The statistical surveys of Hurteau , 47 show the impact of the coming into force of this law upon the penal repression of homosexuals by demonstrating that, from that point on, sexual practices, other than sodomy or attempted sodomy, constitute grounds for condemnation. More globally, the medical discourse warns society against a possible depravity in the mores of the young, that jeopardizes the family and national values.
Moreover, all medical research on the invert or homosexual at the beginning of the century went further than a simple understanding of this character and his impulses. As Bonello indicates , 72, 78 , medicine tried more and more to take its place as a social control to avoid any sort of spread of this contagious condition. In French Canada, the emerging medical science presented itself as above all the defender of the traditional values promoted by the Church. The illness was also defined more as a problem of a religious nature than a biological one Corriveau, , The medical discourse is, so to speak, in the service of religious doctrine.
At the very least, it is intertwined with the theology. For example, the religious and medical discourses together took over the morality of the young and demanded a return to family values. According to Hurteau , that encouraged the family to pay special attention to homoerotic behaviours likely to happen in the family environment, and a collective sense of insecurity developed regarding homosexuality, which provoked police entrapment of homosexuals through various strategies.
From an annual average of seven convictions in Canada at the beginning of the century, the provincial annual average oscillates around 40 convictions for the s in Quebec.
Even if these statistics do not distinguish between accusations of sodomy between two men and between a man and woman, they turn out to be indirectly useful because they underline the increase in convictions for sodomy, a crime generally associated with homoerotic behaviours. Is it not surprising to observe that it seemed to be easier to prove an often private act of sodomy, than a murder or rape? This situation is partially explained by the socio-economic crisis which raged at the time.
As noted by Linteau et al. In this context, it is less surprising to see homosexuals strongly repressed because they defied the divine order and their sexual behaviours were non-reproductive. Duplessis indeed saw himself as the defender of religious values in Quebec and began a new wave of repression upon non-conforming minorities he considered subversive, especially homosexuals. In order to promote traditional, religious and ruralQuebecois society, Duplessis did not hesitate to fight these non-conforming elements by using judicial, police and legislative measures.
In this socio-political context, the Church sought to increase its control of sexuality in order to protect the Quebecois family and the institution of marriage from any sort of depravity Linteau et al. The Church saw the rural exodus and the separation between the family and the work place as dangers posed by industrial capital to the institution of marriage, which allowed for the control of male sexuality. By the same token, it is not surprising to note that Quebecois society judged homosexuality more severely than adultery, homosexuality being based only on a hedonism that shattered the sacrosanct rigidity of sexual roles.
In this regard, the clergy distrusted the freedom of the urban young who, they thought, might favor the emergence of a homosexual sub-culture, the city being perceived by the clergy as a veritable den of iniquity Lemieux, Montminy, , The Church opposed the distribution of the Kinsey report , which outlined the extent and frequency of homoerotic relations in American society The protection of children became one of the principal arguments of the Church in the legitimization of its fight for the maintenance of good mores.
At the same time, it monopolized the task of providing sex education for the young and their families. This did not prevent certain tribunals from using the pathologizing medical discourse in order to declare homosexuals as being insane For example, from , homosexuality was classified as a sociopathic personality disorder by the American Psychiatric Association and Spencer , mentions an article published in the Journal of Social Hygiene in that recommended therapeutic castration of homosexuals. The medical discourse rarely legitimized homosexuality.
As pointed out by Migneault , 5 , the media mainly relayed the scientific discourse that reinforced the image of the homosexual as sick, even as sexually perverted. Hence, between and , homosexuals were described mainly as a menace to children, often as pedophiles Higgins,, As early as , Hurteau , shows that the courts referred some homosexuals to social workers in Montreal and that the Social Welfare Court sent young delinquents claiming to be homosexual to centers in order to be rehabilitated. A quick analysis of Article of the Criminal Code dealing with sexual psychopaths , which sentences the convicted person to an indeterminate prison term, shows that only an indecent assault upon a male article 13 was initially included, not such an assault upon a woman, thus suggesting that it was above all homoerotic behaviors that the justice system associated with sexual psychopathy.
