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Sexual freedoms of long ago tamed by modern times

02 Mar 2011 – The University of Manchester – Read more

A study by a University of Manchester historian has cast doubt on the widespread belief that the Victorians and Edwardians were prudes who had few sexual freedoms.

Sexual freedoms of long ago tamed by modern times

It was advent of the private bedroom, modern suburb and social housing, says Dr Lief Jerram, which tamed a ‘free-for-all’, widespread in many Western cities before the First World War.

A benign tolerance of gays by the police and courts in the 1900s – with a few notorious exceptions – he argues, gave way to a ‘reign of terror’ in the 1950s and 60s, when thousands of people were imprisoned and persecuted – especially in the UK.

“Because the vast majority of people lived and slept together in overcrowded rooms before the First World War, lacking privacy, the street was the place to go have sex,” said Dr Jerram.

Newly established public amenities of a century ago, such as baths and toilets, provided the opportunity for amorous encounters he writes in “Streetlife” published this month by Oxford University Press.

Same sex relationships were so run-of-the-mill, he adds, that people didn’t think of themselves as gay or straight. In fact to many, homosexuality was profoundly modern and new in the 1900s.

The historian, based in the School of Arts Histories and Cultures argues homosexuality stands for a yardstick for sexuality in general.

He said: “Evidence from most large European cities, from the 1880s to as late as the 1950s, shows that sexual freedom was widespread: for example, many men – even including the military – were relaxed about having sex with other men.


Law lords rule that sex in public is not illegal

Nov 7 2010, Sunday Mail – View Article

Law Lords have given the thumbs up to outdoor sex – as long as couples aren’t trying to be seen.

All public sex acts used to be considered acts of indecency.

But a landmark decision by three judges has quashed a conviction handed out to a man and a woman engaged in a sex act in a Dundee cemetery.

Experts believe it means rules about public sex have been turned upside down.

One source said: “If couples have sex in a location that is not a busy public place or area, and have taken efforts to conceal themselves, they are unlikely to be convicted.



UK Police Report: ‘ACPO Guidance on Policing Public Sex Environments’

1. purpose of this Guidance

1.1 It is the responsibility of the Police Services to protect and uphold the human rights of all citizens. This includes males and females affected by Public Sex Environments and also those who engage in such activity.

Download: ‘ACPO Guidance on Policing Public Sex Environments’


Police complaints body publishes new guidelines on homophobia

PinkNews.co.uk • May 19, 2009

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has published new guidelines on dealing with allegations of discriminatory behaviour, including homophobia.

The new guidelines build upon the racial discrimination guidelines published in 2003.

They will now include age, religion and belief, disability, gender, race, and sexual orientation discrimination.

According to the organisation, they will provide guidance on the handling of allegations of discriminatory behaviour and ensure a consistent approach is achieved by those responsible for investigating allegations.

In particular, they outline that investigation reports should demonstrate the concepts, principles and methodology employed in fact finding, analysis and conclusions to discrimination.

IPCC Chair Nick Hardwick said: “As we can see from the research people feel strongly that discriminatory behaviour should be reported, however, the number of actual cases is very low. It is important that the necessary guidelines are in place to address all forms of discrimination if we are to continue to increase the public’s confidence in the police complaints system.

“These guidelines are a fundamental step in the right direction for improving public confidence. There is now a mechanism in place that will ensure that those dealing with complaints, whether they are within a police authority, police force or the IPCC, have clear cut guidance on what should be done.

“Currently a review of IPCC statutory guidance is underway and will include reference to these guidelines and their use.”

In 2006/07, only three per cent of total complaints received by the IPCC related to discrimination. Read article

Download IPCC Discrimination Guidelines


Vigilantes ‘patrolling woods with chainsaws’ to discourage cottaging

PinkNews.co.uk • May 20, 2009

A group of vigilantes apparently armed with chainsaws and shotguns have been patrolling a Derbyshire wood to discourage gay men meeting for sex.

The report comes in the same week that Colin Haw, a self-styled ‘protector of morals’, was prosecuted for posting footage of men meeting for sex on a Lincolnshire website. Read more


Vigilante who filmed men cottaging is spared jail

PinkNews.co.uk • May 19, 2009

A self-styled ‘protector of morals’ who filmed gay men having sex in a woodland was spared jail yesterday.

