Famous gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in history




Homosexuality has existed since the beginning of man. The earliest evidence is from an Ancient Egyptian tomb, from about 2450 BC. This tomb is of two royal officials, Niankhknum and Khnumhotep, positioned in such a way as if they were married. Modern Egyptologists are still trying to figure out if they were twin brothers, close friends, lovers, or all three.

There is also evidence of homosexuality in Ancient Egyptian mythology. Probably the most known being that of Horus (god of the sun) and Seth, who are said to be an intimate couple of that time.

The Ancient Greeks were totally cool and open with homosexuality. Ancient Greeks believed that the relationship between a man and a boy was the most pure form of love that existed. In addition, the word, “lesbian” comes from the island of Eastern Greece, Lesbos. This is also the birthplace of Sappho (lived during 600 BC). She was priestess of a feminine love cult and celebrated the love of women for women in poems and other writings.

To the Spartans, homosexuality was like a part of their military training. Every soldier knew it was ideal to have an older lover to train him in the arts of war. The young boy was referred to as the “beloved” while the older man was the “lover.” Both the beloved and the lover would fight side-by-side. Since the lover did not want to shame his beloved, he fought harder.

The Olympics also derived from Ancient Greece. At first, only men competed and they did so nude. The only spectators were men.

Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) and Pindar of Thebes are suggested to be an intimate couple of that time also. Alexander went on to conquer many lands, including Thebes. When he did so, the only house he left standing was that of a poet, Pindar. Alexander is also assumed to be intimate with his friend, Hephaiston (died 324 BC).

Other great poets and philosophers of Ancient Greece are also rumored to be gay. These include Anacrean (563-478 BC), Euripedes (480-406 BC), Sophocles (496-406 BC), Socrates (470-399 BC), and Plato (427-347 BC).

Even in their mythology, the Ancient Greeks show acts of homosexuality. In one myth, the handsome young price of Troy, Ganymede, was sent to Mount Olympus. Here, he served as cup-bearer to Zeus. Zeus’ wife and sister, Hera, became overcome with jealousy and killed young Ganymede. Zeus mourned his death and then placed him in the sky as Aquarius.

Another story is that of the feud between Apollo (god of the sun and music) and Boreas (the North Wind) over Hyacinthus. In one version, it was the West Wind, Zephyrus, instead of Boreas. Anyway, the two were feuding and Hyacinthus chose Apollo. Boreas went into a state of rage and, while Apollo was practicing discus, he blew the wind forcing the discus right into the skull of Hyacinthus. He was killed instantly. Apollo did no want Hades to take him so he tuned him into a flower, the hyacinth.

Achilles and Patroclus were also an intimate couple. The two grew up together and were close friends. When Hector killed Patroclus posing as Achilles in his armour, Achilles went completely mad. He went around killing people, including Hector. A few days later, Achilles too died. The two friends were buried together and were to spend eternity on the White Isle. Even though Homer’s “Iliad” mentions nothing of this relationship, most Greeks still felt this true.

Even Heracles (Hercules in Roman Mythology) and his good friend Hylas had a relationship. When the nymph, Dryope, kidnapped Hylas, Heracles went mad. He went around pulling up entire trees and killing everything in sight. Jason feared for himself, his Argonaughts, and the Argo itself so he had to persuade Heracles to get away. Heracles never did see Hylas again.

Another is the story of Damon and Phintias (sometimes Pythias). Phintias was to be executed for something or another, so Damon traded in his own life to save his friend. Dionysus (god of wine) saw this act very kind and pardoned both. Dionysus had orgies with Orpheus (the “first man to love boys”).

There are also the myths of Orestes and Pylades, Narcissus (who loved himself), and Hermaphroditus (who was born a male, was then united with a nymph, and therefore became half male and half female).

Ancient Romans were also open until Christianity came around. Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) and Mark Anthony for example. Caesar was said to be “every women’s husband, every man’s wife.” Cicero (106-43 BC) was another Roman political leader who is said to be gay.

There was also the Roman Emperor, Hadrian (76-138 AD), and Antinous Pius (86-161 AD) who is said to be Hadrian’s only true love. Many people still compare the love of these two to be quite similar to that between Zeus and Ganymede. When Antinous died, Hadrian went into an intense grief that altered the Roman World. Some say that after Antinous died, Hadrian believed that he became a god. Hadrian is also thought to have a relationship with Marcus Aurelius.

