'Habitual Pederasts, Funneling and Fissures: The Role of the Medic in Scottish Sodomy Trials, 1880 to 1930'. Mr Jeff Meek (Glasgow University)
Sponsored by the Northern Centre for the History of Medicine supported by the Wellcome Trust
Abstract In this lecture I will be assessing the role and influence of police surgeons in their involvement in sodomy trials in Scotland from the late nineteenth century through to the 1930s. It has been suggested that medical professionals were in the process of wrestling issues of abnormal sexuality from the clutches of organized religion through the discipline of sexology, in effect, breaking the link between sin and sickness. In an effort to establish whether this theory accurately summarized attitudes held by medical practitioners legal records were scrutinized to assess the input of the medic in sodomy trials in Scotland. In the main, police surgeons, all qualified medical professionals, appeared unwilling or unable to forward purely medical theories that would attempt to describe in any detail their understanding of homosexual behaviour, yet the limited platform that Scottish Law appears to have given these medics did not prevent some professionals from forwarding their own opinions on Scottish ‘sodomites’
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