Colin Haw, 47, led a group of men who dressed in balaclavas and combat kit to patrol a wood near Sleaford in Lincolnshire.

They would film men meeting and post the footage on a local website, often accompanied with music such as YMCA by the Village People and the nursery rhyme Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Read more


Police End Gay Sex Crackdown

November 28, 2008

After a controversial new report was been leaked by the Deputy Chief Constable of Lancashire Police Michael Cunningham to Police Review magazine. Several Police forces across England have now stopped their practice of arresting gay men and heterosexual couples who have sex in public. It is believed Greater Manchester Police is the first with Merseyside following suit.

Gay Rights Groups such as OutRage! and campaigners such as Peter Tatchell have long argued that police actions against gay men who meet for sex in public are homophobic and vilify the entire gay community for what is a largely unpolicable offense. Read more


UK Decriminalises Sex in Public

October 22, 2008

Deputy Chief Constable Michael Cunningham called on police to turn a blind eye to people having public sex recently in a new report on dogging and gay men cruising. The top cop suggested police should stop being ‘moral arbiters’ in the report and said sensitive policing could help prevent suicides amongst people busted in public toilets and parks.

“The impact can be extreme and can include humiliation, breakdown of relationships and the ‘outing’ of men living in an opposite sex relationship being perceived as ‘gay’,” he said. “Acts of suicide and self-harm by people who may have been arrested or come into contact with the police situation has happened,” he added. Read more


UK Police Instructed Not to Interfere with the “Human Right” of Anonymous Public Sex

October 17, 2008

LANCASHIRE, United Kingdom – Public homosexual activity in parks and public bathrooms must not be impeded by law enforcement officials except as a last resort, says a new set of draft guidelines for UK police.

Deputy Chief Constable Michael Cunningham of Lancashire Police, who drew up the 21-page report, titled “Guidance on Policing Public Sex Environments”, wrote, “In any event it is not for the police to take the role of moral arbiter.” Rather than arresting those who have sex in public, the police should instead guard the “human rights of those people who frequent open spaces” to seek anonymous copulation partners, an activity known as “cruising.”

“The police role is to ensure that any complaints are dealt with fairly and professionally and that where individuals are engaged in lawful activity they may do so safely,” said the report. Mr. Cunningham is the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) spokesman on homosexual issues.

The report complained that previous activity on the part of police officers to stop public sex has alienated the gay community. The report blames law enforcement for leading to homosexual “self-harm,” citing the fact that some homosexuals have attempted suicide who “may have been arrested, charged or come into contact with the police in such a situation.” Read more


Police Told to Avoid Arresting People Having Sex in Parks

October 17, 2008

New guidelines for police officers on how to deal with public sex have recommended they avoid “knee jerk” reactions to people cottaging, dogging and cruising. Read more


Police Leniency Call on Park Sex

October 17, 2008

People caught having sex in public should only be arrested as a last resort, according to draft guidelines.

Police should instead turn a blind eye to consenting adults in parks and public toilets, a senior officer said.

Deputy Chief Constable Michael Cunningham, of Lancashire Police, said in a report that previous responses had alienated the gay community.

He said officers should avoid a “knee jerk” reaction to incidents of dogging, in which previously unknown partners meet in public for sex, as well as cruising and cottaging, in which gay men meet in parks and toilets.

The report – Guidance on Policing Public Sex Environments – was leaked to Police Review magazine.

Mr Cunningham said the impact on people’s lives could be extreme, and could lead to humiliation and the breakdown of relationships.

“Acts of suicide and self-harm by persons who may have been arrested, charged or come into contact with the police in such a situation have happened in various parts of the country,” he added.

Mr Cunningham is the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) spokesman on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. Read more


Police May Ignore Public Sex Acts

October 16, 2008

The police chief in charge of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender issues said the force’s attitudes towards cottaging and dogging alienated the gay community.

Deputy Chief Constable Michael Cunningham, of Lancashire Police, said police should not become a “moral arbiter” by arresting those with a penchant for outdoor sex. Read more


Police ‘Should Turn Blind Eye to Public Sex’

October 16, 2008

Police must only arrest people caught having sex in parks and public toilets as a last resort, according to new draft guidelines.

Officers should turn a blind eye to dogging and cottaging by consenting adults as their role is not “moral arbiter”, a senior officer said. Read more