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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 24 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 43
Paris honors memory of last people executed for being Gay
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Paris honors memory of last people executed for being Gay

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new plaque commemorating the last men executed in France for being Gay was unveiled in Paris on October 18. The commemorative plaque was placed in the central square formerly used for executions. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo led the ceremony.

According to Paris Council member Ian Brossat, who recommended the commemoration, the executions illustrated the oppression of Gay people in French history.

'At 11:30 p.m. on the 4th January 1750, at the crossroad of rue Montorgueuil and rue Saint-Saveur, Bruno Lenoir, a cobbler in his 20s, and Jean Diot, a 40 year-old servant, were arrested for being homosexuals,' Brossat said.

'Imprisoned at Châtelet, their trial and its verdict demonstrate the unremitting jurisdiction that French homosexuals faced at the time.

'Following the seizure of all their possessions and money, both of them were condemned to be burnt alive at the stake in the Place de Grève and their ashes scattered.

'Bruno Lenoir and Jean Diot were executed publicly on the 6th July at 5 p.m., for nothing but the crime of being gay. They were the last couple executed in France for this reason.'

The stone plaque was placed in the pavement in the Place de Greve, sometimes called the Place de l'Hotel de Ville, in front of Paris City Hall. In medieval times, the gallows and the pillory stood in the square, and most public executions were conducted there.

After the French Revolution, the guillotine was set up in a different and more symbolic square - the former site of a monument to Louis XV - which was renamed Place de la Concorde (loosely translated 'Harmony Square').

Hidalgo, a member of the Socialist Party, is the first woman mayor of Paris. Her grandfather fought for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War and was sentenced to life in prison by the Franco dictatorship. Her parents emigrated to France soon after she was born.

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