Sodomy defined

The Dividers love the word “sodomy.”

There’s very little use of words like “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” “transgender” or the clunky-but-correct abbreviation GLBTQ. The Dividers also call gay folks “homosexuals,” but “sodomites” is their favorite. Luke has even posted videos at YouTube under the moniker “Sodom Opposition Crew.”

My suspicion is that the Dividers like the term so much because it casts gay people in negative religious terms. “Homosexual” objectifies people but retains a clinical tone; it’s a specific reference to sexual behavior. “Sodomite,” on the other hand, inserts a whole bunch of religious baggage and conjures up images of death and destruction.

The word derives from the premodern era, coined by St. Peter Damian in the 11th century to describe “the sin of Sodom.” Sodom was one of a pair of cities destroyed by a wrathful God in the Iron Age tale recorded in the Old Testament (Genesis 18 and 19).

The word “sodomy,” in both religious and legal terminology, specifically denoted a sexual act in which an anus is penetrated by a penis. “Sodomites” were those who engaged in anal sex acts, no matter what their sexual orientation; indeed anal sex is also something that is performed as frequently by heterosexual couples as by homosexual couples. This is undoubtedly why civil libertarians, mostly heterosexual, worked to remove many anti-sodomy laws from the books for years prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas.

But straight folks who do it aside, “sodomite” is the term used by the Dividers to describe all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks, whether we like it or not.