This is a short excerpt of a speech Mrs. Thatcher gave in 1988 about the harm being done to children who were being “cheated” of a sound start to their lives by being allowed to believe it was all right to be gay. Yes, cheated.
Her government went on to outlaw LGBT issues being taught in school, laws which lasted into the early 21st century.
In the timeline of the show, Carl Powers died in 1989. So in 1988, when these laws were enacted, John and Sherlock would have been adolescents. Add this to the anti-gay discourse around the AIDS crisis, and the anti-bi discourse as well, and we get a good picture of the climate at the time for LGBTQ+ kids, and not just the fictional ones.
Given this context, the queer reading of this episode becomes really, really weighty:
This episode has a Sherlock mirror (and, at the last, Sherlock himself) smashing the busts of Margaret Thatcher.
Why? Because he’d had to hide the truth of his identity. He had to hide it to stay safe, and protect the people he loved. They had an agreement: they all knew, and they all hid. The only way that he could save himself, and his friends, was to hide the details of his true identity.
He was in this position because he had been betrayed by “The English Woman.”
But of course, in this reading, the English woman is not Mary, nor even Mrs. Norbury, but Margaret Thatcher herself.
And this is why we see, I think more than once, Sherlock’s face obscured by (or reflected in) Margaret Thatcher’s face:
Because if he is wearing a mask, it’s partly because of her. His identity is obscured, is hidden, because of her.
But the masks are being smashed, now, and everyone’s true identity will be coming to light.
WWII Gay G.I.s recounts tale of losing their Lovers
Excerpt from the book Coming out under fire The history of gay Men and Women in World War Two: Combat soldiersoftenresponded to each other’s personal losses with the deepest respect and understanding, allowing gay GIs to express openly their grief over the death of boyfriends or lovers.
Jim Warren’s boyfriend was hit while trying to knock out a machine-gun nest on Saipan. “They brought him back,” Warren recalled, “and he was at the point of death. He was bleeding. He had been hit about three or four times. I stood there and he looked up at me and I looked down at him and he said, ‘Well, Jim, we didn’t make it, did we.’ And tears were just rolling down my cheeks. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt such a lump and such a waste. And he kind of gave me a boyish crooked grin and just said, ‘Well, maybe next time.’ And I said, ‘I’m going to miss you. And I’ll see your mother.’ There were people standing around, maybe seven or eight people standing there, and I was there touching his hand and we were talking. Somebody said later, ‘You were pretty good friends,’ because I had been openly crying and most people don’t do this. I said, ‘Yes, we were quite good friends.’ And nobody ever said anything. I guess as long as I supposedly upheld my end of the bargain, everything was all right.”
Ben Small was even less able to control himself when his boyfriend was killed in the Philippines. But he, too, was surprised by the other men’s compassion towards him. “We had a funny freak attack of a Japanese kamikaze plane,” he recalled, “and I guess he was getting rid of his last load of these baby cutter bomb, these little bombs that explode at about three feet high so if they went off through a tent they exploded at bed level. I had just been in the tent of a guy I had been going with at the time. He crawled into bed, and I said goodnight and walked out the tent. And this plane came overhead and all we heard was explosions and we fell to the ground. When I got up too see if he was all right, the trust of the bomb had gone through his tent and he was not there. I went into a three-day period of hysterics. I was treated with such kindness by the guys that I worked with, who were all totally aware of why I had gone hysterical. It wasn’t because we were bombed. It was because my boyfriend had been killed. And one guy in the tent came up to me and said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were gay? You could have talked to me.’ I said, ‘Well, I was afraid to.’ This big straight, macho guy. There was a sort of compassion then.”
After a raid in the Philippines, Ben Small remembered, a lieutenant who had been injured was being shipped back to the States, so the men “all went to the plane to see him off that night. It was an amazingly touching moment, when he and his lover said goodbye, because they embraced and kissed in front of all these straight guys and everyone dealt with it so well. I think it was just this basic thing about separation of someone you cared for, regardless of sex.” Small described this tender parting as “a little distilled moment out of time” when men’s “prejudices were suspended” and gay soldiers “could be a part of what this meant.”
PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE THERE IS A PETITION FOR THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE TO ELECT CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT ON DEC 19th. THEY NEED 60 MILLION SUPPORTERS AND THEY ARE ON A LITTLE OVER 3 MILLION. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SIGN AND SPREAD IT.