Same-sex attraction is a biological fact. It is well-established scientifically that it exists in every corner of the animal kingdom, from lizards to insects, and yet it's only recently that scientists are admitting that what they've seen is same-sex attraction and mating.
<div style="display:inline-block;">Murray Levick, who was part of the 1910–13 Scott Antarctic Expedition, saw male Adelie penguins engaged in [homosexual] behaviour, but he was so abashed by this discovery that he described what he saw in Greek so that only educated gentlemen would know 'the horrors he had witnessed'</div> [[Dagg, 151->Sources]]
Despite the intense horror naturalists used to feel, inventing words like "aggressosexual" to describe the male bonding and mating of rams, same-sex mating and courting remains a dominant fact of the animal kingdom.
<div style="display:inline-block;">Valerius Geist, with whom I had corresponded now and then when he was studying the behaviour of mountain sheep in western Canada, also noted homosexual behaviour among the rams he was observing – lots of it, actually. But he called it 'aggressosexual' activity. I remember, on reading his scientific results, trying to figure out what on earth that meant. In his 1975 book, <i>Mountain Sheep and Man in the Northern Wilds</i>, however, he came clean, bravely, if with his former prejudice showing, writing about his past comments: “To state that the males had evolved a homosexual society was emotionally beyond me. To conceive of those magnificent beasts as ‘queers’ – Oh, God!” He repudiated his earlier 'drivel' (97–8).</div> [[Dagg, 151->Sources]]
Despite these qualms to call a rose a rose, nothing could be more natural in animals than bisexuality and homosexuality.
"Homosexual behavior occurs in more than 450 different kinds of animals worldwide, and is found in every major geographic region and every major animal group" ([[Bagemihl->Sources]]).
Scientists believe about a quarter of black swans pairings, for example, are two males. They raise cygnets together—and those cygnets have a higher rate of survival to adulthood than opposite sex pairings. They've been known to steal nests, and even court a female together, then drive her away after she lays eggs. The two male pairings guarded the common territory, performed greeting ceremonies towards each other, and (in the reproductive period) performed the same pre-marital rituals as opposite sex pairings. ([[Braithwaite, pp. 134–146->Sources]]).
[[RETURN->Same-Sex Attraction Throughout History]]
Bagemihl, Bruce (1999). Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (Stone Wall Inn ed.). New York City: St. Martin's Press.
Braithwaite, L. W., "Ecological studies of the Black Swan III – Behaviour and social organization", Australian Wildlife Research 8, 1981: 134–146.
Brand, Adolf. Der Eigene. Berlin, 1925. Web.
Croome, Rodney. “The Companion to Tasmanian History: Homosexuality.” Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, University of Tasmania, 2006
Dagg, Anne Innis. “Follow-Up: Homosexuality, Taxonomy, and Mammalogists.” Smitten by Giraffe: My Life as a Citizen Scientist, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal; Kingston; London; Chicago, 2016, pp. 149–168.
"Eldorado." Cabaret Berlin. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Fages, P., Priestley, H. I., & Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Historia y Etnografía (Mexico) (1937). (HathiTrust limited search only) A historical, political, and natural description of California. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press. p. 33.
Freud, Sigmund. "Letter to an American Mother." American Journal of Psychiatry 107 (1951): 787. Fordham University. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Ginn, H. Lucas. "Gay Culture Flourished in Pre-Nazi Germany." Update Oct. 1995: n. pag. Fordham University. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Halsall, Paul. Internet History Sourcebooks Project. Fordham University. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Hirschfeld, Magnus. The Homosexuality of Men and Women. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2000. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Letter from René Crevel to Marcel Jouhandeau, 1928, in Masques, n. 17, spring 1983, p. 49.
Murray, Stephen O, and Will Roscoe. Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature. New York: New York University Press, 1997. Print.
Pflugfelder, Gregory M. (1997). Cartographies of desire: male–male sexuality in Japanese discourse, 1600–1950. University of California Press. p. 26, 39–42, 75, 70-71, 252,
Roscoe, Will. Boy-wives and Female-Husbands: Studies in African Homosexualities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001. Print.
Roscoe, Will. Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998. Print.
Roscoe, Will. The Zuni Man-Woman. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991. Print.
Roscoe, Will. <i>Will's World.</i> www.willsworld.org/ Accessed 11 April 2018.
<i>Swans, Cygnus atratus</i>. Wiki commons.
Tamagne, Florence. A History of Homosexuality in Europe: Berlin, London, Paris, 1919-1939. New York: Algora, 2004. Print.
