Famous Homosexual People

Note (for polemic-oriented readers): i have friends who are gay, some of the smartest people are gay. This article has nothing to do with tolerating or not tolerating homosexuals. If a powerful lobby of the Italian soccer team claimed (over and over again) that Socrates was an Italian soccer player, i would write a similar page to warn the public against such a distortion of the record. Socrates was a proud Greek and would have resented being called an Italian, and he was a philosopher not a soccer player.
I have nothing against people's sexual orientation but i am annoyed by those who distort the record. While countries like the USA are discussing whether to legalize marriage, i see an increasing number of websites promoting the theory that homosexuality was common in ancient Greece and Rome, that it was widely tolerated and that many famous people of the past were homosexuals.

I found lists that include the following in the "gay" cathegory: Alexander the Great, Socrates, Julius Caesar and countless Roman emperors, Saladin and Suleyman, countless great writers, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, countless kings and emperors of Europe. Sometimes i roll my eyes and wonder if these gay propagandists can name anyone who was *not* gay?

I let people be what they want, but i do get upset when people try and rewrite history based on what they want to prove, not on what the record shows, and in the process they may insult people who died centuries ago and who may have resented being included in such lists simply because it is not true.

It is free and even fun to attribute all sorts of imaginary or at best speculative habits to people who cannot defend themselves in a court of law. Why write that Leonardo was gay, when there is no proof of it? Why not just write "my personal opinion is that Leonardo may have been gay?" Why write a long list of "Famous Gay People" instead of a very long list of "People Whom at Some Point Someone Suspected of Being Gay but There is Not Evidence They Were"? Because, unfortunately, you don't go to jail for doing that. In fact, you even get millions of readers (you probably got to this page because you were looking for famous gay people).

Of the vast majority of the people usually listed as "gays" we know too little to know for sure what their sexual habits were. The very fact that they did *not* publicize a homosexual relationship (if they ever had one) should the fact to keep in mind.

I also resent that the truth is often told in biased and misguided way: give the whole context. There are cases in which a homosexual relationship is well documented, but important details should not be omitted. For example, it is true that many Roman and Greek men had sexual relationships with other men, but why stop there and not be more precise: they were usually boys, not grown ups. Middle-aged men would take a teenage boy as a "companion" and in some cases this escalated to a (documented or suspected) sexual relationship. There were extremely rare cases of a man living with a man. Almost all the cases from ancient history that one can name are of middle-aged men having sex (of being suspected of having sex) with very young boys. Why omit this detail? By today's standards, they were pedophiles, not role models.

It is true that in Sparta young boys were encouraged to have sex with other boys. But why stop there? Why not tell the whole story, starting with the fact that Sparta was a horrible place that very few of us would want to live in, and why not explain the reason of that homosexual relationship: Sparta was so obsessed with creating the perfect soldier that they thought creating homosexual relationships increased the chances that one soldier would be willing to die for another. Basically, they were using sex to create weapons of mass destruction. If you think that it would be a good idea to program your child so that s/he will be willing to die for someone else in the interest of a brutal dictatorship, that's a model to look at.

When trying to show that homosexuality was "natural" in the ancient world, one should also mention the countless "moralists" in the Roman senate and in the Greek cities who condemned these habits as a threat to society. Countless Roman orators predicted the decline and fall of the Roman empire based on the "decadence" of the elite. And by "decadence" they did not mean a compliment. Also mention the many documented cases of people sentenced for homosexuality, a sign that those societies were not pro-gay at all.

Incidentally, none of those societies (not even Sparta) ever recognized "gay marriage".

It is also contradictory that only homosexuality is brought up. Incest was commonly practiced in all ancient societies, and even in quite developed ones like Egypt. Polygamy (or, better, the extended family) is indeed "natural" for primates, and was practiced in all societies until the West decided it was bad and the Christian colonial powers slowly eradicated it from the rest of the world (well, almost, because it is still practiced in many places). Sex with underage girls was practiced everywhere until very recently, and it is biologically "natural". In fact, many of the most famous women until relatively recent times got married at very young ages (Helen of Troy was probably 12, Juliet of Romeo's fame was 14). And countless very important men of the past married wives who were much younger than them. Many other sexual practices that are banned today, from sex with a minor to polygamy to incest, used to be more widespread and more widely accepted all over the world than homosexuality: if gay marriage should be legalized, then why not polygamy, incest and sex with underage girls? The historical record per se is not a valid argument.

Personally, i think that banning polygamy is a ridiculous idea (i have not found a single study that shows any problem with an extended family raising children, whereas i found plenty of studies showing problems with single parents raising children), and i fail to see why a 17-year old can have sex with a 14-year old but a 19-year old goes to jail for the same act.

When gay advocates blow homosexuality out of proportion, i do feel that a comic degree of inconsistency is introduced in modern society.

The truth is much more tragic: homosexuals have been discriminated, persecuted and executed throughout history in pretty much every society. Claiming otherwise seems to me an insult to the very homosexuals who paid a huge price for their sexual orientation.