John Lawson: 1709

"Sodomy is never heard of"

Lawson, a British gentleman, surveyor and traveler, published a narrative of his voyage to Carolina. This earliest-known mention of native sodomy by an Englishman denied its existence. Lawson reported that although the Indians he observed "are called Savages, yet Sodomy is never heard of amongst them." The Indians "are so far from the Practice of that beastly and loathsome Sin that they have no Name for it in, their Language."(1)



  1. Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay/Lesbian Almanac (NY: Harper & Row, 1983), p. 127, citing John Lawson,History of North Carolina, edited by Frances Latham Harris (Richmond, Va.: Garrett & Massie, 1937), p. 208; Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (NY: Crowell, 1976), p. 612 n. 8. For a biography of Lawson see Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 8, p. 318.