Updated: Feb 16
The Buggery Act of 1533 was the first time that by law, male homosexuality in Britain (and then extending to The British Empire) was passed by parliament and targeted with convictions being punishable by death. (The British Library)
In 1861 the death penalty was abolished and a minimum of 10 years imprisonnment was instated. In 1895 Oscar Wilde, an Irish poet, journalist and play writer was one of the first 'celebrities' of his time to fall victim to this. He did in fact use this time in prison to create further literature to later be published.
400 years later, the political stance on homosexuality showed no room for acceptance when Alan Turing, a renowned code breaker working for the government during the war, was prosecuted in 1952. He accepted hormone treatment with DES, so-called chemical castration, as an alternative to prison. In 2009, Gordon Brown spoke on behalf of the British Government apologising for his treatment and Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013. He appears on the current Bank of England £50 note and was named 'the greatest person of the 20th century' in 2019.
Female sexuality wasn't ever targeted by legislation. According to The British Library, in 1921 there was talks of a Criminal Amendment Bill being introduced. Although this was rejected by parliament with the belief this would "draw attention and encourage women to explore homosexuality", which at the time they believed was only present in a very small number of the female population. It's bizzare to think this was a governmental stance, only 100 years ago.
Instead of avoiding drawing attention to homosexuality, today, we celebrate sexual liberation.
It was the mid-19th century when transgender identities were becoming apparent. Michale Dillon published a first hand account on the journey from being Laura to Michael. (1946). According to the British Library. Sir Harold Gillies, the surgeon who carried out their phalloplasty stated, "Where the mind cannot be made to fit the body, the body should be made to fit, approximately at any rate, to the mind."
In 1957, the Wolfendon Report aimed to bring about change and recommended to the British Government that they focus on protecting the public, rather than scrutinising people's private lives. It took 10 years for the government to implement this. Following the riots of Stonewall in 1969, the Gay Liberation Front was formed which supported LGBT individuals and their rights. This also led to the very first Pride event in 1972 which is now a celebrated annual event.
Whilst in some cultures there is still a struggle for acceptance and legislation, Western culture largely has an open heart and mind.
Why does this transpire to music, you might ask...
All things being Valentine's, love and freedom, we have the power of music to both communicate and connect. Hans Christian Anderson, the Danish author once said, "Where words fail music speaks".
The composition of music, by design, is putting emotions into frequencies using harmony, melody and instruments, sometimes with the combination of voice. This presents an art form that transpires into attraction, often meaning and therefore connection. We celebrate this landscape, soundscape, space and time which embroiders, triggers and sometimes mirrors multi-faceted emotions from the artist back to ourselves.
Not only is this application in music but other creative and revolutionary occupations, some listed above.
To vibrate and design a frequency of love - the most uplifting force known to mankind is - hands down - a form of true magic ♫ ♪
*This Friday 18th February from 5-8pm (GMT) Rose will be going live in the mix with a show dedicated to the LGBT community and beyond. Tune in live to hear more.