John de Wettre

John de Wettre was a knife maker in Ghent when he was found with another man committing and act "detested by God". He was burned alive as punishment.

Some online sources say that he was born in 1263 and died on September 11, 1292. They say that he was burned at the stake next to the church of St. Peter. I have not yet found the original documents that provide this information.

According to historian Byrne Fone, in his book "Homophobia" (2000), wrote the following:

In many parts of Europe at the end of the thirteenth century, then, sodomites, heretics, and other social and sexual deviants were demarcated from the rest of the population. Those who once were only sinners now were criminal; their behavior was not only sinful but antisocial, and thus appropriately punished by loss of rights, property, and life. In 1292 John de Wettre, a knifemaker, was executed for sodomy in Ghent, burned alive for engaging with another man in an act "detested by God." This is the earliest known execution for that act. We don't know whether the other man was a lover or a passing stranger, whether the act was habitual or unique. All that we can know about John de Wettre is how his age defined him as it burned him - in Pope Gregory's words, an "abominable" person whom "the world despises." John's execution, if it was the first, would not be the last.

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