In this series we look at various heroes and advocates of the LGBTQIA family.
In this article we focus on a gay male, George Cecile Ives.
1 October 1867– 4 June 1950
Place of birth: Germany.
George Cecile Ives was one of Britain’s first gay activists, living in a time were he was in danger of imprisonment for up to two years hard labour for his sexuality.
Ives formed a secret society for gay men called The Order of Chaeronea, named after the battle site were a army of gay lovers were slaughted.
He was educated in his younger days at home, then later at Cambridge. Roughly at the time he began Cambridge he also began collecting scrap books full of newspaper cutting, on a range of subjects that fascinated him the most, from cricket through to murder, punishments, theories of crime, the psychology of gender and sexuality. He also showed an avid interest in male transvestism. This was the beginning of a lifetime of fascistion with sexual and gender psychology.
Ives believed that homosexuality would never be accepted by soiecity, of course at the time he was right. He went on to set up the ‘secret society’ in order to communicate with like minded people. He believed The Order of Chaeronea should cultivate a moral, ethical, cultural and spiritual ethos. What is important to understand is that Ives set this up only eight years after the Sexual Offences Act 1885.
Oscar Wilde is said to have declined an invite to join the ’cause’. He also had a brief affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, known best for his realationship with Wilde. Douglas introduced Ives to many poets who he tried to recruit also.
Slowly Ives recruited many up and coming Victorian gents.
In 1914 Ives confounded The British Society for the study of Sex Psychology. The society studied birth control, abortion, sterilisation, venereal diseases and all aspects of prostitution, by 1931 the organisation became known as The British serological Society.
George went on not only to fight for gay rights but prison reform, which incidentally many gay men of this time and up to decriminalising homosexuality in 1967 supported in the UK due to their own or their aquantances experiences.
Considering the times that Ives lived in he was a true pioneer in what would pave the pathway to what we celebrate and take for granted today.