Naomi Wolf defends gay persecution book though it has errors

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US author Naomi Wolf has stood by her new book exploring gay persecution in 19th century Britain, even though it is not historically accurate. Wolf appeared on BBC Radio 3 to discuss Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love and was challenged by historian Dr Matthew Sweet over claims in the work that, after 1857, there were “several dozen” gay Brits executed for having sex, though gay sex had not been punished with death for more than two decades by then, if to believe historic records. Sweet said Wolf had wrongly interpreted the phrase “death recorded” as meaning that an accused was executed when they were actually spared. The author has defended the book, arguing it was not a “social investigation” but a “cultural analysis of a mood”. She admitted making two mistakes in the book and said that they won’t be in the next reprinting. “I misinterpreted one of the cases (and one has no death record). But there are multiple other executions that are confirmed,” she wrote on Twitter.

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