marshwiggledyke (marshwiggledyke) wrote in little_details,

Cultural acceptance in post-war England

I know there's been a few entries about WWII, and being gay myself I've researched a little bit about Alan Turing and the pre-Stonewall Era. I know that gay men and women were able to meet and bond quite a lot (understatement) while at war, meeting people from all kinds of backgrounds and realizing that they weren't alone. It was the dawning of the idea that unnatural homosexual behavior was part of the sickened person engaging in it, and that those persons ought to be ousted instead of just punished for the behavior. I know the war led to relaxed morals and greater acceptance of homosexuals.

After the war, though, there was a crackdown on homosexual-identified persons, often harassed by police, etc, paying fines and ending up in jail. It was almost like it was back to Oscar Wilde times.

The two characters in this story are in a different situation than those harassed by the police, though. They're a committed couple, and would get very upset with the other if there were any messing about in bathhouses or trying to pick someone up. They're a little on the older side, too- thirties to mid-thirties. They met each other during the war, and despite being a little startled by the revelation that their better half was a man, kept the relationship alive after it ended. One is from London with little to no family ties; the other is from a village out in the West Country, is more entrenched in the C of E, and has a lot of family. Neither of them exhibit flaming stereotypical behavior- aside from one who has a fondness for gardening, but can easily kick someone's teeth in if provoked.

They'd want to live together in this village, and I don't doubt that the village-native (who has familial connections to the local police force, and is a police officer himself when not a soldier) would want to be physically affectionate with his lover in public- not sex, but holding hands, ear-nuzzling- typical relaxed-couple behavior.

My question is, would the two of them encounter trouble from the Sodomy Laws in effect? Would living as a quiet but openly gay couple in a small town where everyone knows your business lead local people to conclude that you two are sane and non-threatening and be accepting, and at the very least turn a blind eye, or would it intensify homophobia? From what I've gathered on the BBC WWII history site, people claim they were a lot more accepting back then, but I'm not so sure.
Tags: 1940-1949, uk: history: world war ii, ~homosexuality: history, ~world war ii

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