'm not saying they all were, but the historical record indicates that quite a few of them were. We've always been the vanguard of society.

by Anonymousreply 110/11/2013

Easy. You move to San Francisco, and become a drag Nelly Bly impersonator.

by Anonymousreply 210/11/2013

It could be worse. You could live in a small rural village with 300 people and not find a single one of them attractive.

by Anonymousreply 310/11/2013

You think you had to go back as fa as 1895 for that? Sounds just like 1965 to me.

by Anonymousreply 410/11/2013

You fool around with the guys in your neighborhood.

by Anonymousreply 510/11/2013

Lotsa' horny farmers whose womenfolk have closed the door on sex, so they had to go SOMEwhere. The parson's boy was right cute.

by Anonymousreply 610/11/2013

I'm the farmhand hanging around the outhouse at 2:00 am!

by Anonymousreply 710/11/2013

Imagine being a lesbian in that same village!

You couldn't join the army or go west, the only jobs available were for maidservants. A young lesbian basically had a choice between living with their parents as their unpaid slavey, or marrying a man without benefit of birth control or laws against domestic violence.

Jeez, life there would suck for everybody, even the straights.

by Anonymousreply 810/11/2013

This is why we've always kept in shape, comparatively well-groomed, and lively.

We're all a genetically a natural safe-house for gay-curious men and gay-loving women within miles.

by Anonymousreply 910/11/2013

Old West gays.

by Anonymousreply 1010/11/2013

There's something very Johnny Guitar about this thread.

by Anonymousreply 1110/11/2013

Since being gay was not an identity in 1895, it would probably not have been that big an issue. Sex was not something that people thought about 24/7. It was not in one's face everyday in what little media there was.

The fact is that in a small town with 300 people, one had much more important things to worry about.

by Anonymousreply 1210/11/2013

(R12) Do you believe thinking about sex is a 'modern' phenomenon ?

by Anonymousreply 1310/11/2013

You're very wrong, R12. In small rural towns in 1895 there was no mass media, no entertainment, so people gossiped about each other in ways you would not believe. If two young people exchanged two words, it'd be all over town that they were either getting married or expecting a bastard baby. If a boy mooned after other boys in a toxic environment like that, it'd be noticed, and both the boy and his parents would be ridiculed.

And speaking of bastard babies, that was a known coping mechanism. If a gay man married a girl who was pregnant by some guy who wouldn't marry her, he'd get a family, and wife who owed him bigtime.

by Anonymousreply 1410/11/2013

R13, no I do not believe that sex is a modern phenomenon, but society's attitudes about sex have changed. To put it in another context. People in a small down of 300 would have though about death much more than we think of it today. That does not mean that death has ceased to exist, or even that death has diminished, it just means that society has changed.

by Anonymousreply 1510/11/2013

The word "sodomite" was in use in 1895, r12.

by Anonymousreply 1610/11/2013

r12, you are very wrong. There was a gay identity in 1895; there was a gay identity in 1795 and 1695 and 1595, etc., etc. It just wasn't as expressive as the gay identity of 1995 and 2013.

You read about the gay men from the past and they KNEW they were different; they didn't have the terms we have today and they were far more terrified of being found out, but they understood themselves. And some of them realized there was a way to experience that identity -- running away to the city or all-male environments such as the Navy, the Army or the colonies/the west.

by Anonymousreply 1710/11/2013

Run away to 1) the sea; 2) lumber camp; 3) army. That's why the army was so homophobic in the early 20th century. It had become a homosexual ghetto in the 19th century, and everybody knew it, and it was starved for funds as a consequence.

by Anonymousreply 1810/11/2013

r14, yes people gossiped, but is was all very "G" rated. Please, the couldn't even mention cancer by name. They may have gossiped about babies and infidelities, but not sex, except in the sense of the "town widow".

Just an FYI for you all, I grew up in a small town. Basically, where two roads met. There was a combination auto/farm machinery parts store and beauty parlor (I kid you not), the general store/post office that my father ran, a gas station, and a police station. That was the whole town. On the weekends, you went into the big city 25 miles away for your shopping, etc.

