The work of the first gay activist is free of copyright 70 years after his death

The poet, writer and criminologist George Cecil Ives (1867-1950) had to bite the bullet so that the group he founded in 1897 was not noticed in Victorian England. Created the first organization in defense of gay rightsbut he clothed it with a society of scholars with the name of Order of Queronea. Five years earlier, in 1892, he had met the writer Oscar Wilde at the London Authors’ Club, but Wilde, already harassed by his homosexuality, did not join activism for criminal or legal reform. But Lord Alfred Douglas, Wilde and George’s lover in a passing love triangle, did. Wilde ended up defending the prison reform, from France, after serving prison terms in England, for “indecent acts” and sodomy with Alfred Douglas.

The birth of George Cecil Ives in Germany on October 1, 1867 appears shrouded in mystery and loose ends; son of an English soldier, Gordon Maynard Ives (1837-1907), and of the Londoner, Jane Violet Tyler (1846-1936), he was baptized in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Chelsea (London) on December 15, 1867 , two and a half months after being born on German soil, according to Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The parents, both of high birth, were not married or wanted to start a family, and it is not known what they did in Germany. He was raised by a nurse in Croydon (South London) until he was taken over by his paternal grandmother, Emma Ives (1813-1897) with whom he alternated his residence between Regent’s Park in London, Nice (France) and a country house in the Hampshire county.

George called his grandmother “mom”, she provided him with private tuition until he entered Cambridge University. Following the pattern of the upper social class, intellectually stimulated or forced males entered college as adolescents and left as males. In Cambridge was interested in little researched subjects: theory of crime and punishment, gender psychology, homosexual identity or the sport of cricket in which he excelled as well as in poetry. His diary, written from 1886 to 1950, contains some three million words; her notebook includes everything from newspaper articles on court decisions to regulations on transvestism of women.

The year 1897 was crucial for George, his grandmother Emma passed away and he founded the Order of Queronea, the first organization (secret, at the time) in defense of homosexuality, alluded to the battle of Queronea in Greece before Christ in which The Sacred Battalion of Thebes, an elite corps made up of 150 pairs of male lovers, was defeated. The members of the order defended the decriminalization of homosexuality dedicating himself to erudition; what he called “the cause.” Although Oscar Wilde did not join the cause, Lord Alfred Douglas, Wilde’s partner, expanded the order with members of Oxford University at the same time that Edward Carpenter, philosopher of socialism, writer and pioneer of vegetarianism, gave new direction to the Asociation.

The Ives-Carpenter tandem turned their interest toward medicine, sexology, criminology, and social reform. His publications bear titles such as Rational attitude and social behavior. Entering the 20th century, together with the German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, the criminologist Cesare Lombroso and the philosopher Henry Havelock Ellis, they founded the British Sexological Society, to study sexual psychology from a medical, legal and sociological point of view. In 1901 George settled at 196 Adelaide Road (North London) where he lived with different types of family and partners. After his death in 1950, the house was swallowed up in a hasty, ordinary construction from the 1960s-70s.

According to Andrew Lycett, “George Ives was the model for the literary character Raffles, thief and gentleman, although I doubt that his creator [E.W. Hormung] understand the sexuality of the character that inspired him to create Raffles “, Lycett tells Public. Regarding the references of George’s Spanish mother, the author assures that “he does not have a Spanish mother, despite what the wickipedia says because his mother’s identity is well documented. George only saw his mother twice. Jane Violet Tayler married Baron Karl de Malortie, of whom she was widowed without children. His father married Amy Pullin, with whom George had half-siblings with whom he developed good relationships.

The file of the precursor of gay rights includes his papers from 1874 to 1949; It was acquired in 1977 by the University of Texas at Austin (USA). On the occasion of the 70 years of his death, the copyright of his work has expired along with those of other George (s) such as Orwell or Bernard Shaw.


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