Some Ancient homosexual Roman poets included Horace (65-8 BC), Ovid (43 BC-17 AD), and Virgil (70-19 BC). Virgil admitted his infatuation for Augustus (Octavian) in his poem, Eclogues. Another Ancient Roman poet who was gay was Seneca (4?BC-65 AD). He described how his lover was “passive” in his lovemaking.

Even the Bible contains evidence of homosexuality between David and Jonathon. In Samuel 20:41, it is quoted, “and when the boy was gone, David rose out of his place, which was towards the south, and falling on his face to the ground, adored thrice and KISSING one another, they wept together.”

In Samuel 1:25-26 it quotes, “I grieve for thee, my brother Jonathan: exceeding beautiful, and amiable to me above the love of women. As the mother loveth her only son, so did I love thee.”

Some Christians will try to use Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 against homosexuality. It says that man cannot “lie with a man as with a women.” It also states that people cannot wear clothing made of two different kinds of material such as cotton and polyester. It also states in Ezekiel 18:5-18 that people who loan money with interest should be punished with death. Many things that we would think wrong now, were condoned in the Old Testament: animal sacrifice, polygamy, women as property, and slavery.

Many people also debate the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra. However, it states in Ezekiel 16:49-50 that they were destroyed because of in-hospitality, pride, wealth, and indifference to the needy.

Some people now believe that even Jesus Christ was homosexual (though I am neither saying he was, nor am I trying to convince anyone he was).

Early British kings are also thought to be gay: King Richard I the Lion-hearted (1157-1199) and Phillip II (1165-1223) during their adventures on the Third Crusade. There was also King Edward II (1284-1327) and Piers Gaveston who were best of friends, to the point of intimacy.

Even the great William Shakespeare (1564-1616) and the composer Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827) are said to be gay.

Many of the Italian Renaissance artists were homosexual as well. This list includes Donatello (1386-1466), Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Raphael (1483-1520), and Michelangelo (1475-1564). People now are even saying that Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa” was intended to be a self-portrait! This is also why Leonardo only did works on males and never actually finished a work on a female.

Many people debate whether Joan of Arc (1412-1431) was a lesbian or not. She vowed to remain a virgin early in life. She then went of crusades to help Charles VII obtain his rightful claim to the French throne. Joan of Arc was burned as a witch and heretic in 1431 and was later named a saint. Almost every aspect of Joan of Arc’s story remains quite controversial to this day (which was very evident in the lengthy book I read).

President George Washington (1732-1799) and Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) are also thought to have had a relationship going on. On March 3, 1777, Washington hired Hamilton to be his personal secretary. Hamilton then left to do some military service. In 1789, Washington appointed Hamilton as the first ever Secretary of Treasury of the United States.

Alexander Hamilton is also rumored to having a relationship with John Laurens (1754-1782) and comparing each other to Damon and Phintias.

Even President Abraham Lincoln is said to have a homosexual relationship. This is suggested to be between he and Joshua Speed. People now (and may have then) think this because the two men were bed partners for a number of years.

During World War II, the British mathematician, Alan Turing, broke the secrets of the German code machine Enigma. History classes will usually pass him up because he was homosexual. Why should it matter who he went to bed with?

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), the equal right activist, and Eleanor Roosevelt are suggested to be lesbians of the past, as are Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) and Amelia Earhart (1898-1937?). Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) wrote about lesbianism in some of her poetry.

In addition, in the 1800s, writers Herman Melville (1819-1891) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) were intimate. Melville wrote in a letter to Hawthorne, “your heart beat in my ribs and mine in yours, and both in God’s.”

Past actors and performers such as James Dean (1931-1955), Rock Hudson (1925-1985), Charles Laughton (1889-1962), and Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) were notorious homosexuals of their times. Janis Joplin (which can be debated), the talented singer, and Joan Jett were also lesbians.

There are also many well-known people in the present who are open with their sexuality. There is Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Heche, Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang, Elton John, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, Chastity Bono (daughter of Sonny and Cher), and Jodie Foster.

Before the rainbow flag, a few different symbols were used to represent homosexuals. In Victorian, England, green was associated with homosexuality. After the Stonewall riot in 1969, purple was used and gays used the phrase, “purple power” to show their pride. In the early 1980s, there was the pink triangle. The pink triangle was originated to identify gay males in Nazi Germany concentration camps.

In 1978 Gilbert Baker of San Francisco designed and made the rainbow flag to represent gay pride. The original flag had eight colors: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These colors were to represent sexuality, life, healing, sun, nature, art, harmony, and spirit. The flag then changed to just the six colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) and is still used today as the symbol of gay pride. It is even recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers.

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