Treuer, Anton (2011). "Women and Gender". <i>The Assassination of Hole in the Day.</i> Borealis Books. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
Williams, Karen. "A queer history: South Africa’s KhoiKhoi in Australia." <i>Media Diversified. Accessed 24 April 2018.
Wolff, Charlotte. Hindsight, London, Quartet Books, 1980, p. 73. Print.
It is my intention through this work to create a repository of examples of same-sex and transgender history, and to wrestle with how a biological fact—that attraction towards those of the same sex occurs naturally in the human population—has been viewed, wrestled with, celebrated, but never non-existent in human cultures. In doing so, I'm dividing the world into geographic features, and showing examples from all ends of them.
This is not intended as traditional scholarship—if I'm making an argument, it's only in what I choose to select. Nor is it necessarily my aim to create something new of the traditional interpretations of these images and texts. Rather, my desire is to consolidate knowledge in one easily-traversed place.
My main audience is queer youth, and particularly queer youth of color, who have too often been denied knowledge of their place in history. The goal of this website is primarily education.
[[SAME-SEX ATTRACTION AND ECOLOGY->Same-Sex Attraction and Ecology]] — The animal kingdom has its own stories to tell about how natural same-sex attraction is.
[[<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/7d944f944b20e6b0a701e70df389d4c5/tumblr_p7pjinJUsi1wo08ywo1_1280.jpg" style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right: auto; width:50%;">->Same-Sex Attraction and Ecology]]
[[SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN THE AMERICAS->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN THE AMERICAS]] — Historical examples of same-sex attraction in the Americas.
[[<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/82366fe47963085a424bfff9e58b0cb7/tumblr_p6lvhq9amB1wo08ywo1_400.gif" style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right: auto; width:50%;">->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN THE AMERICAS]]
[[SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN ASIA->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN ASIA]] — Historical examples of same-sex attraction in Asia.
[[<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/71ba7f87647f94191f2b3a6629123870/tumblr_p7pji0tCFC1wo08ywo1_500.png" style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right: auto; width:50%;">->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN ASIA]]
[[SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN AFRICA->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN AFRICA]] — Historical examples of same-sex attraction in Africa.
[[<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/86f72fcdd19d3398baf50ae6fa0d1770/tumblr_p7pjjeia8s1wo08ywo1_1280.jpg" style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right: auto; width:50%;">->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN AFRICA]]
[[SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN POLYNESIA->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN POLYNESIA]] — Historical examples of same-sex attraction in Australia, New Zealand and Polynesia.
[[<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/afa07357abbab2dfb7b1fa6ed209d488/tumblr_p7pjk5oTpr1wo08ywo1_500.jpg" style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right: auto; width:50%;">->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN POLYNESIA]]
[[SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN EUROPE->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN EUROPE]] — Historical examples of same-sex attraction in Europe.
[[<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/fd0a449ae4eff47cadcdf44b599c1c7e/tumblr_p7pjktUykm1wo08ywo1_500.jpg" style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right: auto; width:50%;">->SAME-SEX ATTRACTION IN EUROPE]]
"When Europeans encountered two-spirits, they reacted with shock, amazement, and sometimes violence. In 1513, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa had forty two-spirits that he encountered in Panama put to death by his dogs." (Roscoe, Two Spirits: Third and Fourth Genders in Native America)
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<div style="display:inline-block;">I have submitted substantial evidence that those Indian men who, both here and farther inland, are observed in the dress, clothing and character of women – there being two or three such in each village – pass as sodomites by profession.... They are called <i>joyas</i>, and are held in great esteem.</div> [[FAGES->Sources]]
Don Pedro Fages, in his 1775 description of 1769–70 Spanish Portolà expedition into what is now the state of California.
<div style="display:inline-block;">[In Ojibwe cultures] Sex usually determined one's gender, and therefore one's work, but the Ojibwe accepted variation. Men who chose to function as women were called ikwekaazo, meaning 'one who endeavors to be like a woman.' Women who functioned as men were called ininiikaazo, meaning, 'one who endeavors to be like a man.' The French called these people berdaches. Ikwekaazo and ininiikaazo could take spouses of their own sex. Their mates were not considered ikwekaazo or ininiikaazo, however, because their function in society was still in keeping with their sex. If widowed, the spouse of an ikwekaazo or ininiikaazo could remarry someone of the opposite sex or another ikwekaazo or ininiikaazo. The ikwekaazowag worked and dressed like women. The ininiikaazowag worked and dressed like men. Both were considered to be strong spiritually, and they were always honoured, especially during ceremonies.</div> (Treue)
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Thomas McKenney, speaking on his experience with Mississippi Ojibwe people in 1826.
