Age of Consent
Some great stuff from Joe.
The Age of ConsentÂ byÂ Bronski BeatÂ was released in October 1984. I always remember the quizzical look the young saleswoman gave me (so youâ€™re queer then?!) when I asked for a copy in my local record store. Bronski Beat were the first openly G-A-Y band in the UK. Homos in showbiz were nothing new but wee Jimmy Sommerville was the first person in pop to wear hisÂ pink triangleÂ (the rainbow flag hadnâ€™t been invented yet) with Pride. The whole LGBT activist angle the band promoted in music press interviews was one of the main reasons I felt duty-bound to by the album. I was nineteen at the time and had just gone back to art school. A couple of years before I had been driven out of full-time education by homophobic students who were aided and abetted by equally homophobic tutors. On the day that I quit school my most â€˜supportiveâ€™ teacher advised me not toÂ â€œend up as anotherÂ fagÂ on the doleâ€. Â Both the strange Americanism (fag) and its still-understood-by-Brits meaning ensured that I never forgot this unhelpful tip and remained angry and depressed for the next couple of years.
Equalizing the age of consent was a 1980s thing. Consent as a moral framework â€“ a moral starting point or assumption for deciding â€œwhen to startâ€ or â€œwhere to do itâ€ â€“ had to be established as â€œcommonsenseâ€ before Bronski Beat could write electro-pop ditties about the social pressures forcing gay people to hide their love away.
Gay liberation was one strand of the 1960sÂ sexual revolution. It was no accident that Harvey Milk was the â€œfirst openly gay person to be elected to public officeâ€. San Francisco was the home of â€œfree loveâ€ â€“ gay and straight. The LGB & Ts only stepped out of the shadows and joined the hippy trail when it became clear that other flower power advocates werenâ€™t going to beat them up. If there had been no straight â€œfree loveâ€ movement, no common acceptance of divorce, serial monogamy, pre-marital sex, co-habitation, single parents etc there would have been no gay liberation.
Gay people are 2% of the adult population. They didnâ€™t persuade the 98% to adopt the new moral framework based on consent. Â The straight majority could have carried on believing that certain behaviours are intrinsically wrong (irrespective of consent) but in doing so they would have put limits on their own sexual freedom. Gay people simply took advantage of a much bigger straight liberation movement.Â Just as they have taken advantage of the redefinition of marriage to mean â€œwhen we make vows to each other and we support each otherâ€.
The Christian concept ofÂ holinessÂ pre-dates all of thisÂ but how many Christians today would concede that itÂ demands as much from the straight majorityÂ as it does from the LGBT minority?
For this is the will of God,Â your sanctificationÂ that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his ownÂ bodyÂ in holiness andÂ honor, not inÂ the passion of lustÂ like the GentilesÂ who do not know God
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
Here’s the most famous track off that important album.