In 1707 a group of at least forty gay men (or "sodomites") were arrested in London. They were described as a "gang" and frequented a "club" located near the Stock Exchange, and were apparently rounded up as the result of investigations initiated by the Society for Reformation of Manners, the prototypical moral-reform movement which was organized during the closing years of the seventeenth century. Three of the men killed themselves while being imprisoned in the Compter; a man named Jones hanged himself, a woolen draper named Grant hanged himself, and a man named Jermain, Clerk of the church of St Dunstan's in the East, cut his throat with a razor. A fourth man, cryptically named "Ber--den", also seems to have hanged himself. One contemporary account is John Dunton's The He-Strumpets: A Satyr on the Sodomite Club. The following is the complete text of a broadside ballad printed at the time. The ballad is on a single sheet of paper (a "broadside"), at the top of which are three illustrations showing one man cutting his throat while another man hangs from the prison window beside him, one hanged man being cut down, and two men embracing one another. (For fuller details, see my book Mother Clap's Molly House.)
It is worth noting that certain gay stereotypes were already well in place as early as 1707, notably the linking of homosexuality with brutal and "unnatural" lust, and the characterization of a homosexual personality type as a misogynist. These men (who incidentally are not called sodomites in this poem) are specifically described in terms of sexual orientation: i.e. they are said to despise women and admire their own sex. This contradicts the Foucauldian view that before modern times people simply focused on sodomy as a sexual act, rather than an identity or orientation. It is also worth noting that these men seem to have been bachelors (as also indicated by other evidence discussed in my book), which suggests that they did in fact possess a gay identity, that is, they were not bisexuals or pansexual libertines indulging in undifferentiated sexuality rather than homosexuality. Cruising grounds and special taverns where such men gathered, to socialize as much as to make assignations, are known to have existed at least since 1700 in England (and much earlier in continental Europe).
The Women-Hater's Lamentation: