French Senate to debate anti-gay law apology

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11/22/2023

“It was catastrophic for me. It was shameful.” Bernard Bousset recounts the events which changed his life in a clear voice, but he is visibly still deeply troubled, all these years later. In 1964, a man he had spent the night with stole his watch and some money. After reporting the theft, the police charged Mr Bousset with sexual activity with a minor, under a discriminatory law inherited from the Nazi collaborator authorities of Vichy France which imposed different ages of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex. Mr Bousset, today 81, was eventually issued a “significant” fine. But what was more disastrous was the press’s reporting of the conviction – which made it public knowledge to everyone around him. The consequences were calamitous, he recalls. “At the time, homosexuality was so negatively perceived. I was ostracised from my family. I was so ashamed.”

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