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26-06-2019, 11:30   #31
ChrisJ84
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@Peregrinus, I see what you're saying and you have a point about William. The fact that this was something that was alleged at the time makes it of greater historical interest.

I should probably have been clearer, when I said irrelevant what I really had in mind was a narrower source / archive view of history where we would ask what happened and what does that mean, drawing reasonable conclusions from the available data. Using William as an example, we can say that he had close male companions, that his political and religious opponents sought to use that to discredit him, and try to understand why that happened. Going beyond that to try and uncover his sexuality is really into the realms of speculation, in the absence of the uncovering of any new data.

The interesting parallel between the 17th century allegations about William and the more recent speculation about Pearse is their propaganda value - which makes me especially sceptical of any conclusions drawn in the absence of any real evidence.
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26-06-2019, 14:26   #32
Peregrinus
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Yes, I agree. If we look at Casement, who actually was gay, we can see that the main significance of this is not anything that it tells us about Casement the man, or his political or historical signficance, but the propaganda use that was made of it. Similarly, as has already been alluded to in this thread, one reason why the putative homosexuality of William of Orange is of interest to us is the embarrassment/annoyance that (we assume) the fact would cause to a certain class of Orangeman today. For all that these things might have some historical significance, popular interest in them today is to a substantial extend just a matter of prurience.
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