History of lesbianism
Lesbianism is the sexual and romantic desire between females. There are far fewer historical mentions of lesbianism than male homosexuality, possibly due to many historical writings and records focusing primarily on men. An example of lesbianism being illegal comes from records of the late Middle Ages (1300-1500). Laws created during the Inquisition in Spain and the Holy Roman Empire specifically mention lesbianism (as well as male sodomy). England has never had any laws outlawing lesbianism, and at times (particularly the 17th-19th centuries) lesbianism has even been accepted.Laws against lesbianism were suggested but usually not created or enforced in early American history. In 1636, John Cotton proposed a law for Massachusetts Bay making sex between two women (or two men) a capital offense, but the law was not enacted. It would have read, ""Unnatural filthiness, to be punished with death, whether sodomy, which is carnal fellowship of man with man, or woman with woman, or buggery, which is carnal fellowship of man or woman with beasts or fowls."" In 1655, the Connecticut Colony passed a law against sodomy between women (as well as between men), but nothing came of this either. In 1779, Thomas Jefferson proposed a law stating that, ""Whosoever shall be guilty of rape, polygamy, or sodomy with man or woman shall be punished, if a man, by castration, if a woman, by cutting thro' the cartilage of her nose a hole of one half inch diameter at the least"", but this did not become law either. However, in 1649 in Plymouth Colony, Sarah White Norman and Mary Vincent Hammon were prosecuted for ""lewd behavior with each other upon a bed""; their trial documents are the only known record of sex between female English colonists in North America in the 17th century. Hammon was only admonished, perhaps because she was younger than sixteen, but in 1650 Norman was convicted and required to acknowledge publicly her ""unchaste behavior"" with Hammon, as well as warned against future offenses. This may be the only conviction for lesbianism in American history.