Pride and Prejudice: Gay Men in the Past Two Centuries

The writer Oscar Wilde, tried and imprisoned for his relationship with a young aristocrat, one of the more tragic and infamous chapters in the story of 19th + 20th-century homosexual men
The writer Oscar Wilde, tried and imprisoned for his relationship with a young aristocrat, one of the more tragic and infamous chapters in the story of 19th + 20th-century homosexual men (© Wikimedia Commons, portrait by Napoleon Sarony 1821-1896)

To be a gay man in the nineteenth century was to live in the shadows. And to be openly homosexual meant almost certain alienation from family and friends. But how does this compare to the twentieth century, a period of great social and legal change? Three men whose lives span the majority of the twentieth century discuss their lives, while the author of ‘Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century’ looks at that century’s highs and lows. By comparing the two we can see how social attitudes and norms have changed – perhaps not quite as much as we may think.

Produced and presented by Chris Chambers.

First broadcast Feb 23, 2005