Forster at the "Fag-End of Victorian Liberalism": Rehabilitating the Imperial Homosexual
Walmsley, Sydney Sian
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The illegality of homosexuality throughout British history, particularly through the British Empire, is often considered mainly in the context of Christian and Victorian social mores. While Christian and Victorian mentality cannot be separated from the imperial project, the homosexuality issue, particularly the issue of those partaking in homosexual actions in the British center, is rarely viewed as an extension of colonial dominance and suppression. Rather, the progression of the homosexuality laws in the Victorian era were developed to farther adhere the entirety of humanity to what the British perceived as the height of human culture. The Offenses Against the Person Acts of the later half of the century reduce the sentence for sodomy from death to forced labor, therein trying to impose Victorian social structure, or heteronormality, upon those seen as sodomites. Or rather, the Victorians attempted to rehabilitate those who partook in homosexual activities through hard labor. E. M. Forster addresses this issue of social normalization throughout the course of his works, and ultimately fights the notion of rehabilitation of persona so as to suit a specific culture.