And yes, we read GRIT Magazine like it was the bible.

by Anonymousreply 1910/11/2013

There were a lot of nervous sheep.

by Anonymousreply 2110/11/2013

Actually, things weren't all that much better for gays in small towns in 1995, except for access to TV.

by Anonymousreply 2210/11/2013

R17, actually, I am fairly well read, and no there wasn't a gay identity as we know it today. There was homosexual behavior, and there were pansies and fairies, but the gay identity as we know it is a fairly new construct.

Much literature of the time makes it very clear that the issue wasn't homosexual behavior per se, but either adopting a feminine persona or not fulfilling ones duty to society (marriage, children). If you remained withing the boundaries of acceptable masculine behavior and did your duty as a husband and father, no one really thought much about your close best friend or the young man that you were mentoring.

by Anonymousreply 2310/11/2013

r18, good point about the lumber camps. In William Dean Howells' 1882 novel "A Modern Instance," the friend of the primary male character is the cook at a lumber camp -- Howells subtly indicates that this man is gay, possibly the pass-around "toy" for the men at the camp and he has a crush on the primary male character -- who, when he realizes what the man is and wants, storms away from him, pushing him down into the ground in disgust.

The book was a huge best-seller, and even though this passage only occurs in the first hundred pages (the rest of the novel deals with the breakdown of a marriage), readers in 1882 had to "get" what Howells was talking about.

by Anonymousreply 2410/11/2013

Well, r23, we're obviously reading different books.

by Anonymousreply 2510/11/2013

What a bag of ignorant fraud R23 is. First of all, homosexuality the term came along in 1867 and was widely applied, so at the time period we are talking about EVERYONE had heard the term and used it.

Second, those who say HUMAN NATURE has changed since 1895 have the burden of proving it. You were taught history in school. Sex was not considered a fit topic to teach children in school. Therefore you have come to the indefensible idea that people in historical times didn't think about sex the way modern people do - even though they lived around farm animals and bred them so sex was ALWAYS on their minds, not having television and the internet to distract them.

To which I reply, BUNK! You are not well-read if you think that is the case. Are you the one who asserted people were more obsessive about DEATH then? Guess what. People in every age have ignored DEATH to the best of their ability. Even when most people died at 50, people ignored DEATH, same as they do now.

If anything has changed, it is the prolongation of childhood, meaning people in olden times were introduced to sex in real life (as opposed to media) much earlier than today.

by Anonymousreply 2610/11/2013

"If a boy mooned after other boys in a toxic environment like that, it'd be noticed, and both the boy and his parents would be ridiculed."

Because he didn't have a nice ass?

by Anonymousreply 2710/11/2013

Some of you suggested that all you had to do was leave your village and join the army or go to the big city but I'm not sure that it was a possibility for everybody. For example, if you lived on a farm, maybe it was expected that you would take over, or marry the daughter of your next door neighbor. I think the father had a lot to do with how a young man would live his life. Did he have a choice ? Furthermore, why would you leave your village where you had a family and support for the unknown of the big city where you would have a terrible life working in a factory. Yes maybe after the war things were more easy for gays but I think before that it was not at all simple to live as your true self. Not everyone was an 'artist' or had the financial means to live in a big house alone with his 'special friends'.

by Anonymousreply 2810/11/2013

Most men attracted to other men got married to women and then fooled around on the side, either with select friends or anonymously through glory holes, rest stops and parks.

by Anonymousreply 2910/11/2013

(R29) We talking about 1895 !

by Anonymousreply 3010/11/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 3110/11/2013

R31, a lot of men in the 19th century shared rooms, even beds. It was a common arrangement. It wasn't, in itself, seen as deviant.

by Anonymousreply 3210/11/2013

Well I guess you shared a bed with family members. You had no reason to share the bed of the hunky blacksmith. OP said 1895 in a very small village. You just could not go and make a pass at the guy next door. And passing strangers were not that numerous I would guess.

by Anonymousreply 3310/11/2013

R26, you are clearly unable to see anything except your own experiences.

You could not be more wrong about death. People in the 19th century wallowed in death rather than ignored it. That is how they dealt the fact that it was a reality of every day life. And I mean "every day" not "everyday".

It was common to have photographs of the corpses of loved ones on display. Then there were all of the artistic confections made out of dead peoples hair, the elaborate memorial needlework, the mourning jewelry, etc., etc. Most of this would be dismissed a morbid today. Indeed, people would be concern for ones mental health. It was all considered perfectly normal.

