Gay History of the World




A Gay History of the World
Written and compiled by Anitra Budd & Angela WaldochPermission to republish
(Originally published on the WWW at

Nearly every month, historians unveil new discoveries about the world's queer past. In fact, history is replete with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who have contributed significantly to world history even though the world's cultures have rarely condoned homosexuality. But going back as far as the dawn of human cultures complex enough to be called "civilizations," you can find references to GLBT people.

Let the Reader Beware

Any piece claiming to be a history of the world naturally invites skepticism and this piece is no different. Creating an accurate account of the world's queer history, one that weaves people and events into a cohesive narrative, can seem insurmountable. For some segments of history, early accounts are scarce and the sources vary widely in type. For other times, world regions and cultures, research into homosexuality has only recently begun.

Homophobia across time has played a significant role in documenting our history. In many parts of the world, homosexuality was a taboo subject, punishable by death. It wasn't until the identity politics of the late 20th century that gays and lesbians had a positive incentive to recognize each other, to unify as groups or to document any gatherings. In reality, they had more reasons for hiding their sexuality at all costs. To counter the misrepresentations of gay people as evil, immoral or perverted throughout history, we must share our stories.

Currently, the history of the world's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people reads like a compilation of vignettes, rather than a novel. Incidents occur and famous gays and lesbians come and go worldwide, but seldom are clear connections made, even when diverse cultures exist concurrently. In addition, many documented accounts of homosexuality bear the stamp of Western bias, especially as we get closer to modern history. This gives queer history a lopsided feel that should be rectified as time passes and as more scholars research cultures of other regions.

Remember these caveats as you travel back in time during this admittedly brief queer history. And enjoy it for what it is a collage of myriad fascinating stories rather than as an unrealistically straight line running from a definitive beginning to the present day.

Those Lavender Ancient Times

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