Sep 06, 2007
Quickie Link: "Free the Buggers"--Britain & the Wolfenden Report
By Doug Ireland
(UK) - In the autumn of 1953, British gays were the victims of what they called "The Great Purge" - a massive police crackdown on homosexuals in which nearly 5,000 same-sexers were arrested in the ensuing months - on charges either of "gross indecency" (the same law under which Oscar Wilde (right) was imprisoned), solicitation, or sodomy. This represented an increase of 850 per cent over the arrest rate for homosexuality in 1938, just before World War II. The Great Purge, which took place at the height of the Cold War, was provoked by the defection of the diplomats Guy Burgess (left), a notorious homosexual, and Donald Maclean to Moscow, and in the climate of the day homosexuality was virtually equated with treason in the minds of the police.