Ln Wednesday, November 22, a bill relating to the thousands of men and women convicted of homosexuality by France until 1982 will be discussed in the Senate. If this law were to be approved by Parliament, France would allocate an allowance to each victim who requests compensation from an ad hoc commission.
At this date, an unknown factor remains: how many people have been convicted in France for homosexuality?
Tabled on August 6, 2022 at the initiative of Senator Hussein Bourgi (PS), the bill echoes the celebration by Elisabeth Borne, on August 4 of that same year, of “forty years since the end of all repression of homosexuality in French criminal law”.
The Prime Minister recalled on this occasion that, in the darkest hours of the Second World War, on August 6, 1942, our country had once again introduced discrimination based on sexual orientation into its penal code: article 331.3 which repressed the acts “immodest and unnatural” with a minor of the same sex.
Disgrace, dismissal, breakdown of family ties
Then, in 1960, homosexuality was categorized as a ” social evil “thus increasing the penalties incurred for public outrage of modesty “unnatural with an individual of the same sex” (section 330.2). Concretely, two women or two mutually consenting men risked a prison sentence of three years, accompanied by a fine of 15,000 francs (or approximately 25,000 euros today).
Dedicated to silence, the victims of this repression are certainly numerous but difficult to find. Only a few, rare, agreed to testify and tell the story of what a conviction for homosexuality meant: opprobrium, dismissal, severance of family ties, even “social death”.
In addition, so far no one is able to objectively answer the question: “How many people have been convicted of homosexuality?” »
Even the Ministry of Justice, although inclined to produce figures, does not have the answer. The only certainty: according to the general accounts of justice in France, 9,566 prison sentences and fines were handed down for “homosexuality offenses” (article 331.3) between 1945 and 1978. However, the figures for the years 1942 to 1945 and 1978 to 1982 which are not reported.
Despite these shortcomings and thanks to judicial statistics, some broad outlines are emerging: all social categories of society are represented in matters of homosexuality crimes, a third of those convicted were married and a quarter were parents. Convictions under article 331.3 are, however, only one of the modalities of the criminal repression of homosexuality.
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