<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/ecf58b79ff7801d1064db9e0a0e1328d/tumblr_p6lubsr2sB1wo08ywo2_540.png" width="100%">
"Female two-spirits were hunters, warriors, and leaders. Some, like Woman Chief of the Crow, married women and served as chiefs." ... "Another common feature of two-spirit roles was their spiritual dimension. Cheyenne male two-spirits led the scalp dance, the tribe’s most important ceremony, while among the Crow, a boté traditionally selected the tree used to make the central pole of the Sun Dance lodge. Among the Mohave, male and female two-spirits were often shamans and healers." (Roscoe, Two Spirits: Third and Fourth Genders in Native America)
A fascination to cultural anthropologists in 1886, We'wha was a Zuni two spirit person who was brought to Washington D.C. by one of the first women anthropologists, Matilda Coxe Stevenson. She met President Cleveland, befriended the speaker of the house, and called on his wife.
She was also male-bodied, which none of the Washingtonian elite suspected. (Roscoe, The Zuni Man-Woman)
<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/82366fe47963085a424bfff9e58b0cb7/tumblr_p6lvhq9amB1wo08ywo1_400.gif" width="50%">
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<h1>OTHER PHOTOS OF TWO-SPIRIT PEOPLE</h1>
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Muksamse'lapli, or White Cindy (Klamath), a two-spirit medicine person and basketmaker in the early 1900s.
<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/21ae4273b57cc702bb442b66fe527a9b/tumblr_p6lw5mLxqx1wo08ywo1_1280.jpg" width="100%">
Cheyenne hetaneman, or female two-spirit, in a ledger drawing ca. 1889.
<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/d73db545490a0b2bb35860663a8ad307/tumblr_p6lwawO4IY1wo08ywo1_500.jpg" width="100%">
Cheyenne he’emane’o (on right), in a ledger drawing depicting
the victory dance held after Custer's defeat in 1876.
<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/312716cd9c1489e2931ab78da462a8af/tumblr_p6lwgbdeQv1wo08ywo1_250.jpg" width="100%">
"As a nádleehí, or "changing one," Hastíín Klah was an expert healer (a male role) and a weaver (a female art). In the 1920s, he combined these skills to produce large tapestries with religious designs, transforming Navajo weaving from a craft to a fine art. He is remembered today as a co-founder of the Wheelwright Musuem of the American Indian in Santa Fe." (Roscoe, Two Spirits: Third and Fourth Genders in Native America)
<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/38ff589c5677c4294f8c6dc77f7e776f/tumblr_p6lwqfdxv81wo08ywo1_500.gif" width="100%">
Kuilix (Kalispel) in a painting by Father Nicholas Point
In the 1840s, Jesuit missionaries in Montana observed a Pend d'Oreille (Kalispel) woman known as Kuilix, the Red One, because of the red military jacket she wore. On one occasion, "The famous Kuilix . . . accompanied by a few braves and armed with an axe, gave chase to a whole squadron of Crows. When they got back to camp, she said to her companions, 'I thought that those big talkers were men, but I was wrong. Truly, they are not worth pursuing.'" (Roscoe, Two Spirits: Third and Fourth Genders in Native America)
<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/62512c3ca4204d04135e4e0afa78f1ae/tumblr_p6lwt79Shg1wo08ywo1_400.jpg" width="100%">
Lozen and Dahteste (Apache) (top row) among the captive Chiricahuas in 1886. Geronimo appears in front center.
As a result of visions she received as a young woman, Lozen acquired the power to locate the enemy and to heal wounds. Fighting with Geronimo, she also served as a mediator, together with her friend Dahteste, in negotiations with the American military. Lozen and Dahteste lived together during the tribe's captivity until Lozen's death from tuberculosis in 1889.
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Hastiin Klah, Navajo
<img src="https://78.media.tumblr.com/d1f7de6e857fc98fb11bc976349fc66d/tumblr_p6lvhq9amB1wo08ywo5_400.jpg" width="100%">
Charlie the Weaver (on right) and friend, Navajo
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Quechan khwerhame, female two spirit
[[RETURN->Same-Sex Attraction Throughout History]]
One of the most famous examples of same-sex attraction is the practice known as wakashudo, a Japanese form of same-sex love.