The crimes of gross indecency article and sodomy article , also associated with homosexuality, would be added to this list in According to Kinsman , this showed that the legislature considered homoerotic behavior as a danger in itself for the community. Judges would interpret the will of Parliament accordingly in the case of Everett George Klippert v.
According to Ryan , more than 8, gays and lesbians were investigated by the RCMP during the s.
On the other hand, homosexuals were added to a list of undesirable persons in the immigration statutes Sawatsky, ; Kinsman, Keeping this in mind, we note that the number of convictions in Montreal rose from 65 in to in American psychiatrists in particular considered homosexuality to be a pathology properly characterized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diseases DSM-II , some insisting that it was possible to cure homosexuals through psychological treatment And consequently we note that it is not only an issue of homoerotic acts punishable before the law, but more a particular type of individuality that must be controlled, cured for the dangers attributed to it, particularly with regard to the young.
In this way, the medical discourse occupied a prominant place during the debates surrounding the decriminalization of homoerotic practices between consenting adults in the Omnibus Bill of Hurteau, Some Canadian MPs and Senators even feared that such a legislative initiative would compromise the protection of youth. The dominant medical discourse, which presented homosexuality as some kind of anomaly, was thus transmitted by the mass media to Canadian and Quebecois society in the late s.
Indeed, the publications relating to homosexuality remained, until , framed in terms of crime.
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Moreover, as indicated by Hocquenghem , 61 , the medical discourse did not completely replace the religious discourse in the legitimization of penal repression, it only accompanied it, or could supplement it. In other words, the rise of the medical discourse in the domain of human sexuality and penal justice coincided with the distancing of penal legitimization from the religious discourse. An interesting paradox emerges here. It was when the medical discourse pathologizing homosexuality was progressing throughout North America-homosexuality being considered as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association APA until and by the World Health Organization until , that the Canadian penal law system in initiated its decriminalization of homoerotic practices with the adoption of the Omnibus Bill We might thus consider that the emergence of a medical discourse, even if it was mainly pathologizing, initially helped the penal law system to free itself from the influence of the religious discourse to then favor its emancipation from it.
And it was this autonomy of penal law in relation to religion and medecine that finally allowed it to initiate the decriminalization and legal protection of homosexuals in the name of human rights. It is not surprising then that the penal control of homoerotic behavior was largely legitimized by the religious discourse.
For that which relates to the penal repression of homoerotic behaviors, we note that it is no longer so much the sexual act in itself that disturbs sodomy, for example , but rather the associated risks, especially as they relate to young people. The pathologizing medical discourse ensures that homosexuality is no longer condemned as behaviour that is against Nature a crime against religion. On the other hand, these were the risks of contagion that it engendered, or caused to be incurred by individuals and the community that must be controlled.
The system of penal law granted pre-eminence to the medical discourses and their expertises in order to assist in the control of the deviant homosexual. Nevertheless, this medicalization of homoerotic practices would not prevent Quebec and Canada from initiating, less than 20 years later, a process of decriminalization of these practices, as though they brushed aside religious prescriptions as well as the then current medical expertise.
We have also suggested the idea according to which the influence of the discourse of human rights also promoted the decriminalization of homoerotic behaviors.
Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in American Religious Discourse
Another possible hypothesis that should be examined is that it was mostly the political courage of Pierre-Eliott Trudeau, then Minister of Justice, that led the House of Commons to adopt the famous Omnibus Bill , which, it should be recalled, was very controversial. A deeper examination of the parliamentary debates and editorials on the subject would be necessary.
In sum, this study tried to show the interactions between the penal law and two other institutional discourses the medical and religious , that have interfered both together and competitively in the legitimization of the penal control of homoerotic behaviors, paradoxically leading to the decriminalization and legal protection of homosexuals in Quebec.
Allen, L. Becker, H. Bieber, I.
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Bonello, C. Bonnet, M. Bullough, V. Cellard, A. Chamberland, L. Chauncey, G. Corriveau, P. Dagenais, D.
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La peur de l'autre en soi. Eaton, M. Gigeroff, A. Girard, J. In the Armenian Police Department proposed and then withdrew a constitutional amendment that would have had the effect of a Russian-style LGBT propaganda ban in the country.