The Homosexual(ity) of law
First published in 1996. The Homosexual(ity) of Law is an innovative and important investigation of the legal representation of identity and sexuality. This wide-ranging and theoretical study demands that we think again about the legal regulation of sexual relations. It examines how both sense and nonsense of same-sex relations are made in law by way of ‘homosexual’. It explores how the introduction of an idea of homosexuality both promotes the continued abhorrence and increased punishment of same-sex relations and makes possible reforms in the law that promote respect for these relations. This study investigates the struggles that surround the review of the law on ‘homosexuality’ undertaken by the Wolfenden Committee in the 1950s and explores the peculiarities of the enactment of the term ‘homosexual’ into the law of England in 1967. It challenges the current understanding that ‘homosexual’ is either a term used to name a specific category of act or a term that is merely used to name an identity. The Homosexual(ity) of Law shows how ‘homosexual’ is a term that signifies both of these things, but it is also capable of expressing many other meanings. It explores the values that are given a voice through this new term in law. It also demonstrates that ‘homosexual’ in law is a reference to a complex technology of interrogation, surveillance and documentation that isolates gestures, speech and deportment and gives them meaning as ‘homosexual’ in law. Through an analysis of various police practices, the day-to-day decisions of the judiciary in high profile test cases and recent Parliamentary debates relating to the age of consent law reform, The Homosexual(ity) of Law explores the way this ‘homosexual(ity)’ is put to use in current legal practice.