This was a primarily pedarastic practice, in which an older man would, with a boy or adolescent's permission, teach him martial arts and take him as a lover, to what the Japanese writings of the time believed to be a "mutually-ennobling effect." ([[Pflugfelder->Sources]])
It is important to remember that while we have ample evidence of Japanese girls being married at extremely young ages, wakashudo relied heavily on consent, and the boy being old enough (the wakashu age) to make a conscious choice.
There are many famous examples of nanshoku (男色, which can also be read as danshoku), the Japanese word for homosexuality, reading of the same characters in Chinese, which literally mean "male colors." Possibly the most celebrated is that between Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長 June 23, 1534 – June 21, 1582) and Mori Ranmaru (森 蘭丸, 1565 – June 21, 1582).
Mori Ranmaru was Oda Nobunaga's page, and widely understood to be his lover in traditional Wakashudo forms. He died defending Oda Nobunaga in the Honnō-ji Incident. His story has loomed large in Japanese literature and art, with many famous ukiyo-e and kabuki plays written about his life.
Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1850
Erotic nanshoku art was extremely common in Japan pre-Meiji era (the Meiji Era was when the Japanese opened the country and westernized it, post a civil war known as the Bakumatsu).
Kitagawa Utamaro, "Client Lubricating a Prostitute," while another peers through, end of the eighteenth century print, F. M. Bertholet Collection
Japan wasn't the only part of East Asia to celebrate homosexuality, however.
In China, same-sex love between men was particularly common. It was known as "Passion of the cut sleeve." This name had a rather romantic origin.
Emperor Ai of Han (漢哀帝, 27 BC – 15 August 1 BC) fell in love with his advisor, Dong Xian (董賢). His passion for Dong Xian is well-documented historically. One famous morning, Emperor Ai awoke to find his lover asleep on his sleeve. Rather than disturb Dong Xian's slumber, Emperor Ai cut off his sleeve, and appeared in public in this state.
This story led to the common Chinese word for homosexual lovers as "the passion of the cut sleeve" (斷袖之癖).
A painting (博古葉子) created by Chen, Hong Shou (陳洪綬) in 1651 A.D.
There have been many attempts, with the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism, to erase the past of same-sex love in West Asia. The truth is one of the first five countries to legalize homosexuality were the Turkish Ottoman Empire, in 1858.
Same-sex love features strongly in Islamic art and literature.
It happens all the time in heaven,
And some day
It will begin to happen
Again on earth -
That men and women who are married,
And men and men who are
And women and women
Who give each other
Often get down on their knees
And while so tenderly
Holding their lovers hand,
With tears in their eyes
Will sincerely speak, saying,
How can I be more loving to you;
How can I be more kind?
This is a poem by Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī (خواجه شمسالدین محمد حافظ شیرازی), known by his pen name Hafez (حافظ Ḥāfeẓ 'the memorizer; the (safe) keeper'; 1315-1390).
It was written in Iran/Persia some time between 1320 - 1389
19th century painting.
An illustration from the 19th Century book Sawaqub al-Manaquib depicting homosexual anal sex with a wine boy. Titled at source as "Spilling the wine".
[[RETURN->Same-Sex Attraction Throughout History]]
In ancient times, such as ancient Egypt, there are many examples of same-sex love, most notably two men who were buried together, and are shown in their tomb the same way a husband and wife are typically shown.
Their names were Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum. They were the "overseers of the manicurists" at the palace of King Niuserre during the fifth dynasty of Egyptian pharaoh. They changed their names at some point. When translated Niankhkhnum means “joined to life” and Khnumhotep means "joined to the blessed state of the dead”. Their names when put together mean “joined in life and joined in death”.
"Woman-Woman Marriage—in which one woman pays brideprice to acquire a husband's rights to another woman—has been documented in more than thirty African populations, including at least nine Bantu-speaking groups in present-day southern Africa and Botswana—Sotho, Koni, Tawana, Hurutshe, Pedi, Venda, Lovedu, Phalaborwa, Narene, and Zulu. In these groups, female political leaders are also common. These women chiefs rarely have male husbands (whether or not they had wives). Indeed, among the Lovedu, the queen was prohibited from having a male husband and was required instead to have a wife."
The historical, socially-recognized category of "male transvestites" (referred to as mashoga in Mombasa, makhanith or mahanisi in Zanzibar) has long been a part of East African life.
In 1860, an American consular officer in Zanzibar noted that "numbers of sodomites have come from Muscat, and these degraded wretches openly walk about dressed in female attire, with veils on their faces."
