An Inversion of Values: The Cult of Homosexuality
English would find that unmasculine in the extreme (or worse); and, he hinted, the Scotswere still more hopeless.
Those who were caught up in a scandal in their country of origin tended to retreatto the colonies. Robert Eyton, vice-chancellor of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, exiledhimself to Queensland in 1900 after a major scandal.
In the 1930s, two-thirds of themen posted to Malaysia were homosexual. Many were indicted after a Chinese male pros-titute spilled the beans; deportations and two suicides followed.
Tangier also attractedmany visitors in the 1930s — Bohemian intellectuals and homosexuals. Stephen Tennantexplains this fascination for the city that symbolizes exoticism and expatriation. It iscurious, he says, but here — so close to Spain — just thirty miles away — the sea iswarmer, and the sun is burning. The spirit of Africa, which one breathes, which radiatesin the streets — which is exhaled by the ground and the sidewalks, is strangely pleasingto me.
Homosexual tourism was born in the colonies. For the foreigner, everything waseasier: the fear of being recognized disappeared, and legislation could not reach him. Theexoticism of the place added to the eroticism of the situation. Gide eulogized these easyrelations. There were boys all over, blossoming in the sun, with gilded skin, marvelouslycomplaisant, always available, free of prejudices and inhibitions.
Boys were passedfrom hand to hand. In the company of Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, Gide discoveredthat the trade in boys was organized for the purpose of satisfying demand from foreignvisitors; one wonders whether he really was unaware that this was prostitution in dis-guise, that he believed in the spontaneity of the boys who were offered to him.
AMYNTAS: North African Journals,
money is never mentioned. However, tipping or“baksheesh” was commonplace and pederasty is directly associated with those who havemoney. The colonizer, in his financial superiority, is sure to obtain satisfaction one way oranother; consequently, he goes out of his way to show that money plays no part in hisrelations. The reader himself loses his faculty of judgment and Gide is an accomplice inthat, for he makes a show of his weaknesses, his shortcomings, his hesitations. But, whilehe may question his sexuality, he never doubts his choice of partners.Like Gide, Montherlant evokes life in Algiers as a continuous source of sexualadventure. He tours the Jardin d’Essai, and Bab-el-Oued, and goes to the cinema lookingfor yaouleds, Arab adolescents, whom he renames with his liking: The “Thorny Rose of Blida,” “Jasmine of Belcourt,” “Genêt of Médéa,” “He who opens the doors of the sky.”According to Montherlant, the North African colonials came to fulfill their fantasies inAlgiers for all sorts of reasons: there was “the French dream”: to conquer, control, exploit;the “artistic dream”: dancers, jasmine, young men; and the “human dream”: assimilation, justice, fraternity.
438. Cited by Peter Parker,
A Life of J.R. Ackerley
, London, Constable, 1989, 465 pages, p.74.439. Ronald Hyam,
Empire and Sexuality: The British Experience
, Manchester, Manchester UniversityPress, 1990, 234 pages.440.
, p.109.441. Cited by Philip Hoare,
, p.295.442. André Gide,
Si le grain ne meurt
, reedited., Paris, Gallimard, coll. “Folio,” 1986,372 pages.443. See on this subject Hédi Khelil, Sens, jouissance, tourisme, érotisme, argent dans deuxfictions coloniales d’André Gide, Tunis, Éditions de la Nef, 1988, 172 pages.444. Cited by Pierre Sipriot,
Montherlant sans masque
Écris avec ton sang, 1932-1972
, Paris, RobertLaffont, 1990, 505 pages, p.30.