“Slackers and thugs”: When Franco made homophobia state policy

On October 31, 2022, Pedro Sanchez He presided over the ceremony held on the occasion of the first A day of honor and remembrance for the victims of the Franco regime. meeting, framed in provisions Democratic Memory Act, Societies and Victims of the Franco Regime in the Hall of the National Hall. Among them were the relatives of Julian Grimau, the relatives of Juana Dona and the activist Jordi Petit, One of the pioneers in claiming LGTBI rights who did a large part of his activism during the Franco regime in clandestine situations.

“Although honoring him in a personal capacity, they wanted, in recognizing Betty, to make a symbolic compensation for the group as a whole. It was an explicit gesture on the part of the government to acknowledge the memory of these people, and although there is much more to do, Little by little, this country is settling outstanding scores with the people who have been avengedhe explains Fernando Olmedajournalist and writer, with a publication spanning nearly two decades whip and penbecame one of the first to claim the memory of homosexuals molested by Franco.

“While I was working as a presenter and editor for Tele 5 news on weekends, it was Equal Marriage Act, in whose defense I was involved. In this context, the possibility arose of writing a book on homosexuality in the Franco regime, a subject that had not been studied by academia or historiography, or even by the LGTB movements themselves, which were more focused on theory. gay From history,” recalls Olmeda, whose book has just been republished by the publishing company Dos Bigotes with a preface written for the occasion by Bob Pop.

“Although we were in the early 2000s, people still had a social, family and work fear of telling their lives. That is why it was so important to be able to access the gravity files that were in Huelva prison. In Indeed, in analyzing those documents, I was less interested in the names of the reprisals than in the rhetoric of persecution. It is the rhetoric of the Vagrants and Hustlers Act Files and the Social Gravity Act that really explains how the persecution of homosexuality has been. On the legal and social levels.

“Disgusting filth,” “insulting modesty,” “against nature,” “sexual perversion,” “indecent perversions,” “immoral perversions,” “disgusting falsification” or “infamous sodomy trafficking” are some terms used by judicial files to refer to to homosexuality under a regulation made under this Social Dangers Act, although it was approved in 1970, it would not be actually abolished until 1995.

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“The delay in abolishing this standard responds to the fact that during the transitional period and the first years of democracy, other priorities were set, in my opinion reasonable and logical, because an entire country had to be rebuilt. Nor should we forget that once democracy was established, the gay community passed sexually with a paradoxical or complementary moment: on the one hand, the stigmatization of its members because of HIV, and on the other, the strengthening of LGBT groups claiming their rights. It was made in thirty years of democracy, and then it all happened very quickly.” .

Ethics of the immoral system

“Outrageous public plunder and the simplest inadequacies, such as lack of food, housing, or work, were always justified and the citizen had no other choice than passive resignation. However, sins of sex were considered an offense against modesty. No morals, except for sex, public and private behavior were monitored.” For the Spaniards very anxiously,” wrote Fernando Olmeda in one of the chapters whip and penReferring to the way the Franco regime and its main ally acted, Catholic Church.

“National Catholicism, the alliance between church and state, defines the nature of the dictatorship. Among its aims is the repression of homosexuals who were, at first, enemies, then criminals, later sick, and finally dangerous. But this control and repression immediately established sexuality A great failure both in the social sphere and in prisons. No matter how much control you impose, men and women are stronger than dictatorships and everyone has found tricks, formulas and most creative resources, some risky, but very interesting resists and justify, “says Olmeda In his book, he cites several gay meeting places. From the Caritas cinema in Madrid, to the urinals of the train stations, some bars, billiards, without forgetting the barracks, seminars or even pilgrimages as popular and pious as those in El Rossio.

People who come to cities from the countryside find their counterparts there with whom they begin to form symbols, places and spaces of relationship. [como] flower shops, hairdressers, or tailoring shops.”

“The part I like the most is the part where it was in the 1960s, when emigration to Madrid and Barcelona started creating social networks for homosexuals. The people who came to those cities from the countryside found their counterparts there with whom they started in symbols, places and spaces of relationships, which also became their own flag. . For example , Flower shops, hairdressers, tailoring shops and other businesses that act as resistance and vindication. In those places, they could not only show themselves as they were, but were also the owners of their own business, which allowed them to gain social acceptance. In fact, it is this phenomenon of mutual support that explains why, at the end of the sixties, the group began to win over the streets.

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He likes hidden

Although the persecution of homosexuality did not disappear during the Franco regime, the truth is that it mutated with the changing dictatorship and the needs of officials. The Catholic nationalist influence in the early days gave way to other arguments, closer to the end of autarky, the signing of trade agreements with the United States, and the development of Western capitalism. An example of this is the writings of the Falangist theorist Mauricio Carlavella who, in 1956, stated that Homosexuality puts the family, reproductive sexuality, and … Private property.

Years later, the arrival of foreign tourists on the Spanish coasts meant that the authorities had to reluctantly get along Overt gay enclaves like the Begonia Pass in Torremolinos or the sand dunes of Sitges. In any case, the prohibition persisted and the secretive and disguised nature of sexual relations made its protagonists have to sacrifice long-term affection to settle the most pressing genes.

Imagine what it would have been like if I had been gay in Franco’s time, when in the 2000s, when “El látigo y la pluma” was published, these references to a stigmatized and underappreciated society would not have existed.

“Confidentiality is individual and difficult to share unless you are a member of a political party and the experience is collective. For this reason, I think we must be tolerant of our fathers and grandfathers, the generation that came from the civil war and could not be judged retrospectively. At that time, it was half of Spain in exile, or in prison, or ostracized as red, so it was impossible to obtain information or references that would allow sexuality to be lived in some other way than that.Imagine what it would have been like to be homosexual in Franco’s time, when it was not even in 2000s, when it was published whip and penThose references were present in Spain to a society that lived stigmatized by the Arnie case, disparaged in the media and lesbians had no presence in it.

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Female students section

Although in whip and pen While testimonies and dossiers on LGBT people predominate, Olmeda’s article also includes the experiences of queer women whose social existence has been less visible, from the moment their rights were restricted by the fact that they were women.

Among the great intellectual failures of the dictatorship is the thought that there are no lesbians. For national Catholicism, women were an element bounded by reproductive sex, marriage, and the absence of rights … It was all landscape but below From the women’s division itself, the women showed great ability to resist Under these circumstances,” comments Olmeda, who draws attention to the fact that there have not been any cases in which the general scandal included in the Vagrants and Fraudsters Act and in the Social Danger Act has been applied to women.

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There may be several reasons. First, that women were not present in the system; second, that they were not heroines of public scandals for which they could be punished; and third, that they showed great ability to find means and places to avoid, for example, two cousins. who lived together, two friends … In fact, although G at one time became very important and was the protagonist of collective demands for many years, it is currently lesbians who have taken the witness given the difficulty I had in finding testimonies from lesbians before Barely twenty years later, it is amazing how singers, writers, actresses and poets today are gaining visibility as people of reference, which in my opinion is of extraordinary value, ”recalls Olmeda for them, almost twenty years after its publication, whip and pen It is more topical than ever, due, among other things, to the rise of the alt-right and the risks that this entails in terms of the loss of civil rights.

“The book is a reference so that new readers who did not know it at the time know that many of the current hate speeches have to do with the field of nationalist Catholicism and this poor education that we of a certain age receive in this sense, and in view of the danger posed by these reactionary movements, I would like to mention the phrase from Peter Zerolowho always said: “Rights are taken away, we did it; rights are enjoyed, we do it; rights are defended, we have to do it.”

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