Gay people over the history
Looking back through history, you'd think that gay people just popped out of nowhere in the last fifty years. But by taking a closer look at certain people in history, you'll find that homosexuals have been around since recorded history began. Even knowing that there had to be a pretty decent list of famous gay people throughout the past, I was a bit surprised when I i discovered just how many well known names in history were not heterosexual.
Putting together a complete list of all of those in history who were gay or suspected to be gay would take forever and create an incredibly long list. So here is a small sampling of some of the most surprising or notable historical homosexuals.
It is somewhat well known that Oscar Wilde is gay, probably because he became famous in the last century, which is a time marked with far more openness about these things. He is well known as a famous Irish playwright but is also famous for his sole novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray." What is less well known about Wilde is that he was tried and eventually jailed for "gross indecency," a general term that allowed men to be persecuted and jailed merely for being gay. He died destitute at the young age of forty-six.
Francis Bacon, the genius of law and science, is sometimes called the father of empiricism, but you'll note that he is very infrequently referred to as a homosexual. However, this founding father of the scientific method was a known lover of other men, and there is documentation from other philosophers of the time to that end. In addition to developing the scientific principles that we follow to this day, Bacon was a philosopher and legal scholar who changed the course of history as we know it.
Hans Christian Andersen
The sexual preferences of the fairy tale author Hans Christian Anderson have quite a few people, especially the Danish, in an uproar. However, the trove of love letters that have been discovered lend credence to the fact that the author of "The Little Mermaid" and "Thumbelina" was at least bisexual. He corresponded frequently with many men that he met and travelled with, but according to Vivi Jelstrup, head of a Danish LBGT association, "The word 'homosexuality’ did not exist back then ... he just had no chance to live it out." Looking at the sad stories of longing and desire that he wrote, it would certainly seem that he was echoing his feelings about life in his writing.
Many people are already aware of Virginia Woolf's sexual preferences, but what makes her stand out is that while there are many, many known male homosexuals throughout history, there are very few known lesbians. The reasons probably have to do with the fact that up until the last hundred years or so, women were considered property and were married off with no real choice upon what path their lives took. Woolf is one of very few homosexual women that we know about, and even more amazing she was rather open about it during the time. Her novel "Orlando: A Biography" is known to be in part based on the life of Woolf's lover Vita Sackville-West.
These few individuals are a tiny sampling of those who are famous and known to be homosexual, but these are people that have fame that carries across generations, and in some cases have changed our world to this day, despite lifetimes that span back hundreds of years. It is clear from this short list that homosexuality bars none from greatness.
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