Turkish Hamam
Turkish Hamam

Gay Saunas and Bathhouses

The growing cities of the late 1800s included growing populations of gay men. Generally, households were poor and many did not have advanced plumbing. From the 1880s public facilities for bathing were seen as desirable public amenities. A number of the bath houses in large cities where gay men were congregating and forming communities became ‘gay’. The movement for “turkish” baths “hamam” with steam rooms and lounges also proved popular with gay men. After World War II a number of raids were carried out on gay premises in a number of countries, and they went underground, re-emerging after the sexual and cultural revolution of the 1960s. During the Aids scare of the 1980s there was renewed attention on closing down gay bathhouses which were seen as helping to spread the infection.

They survive.

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