Letter: A mythical tale fit for a queen

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The Independent Online
Sir: Please do not keep perpetrating the myth that it's all due to Queen Victoria that there is no mention of lesbians in British law. ('Face to face in the homosexual debate', 20 January: 'Queen Victoria didn't think women could do that to each other, so there's no mention of lesbians in the law.')

The Criminal Law Amendment Bill of 1885, section 2 (Outrages on Public Decency), dealt with 'male persons' only. There was never any question of it being applied to lesbians, so the silly story that Queen Victoria had it altered is completely mythical. (If she had done so, it would have had to come back to the House, and Hansard would have recorded it.)

When did this tall tale start? I never heard of it before the Second World War, and I would guess that it was invented soon after that - when homosexual rights were first beginning to be discussed. It was probably intended as a joke.

Yours faithfully,


West Mersea,


22 January