Edward Carpenter

George Merrill

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Carpenter, Edward (1844-1929)

A Champion of Homogenic Love.

From the Who’s Who in Gay and Lesbian History – “He met his lover, George Merrill, on a train in the winter of 1889–1890 when the working-class 20-year-old from the Sheffield slums was out of work.

In 1894 Carpenter issued Homogenic Love, the first openly published defence of homosexuality by a homosexual in England. Bravely defiant of the fear and hostility stirred up by the WILDE trials in 1895, he published another treatment of the subject, An Unknown People, in 1897, which became chapter 2 of The Intermediate Sex (1908), a collection of his papers on ‘homogenic love’ that remained continuously in print until the 1950s. It was also included in 1906 in an enlarged edition of Love’s Coming-of-Age: A Series ofPapers on the Relations of the Sexes (1896), a widely read sex-reform volume, where it served to introduce the subject of homosexuality sympathetically to a straight audience.

In 1898 Merrill moved into Millthorpe, against the advice of all of Carpenter’s friends, and remained with Carpenter until his death in 1928. Their living together brought them both happiness, and it is difficult now to conceive what a radically daring and courageous step it was in 1898.”


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