A great idea, but is it too late to make a real difference?


There are so many items to check off our to-do list in the movement to Equality, and sometimes we miss an idea whose time has passed.

Recently I got an email which suggested that we should expunge the records of those people who were convicted of sodomy before it was tossed out by the state. In England, Oscar Wilde, one of the most famous people convicted under a sodomy law, was posthumously pardoned for his offenses, along with many other men in the country.

At first the idea really interested me, since I was one of those who lobbied to get Pennsylvania to dump its sodomy law while they were revising Pennsylvania’s penal code. 

On the surface you might think it’s a great idea to have the state just wipe out all convictions, but that won’t work since some of those convictions were connected to rape or sex with underaged people.

But what about if we had someone who was convicted simply because they engaged in sodomy with a consenting adult, and nothing else was attached to that conviction? They certainly do not need to have that on their record, and there’s also the chance they were forced onto a sex crimes list. 

But when you think about it, Pennsylvania’s sodomy laws were struck down a long time ago, 1980, in fact, and for most cases it is really too late to change those lives that were ruined by the homophobic law. Many are probably gone, and those who are still with us may not want to revisit their ordeals. It may cause more harm than good at this point.

This just goes to prove that there are many issues we have to find solutions for, but sometimes there is not time to take care of everything. We must prioritize the most important issues we know must be dealt with. At present, the most important issues are taking care of our own, especially the most disenfranchised and at-risk people in our community, the trans community. 

This year alone there have been 250 anti trans laws introduced in state legislatures. That is an emergency, and battling those laws needs to be a top priority in the continuing movement for equality.