Persecution. Its obvious what it is. We all know when someones being persecuted. The state or others in power deliberately home in on a person or group of people and make their lives unbearable, unliveable even. At school, we call it bullying. In international law, we call those that are persecuted refugees.
Throughout the 20th century, the British state went out of its way to persecute its gay and lesbian community. The existence of a gay or lesbian identity was denied. Crimes that only gay men could commit were created. The gay and lesbian community was censored. There was institutionalised homophobia. Laws were there to be used against gay and lesbian people.
Mothers who were lesbian were a risk. Gay fathers were inconceivable. It was state policy for parents to reject their gay and lesbian children. Violence against gay men and lesbians was met with impunity. Fear of the homosexual was mitigation for causing harm to gay and lesbian people. It could even be put forward as a defence for murder.
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