Your claim that "everyone" heard the word homosexual in 1895 is laughable. It was a medical word that would have been used by very few. "Sodomite" or "invert" would have been used by the few people who had a grasp of the concept of homosexuality. Most people would have some vague notion of "sissies" and "fairies" without having any understanding of the sexuality. Generally, it would have been thrown into the vague, all encompassing notion of " just not right". Same goes for "sodomite". Most people would understand that it had something to do with the sins of Sodom, and that it was very, very bad, but they would not be able to tell you exactly what it meant.

by Anonymousreply 3410/11/2013

R32 has his head up his ass. There was no shortage of beds anytime anywhere in the nineteenth century and they had BUNDLING BOARDS to prevent sexual activity where there was. So when men shared a bed, chances are THEY HAD SEX.

by Anonymousreply 3510/11/2013

R33, not to mention that by the time one had deducted the elderly, the women, and the children from the 300, the dating pool would be very small.

by Anonymousreply 3610/11/2013

Thanks (R34). Very well said and informative. You seem to know a lot about that period.

by Anonymousreply 3710/11/2013

There's a lot of idealization from some of you I think.

by Anonymousreply 3810/11/2013

Uh r35, you are wrong. Indeed, one of the reasons that women did not travel was that one was not guaranteed a private bed at an inn. If the inn was full, you shared a bed. Houses were at best four rooms up and four rooms down. with large families, that meant sharing beds, particularly if guest were involved. Many homes were much smaller such as two rooms up, and two rooms down. Then there were tenements and trinities that had even less room.

by Anonymousreply 3910/11/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 4010/11/2013

R40, No the quote was as follows:

[quote]There was no shortage of beds anytime anywhere in the nineteenth century...

That statement is just plain wrong.

by Anonymousreply 4110/11/2013

The ignorance of people on this board is MONUMENTAL. There was never a shortage of beds in nineteenth century America. People made their own unless they lived in town. Women didn't travel because they weren't ALLOWED to, not because of the lack of accommodation. There was always somebody willing to rent a bedroom.

Your ideas of 1895 life are not based on reality, still less reading.

by Anonymousreply 4210/11/2013

It's just hilarious, the way these conservatives make those baldly ridiculous lies about the past.

1895 was a year when millions of bicycles were sold, there were hotels in all large towns, thousands of people traveled for business and women often traveled. There were refrigerators, baby carriages, axle grease was sold in the general stores along with hay and feed. Railroads ran EVERYWHERE.

by Anonymousreply 4310/11/2013

You actually seem to know what you're talking about, R23. That's pretty rare for DL.

by Anonymousreply 4410/11/2013

R23 does not know what's he talking about. Pure anachronism. Because they didn't call it gay (and some people did, even then), doesn't mean people didn't know what it was or that there wasn't a gay identity.

There was. The best history books of the US were the county histories done just after the American Centennial in 1876. Most of the counties in the country got a huge tome including all the local personalities a large proportion of whom were never married.

by Anonymousreply 4510/11/2013

Just check the crime records going back to the Pilgrims and colonial America and thereafter. Plenty of convictions for crimes against nature and sodomy. With descriptions of the accused and the acts they were accused of.

by Anonymousreply 4610/11/2013

The billiard parlor was where rural gays in 1895 hung out.

by Anonymousreply 4710/11/2013

All the key players were in the Odd Fellows Lodge.

by Anonymousreply 4810/11/2013

Well, I hear that everything was up to date in Kansas City.

by Anonymousreply 4910/11/2013

I can talk about male bed sharing if you want to know

by Anonymousreply 5010/11/2013

They gone about as fer as they can go...

by Anonymousreply 5110/11/2013

You might want to join the circus or a traveling theatrical company when such ensembles came through town. Or you might join the vaudeville circuit.

Perhaps you might enter the seminary, becoming a priest, preacher or a missionary. You devote your life for some good cause -- temperance, worker's rights, etc. You might become a lay missioner to China or India

by Anonymousreply 5210/11/2013

SF was only a gay mecca starting at WWII.

