LGBTQ+: Three Centuries of Oppression in Québec

A timeline of LGBTQ+ penalties under the law.

By Mathieu Perron

1600s: Sexual relations between women attract no judicial interest. However, transvestism is severely repressed, and women are forbidden from wearing pants.

1600s: Three trials for homosexuality take place in New France. The Catholic Church judges as “deviant” a host of sexual behaviors, including bestiality, incest and sodomy. The sentence imposed by the royal courts for homosexuality is death by being burned at the stake.

1600s: Relationships between men are common in the navy and the army. In 1691, two soldiers and a lieutenant from a navy detachment are accused of the crime of sodomy.

1700s: The Québec Act of 1774 confirms the primacy of British criminal law based on English customs. “Buggery” as defined by England’s 1533 Buggery Act forbids anal sex between men or involving animals.

1800s: In 1841, the new parliament of the Province of Canada passes the first law condemning the “abominable crime of sodomy.”

1800s: In 1869, buggery is codified in Canada in An Act respecting Offences against the Person. Capital punishment is replaced by a minimal sentence of two years imprisonment.

1800s: In 1886, the crime of buggery is no longer a crime against the person, but is now deemed a crime against “moral and public convenience.”

1800s: In 1890, gays are accused of the crime of “gross indecency,” the maximum penalty for which is two years imprisonment.  

First seen in Reflet de Société Vol. 29, no. 5, juin (June) 2021, page 9.

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