[[Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies in African Homosexualities->Sources]]
[[RETURN->Same-Sex Attraction Throughout History]]
Letter written in 1846 by a convict sentenced to hang for mutiny, to his same-sex lover:
"I hope you wont forget me when I am far away and all my bones is moldered away I have not closed an eye since I lost sight of you your precious sight was always a welcome and loving charming spectacle. Dear Jack I value Death nothing but it is in leaving you my dear behind and no one to look after you….The only thing that grieves me love is when I think of the pleasant nights we have had together. I hope you wont fall in love with no other man when I am dead and I remain your True and loving affectionate Lover."
Women discovered in same-sex relationships in gaols like the Hobart and Ross Female Factories were labelled 'pseudo-males' and assigned as servants to farmers in distant corners ends of the island. Some misbehaved so they would be returned to gaol and their companions. Separation was also used to punish men. When James Boyd, the Superintendent of the Maria Island penal station, wrote that he had walked in on eight men who had pushed their beds together and lay sleeping in each other's embrace, his words echoed all the way to London. Not long afterwards Port Arthur's prison dormitories were re-designed to keep inmates under constant surveillance, and the hated separate and silent prison was built as the final solution to convict homosexuality.
[[Companion to Tasmanian History->Sources]]
The last man executed for sodomy in Australia was an indigenous black South African soldier. He was one of the Khoi soldiers brought into Australia to fight.
[[RETURN->Same-Sex Attraction Throughout History]]
<h1>Same-Sex Attraction in History</h1>
Many know about the same-sex love of Greece and Rome. Fewer know of later histories. Same-sex love was common throughout Europe, though the Christian era caused it to become stigmitized and criminalized.
Zephyrus and Hyacinthus, the latter was a patron hero of pederasty in Greece. Attic red-figure cup from Tarquinia, c. 490 BC
Athenian amphora, 5th century BC
The first Roman emperor to have married a man was Nero, who is reported to have married two other men on different occasions. First with one of his freedman, Pythagoras, to whom Nero took the role of the bride, and later as a groom Nero married a young boy to replace his young teenage concubine whom he had killed  named Sporus in a very public ceremony... with all the solemnities of matrimony, and lived with him as his spouse. A friend gave the "bride" away "as required by law." The marriage was celebrated separately in both Greece and Rome in extravagant public ceremonies.
A same-sex marriage between the two men Pedro Díaz and Muño Vandilaz in the Galician municipality of Rairiz de Veiga in Spain occurred on 16 April 1061 AD. They were married by a priest at a small chapel. The historic documents about the church wedding were found at Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova.
The first gay magazine was the German publication Der Eigene. Here's its opening of a gay short story.
Der Eigene, vol. 2 (1898)
One of the most powerful figures of this time period—the late 1800's—was Magnus Hirschfeld, a prominent sexologist and gay man who campaigned for the repeal of Paragraph 175, the German law that criminalized sex between men. He founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee) in 1897, which had a wide base of operation by the time the Nazis raided its headquarters and burned its library.
Gay rights had such prominent supporters as Sigmund Freud (who wrote in one letter to an unnamed mother worried over her son’s homosexuality: “it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness” … “It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime, and cruelty too”). Observers discussed the curious melding of gay influences and the nightclub action with aplomb, such as this reminiscence by Charlotte Wolff.
"Homo bars and nightclubs had sprung up not only in the trendy districts of west Berlin, but also in the poor neighborhoods. One might see a line of Mercedes in front of the homo bars as well as in front of the upper crust lesbian nightclubs. Men and women, who may have been hetero, would greedily watch the comings and goings of the “underground society,” which now goes by the horrible term “subculture.” Some of those who came as onlookers would join in the fun and danced with partners of the same sex."
These and other reminiscences, diaries, letters and photographs speak of the “open and even vibrantly sexual life as a homosexual,” which categorized Berlin at this time. One of the trendiest and most famous of these clubs was the Eldorado, on Lutherstrasse. Created by businessman Ludwig Konjetschni, it was world-famous, particularly for its transvestite shows. Other clubs, such as The Mikado, put on similar spectacles, but never reached the height of popularity that the Eldorado did. Berlin, the “big blond bitch of a city” as one enthusiastic Frenchman, René Crevel, described it in a letter to his friend in late 1928, was a bastion for queer European men and women the world over.
The first video to record a same-sex relationship was Le Ménage moderne du Madame Butterfly (1920).
[[RETURN->Same-Sex Attraction Throughout History]]