I imagine that, in the 19th century, the gay denial was so strong that it was easy to not have sex, and not lust after guys, when you were actually gay. You probably weren't even aware of your own lust for guys. There was ZERO outlet for you to express that. So, it may not have been so 'horrible' as we imagine it would have been...just sad and primitive.

by Anonymousreply 5310/11/2013

Men have always given each other that "knowing look" and engaged in sex.

From time immemorial.

by Anonymousreply 5410/11/2013

They found each other as adolescents. Simple as that. They most likely did one of two things. Either they moved away or they married, had children in a conventional marriage, or both. That is, if they weren't killed by sick zealots.

by Anonymousreply 5510/12/2013

Da fuq you think the old coots in charge invented the stocks for. Oh, you been bad? Here, Im'a gonna lock you up outside overnight bent over with your neck and wrists bound. Don't mind me sneakin' up behind your ass overnight for a lil fucky fucky, k?

by Anonymousreply 5610/12/2013

I guess in the bigger cities one could find a way but there's no way they did it regularly in the small villages. The risk was too high

by Anonymousreply 5710/13/2013

Boston marriages for lezzies and celibate marriages for gays.

by Anonymousreply 5810/15/2013

Usually the men met for sex outside the village proper at night in a customary grove or hedgerow.

by Anonymousreply 5910/15/2013

[quote] SF was only a gay mecca starting at WWII.


SF was known as Barbary from way back. There were few women in the Old West and it was on the edge of civilization. Single forty-niners, lumberjacks and mountain men. Plus SF was a port (sailors). That adds up to a lot of gay activity.

by Anonymousreply 6010/15/2013

There was always room at the Long Branch Saloon.

by Anonymousreply 6110/15/2013

Well if you believe statistics that every tenth person is gay, you would have at least 15 other people to get with.

My mother used to tell me that there was always talk of a gay community in the next little village (pop around 1000). That was around 1940. Maybe we make an even bigger deal reg gay lifestye and gay living these days than they did in the last 2 centuries.

by Anonymousreply 6210/15/2013

I think back in 1895 a lot of young men/ boys wouldn't even understand their feelings toward other men. They didn't have sex-ed or anything. I remember reading a memoir of a young woman who grew up on a farm in the 1940's and she was totally surprised that on her wedding night her husband was trying to have sex with her missionary style, because all she'd seen were the farm animals approaching each other from the rear.

by Anonymousreply 6310/15/2013


Sex was not something that people thought about 24/7 ............?

You don't really mean that do you, most families had more than 5 kids

by Anonymousreply 6410/15/2013

Petticoat Junction was a cocksucker's paradise.

by Anonymousreply 6510/15/2013

R64,which only means that they thought about it at least five times. There is a long continuum that extends from zero to 24/7. It is not an either or situation.

by Anonymousreply 6610/15/2013

This is a very informative thread. It would be even more enjoyable if some posters could drop the insults. If someone has information you disagree with, simply say that you disagree, not that the others are idiots. Makes a much nicer read.

I think we need to distinguish living in villages from living in big cities. What people call 'social control' nowadays must have been a lot more powerful in a 300 soul village or small town than in the big city. It still is today. Must have been worse back then.

I suppose I would have become a clergy man. It's inconceivable to me to live with a female partner even if it had been an arranged marriage. Not being the first born son probably would have made it acceptable to just leave and join the church.

by Anonymousreply 6710/15/2013


by Anonymousreply 6810/15/2013

Sometimes it works out, OP. I met my partner, the Village Idiot, and we've been together on the farm since 1893.

by Anonymousreply 6910/15/2013

You think it was hard for them?

by Anonymousreply 7010/15/2013

r67 but what did non-Catholics do?

by Anonymousreply 7110/15/2013

R67, good question as protestant ministers were expected to be married. Indeed, it would be virtually impossible to have a senior minster position in most denominations without a wife.

by Anonymousreply 7210/15/2013

[quote] There were few women in the Old West and it was on the edge of civilization. Single forty-niners, lumberjacks and mountain men. Plus SF was a port (sailors). That adds up to a lot of gay activity.

Then explain all those whorehouses and bordellos in every western ghost town and historical district ? Must have been a market for pussy so they can't have all been gays in the Old West.

by Anonymousreply 7310/15/2013


by Anonymousreply 7410/19/2013
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