The Homosexual(ity) of Law

The Homosexual(ity) of Law

The Homosexual(ity) of Law

The Homosexual(ity) of Law

Synopsis

It offers an understanding of the histories of the contemporary legal tradition and their current operation using specific examples, such as the impact of a court case over an alleged breach of the peace when two men kissed in public. The Homosexual(ity) of Law looks at how legal discourse is constructed to place homosexuality in a very specific band of regulation and focuses on gay and civil rights, equality under the law and social attitudes towards homosexuals.

Excerpt

This project has had a long gestation. In undertaking it, I have had to negotiate a complex economy of silence within the institution of academic legal studies. While ‘homosexuality’ did appear within that institution it appeared according to a specific lexicon of the law, as buggery and gross indecency or indecent assault, as part of a project of the criminalization of the male genital body where that body was made in the law outside the law. This book engages with that agenda but in a way that radically departs from that agenda. It gives a voice to that which in law has been silenced and denied a voice through the verbosity and prolixity of the law. This is the voice of the outlaw in the law.

Being an outlaw in the law has been an important influence on this project. For much of that period, working as a man on the topic of male sexuality in general and on homosexuality in particular within academic legal studies has been to undertake work on a topic that formally did not exist. To take up that work and to pursue it within a theoretically informed and critical perspective, particularly within English legal scholarship, gave this work the status of pariah twice over. In many respects this state of affairs continues. Lesbian and gay legal scholarship is still rarely heard of within the legal academy, even though lesbian and gay scholarship is burgeoning not only elsewhere but also within it.

This project was supported by the financial assistance of the British Academy and the Nuffield Foundation. It has also been sustained by the comfort of many individuals. Peter Goodrich has in many different contexts been a long-standing source of inspiration, patience and boundless support. Costas Douzinas, Ronnie Warrington, Peter Rush and Alison Young and, more recently, Sarah Beresford, Marinos Diamantidis and Elena Loizidou provided an academic home at Lancaster. I am particularly indebted to Marinos, whose friendship and tenacity inspired me in the final stages of this project. All, in various ways, were and continue to be a source of inspiration that saved this project from abandonment and nurtured it to fruition. Tim Murphy’s early encouragement helped to give life to this project. His support has been an inspiration throughout. Richard Collier has been a constant source of stimulation. Many is the time we have been forced to share the notoriety, each in different ways, of being outlaws in the legal academy. Shaun McVeigh, Alain Pottage and Carl Stychin have in different ways

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