History: These 10 Folks Were Executed For Being Gay
Homosexuality was once considered a normal part of life - especially in ancient Greece. But in modern times gays and lesbians have had it rough. Thankfully it’s not a crime anymore in the U.S. but in some parts of the world, it’s not only a crime, but is still punishable by death. For the most part though, those laws aren’t used to execute LGBT people.
In this article The Mirror takes a look back the history LGBT executions and highlights some of the more notable ones.
John de Wettre (1292)
John de Wettre was a knife maker and is the earliest recorded gay person executed for being gay.
According to historian Byrne Fone, in his book "Homophobia," he wrote:
"In 1292 John de Wettre, a knifemaker, was executed for sodomy in Ghent, burned alive for engaging with another man in an act ’detested by God.’ This is the earliest known execution for that act. We don’t know whether the other man was a lover or a passing stranger, whether the act was habitual or unique. All that we can know about John de Wettre is how his age defined him as it burned him - in Pope Gregory’s words, an ’abominable’ person whom ’the world despises.’"
Giovanni di Giovanni (1350 - 1365)
Giovanni di Giovanni was a 15-year-old Italian boy charged with being "a public and notorious passive sodomite" and is credited with being the youngest person ever executed for being gay.
According to Michael Rocke in his book "Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence," he wrote:
"His sentence unusually labels Giovanni himself a ’public and notorious passive sodomite,’ and for this reason the podesta inflicted on him an exemplary and barbaric punishment. After being paraded on an ass to the ’place of justice’ outside the city walls past the Franciscan basilica of Santa Croce, he was to be publicly castrated. Then, so that he would be punished ’in that part of his body where he allowed himself to be known in sodomitical practice," he was to be mutilated between his thighs with a red hot iron."
Jacopo Bonfadio (1508 - 1550)
Jacopo Bonfadio was an Italian humanist, historian and official historian of the Republic of Genoa (modern day Italy).
According to Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon in their book "Who’s who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to World War II," they wrote:
"He wrote a meticulous history of Genoa from 1528 to his own time, but his integrity in researching historical ’truth’ had fatal consequences. According to the most reliable reconstruction of events, several powerful families, who did not appreciate the way in which Bonfadio had written about them, took advantage of the fact that the historian had been accused of having seduced one of his students to have him condemned to death for sodomy and beheaded on 9 July 1550; his body was then burned at the stake."
Mervyn Tuchet (sometimes Touchet), (1593 - 1631)
Mervyn Tuchet was the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven and, in a tale fit for a soap opera, was accused of not only sodomy but also of helping his manservant rape the Earl’s own wife.
According to Executed Today:
"Convicted of rape and sodomy by a jury of his aristocratic peers, his crimes were alleged to have taken place under his roof and against members of his own family. While all of the witnesses against Touchet stood to gain materially from his death and various household servants did present evidence which contradicted that of his wife and son (who testified against him)... The results of this inquiry, conducted by the Privy Council, revealed abominable crimes, in particular rape and sodomy. On April 25, 1631, the Earl was put on trial, charged with committing sodomy with a servant and assisting another servant, Giles Broadway, with the rape of his own wife."
In addition the Earl’s manservant was also executed for sodomy.
"[Lawrence] Fitzpatrick copped to having sexual relations with the Earl - but crucially claimed that those acts had not entailed actual penetration."