People with a History: An Online Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans* History
Site Maintainer: Paul
Section VII: Special Themes
Go to the following pages for other parts of People with a History
Special Themes 1: Same Sex Marriage
- Two Versions of Rite of Adelphopoiia [At Medieval Sourcebook]
- The Life of St. Theodore of Sykeon (7th Cent.), Chapters 134-135.
An adelphopoiia relationship is established between St. Theodore and Patriarch Thomas of Constantinople.
- Chin Bratotvoreniyu [At QRD]
Old Church Slavonic text of the Rite of Brotherhood, abbreviated,
with standard liturgical prayers (most of Litany, Antiphons, etc.)
omitted. Cf. Jacobus Goar, Euchologion (1st ed., Paris 1647; 2nd
ed., Venice 1730), pp. 706-709, s.v. "Akolouthia eis Adelphopoiian
Pneumatiken." From: Velikii Potrebnik, printed by Edinovertsii
in Moscow (Now called Belokrinitsky Hierarchy of Old Rite), in
the year 1904. Transcribed by Nikita Syrnikov. Translated by Fr.
Basil Isaacks April 1, 1995.
- Church of Greece on Adelphopoiia [At QRD]
Montaigne: A Homosexual Marriage in Rome,
[At Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Catholic Handbook].
Account of a homosexual marriage in 16th-century Rome by Montaigne.
Metropolitan Community Church: Holy Union Liturgy [At Internet Archive, from UFMCC]
Back to Contents
Special Themes 2: Bisexuality
In a sense, much of the history claimed by "lesbians and
gays" is a history of people who were functionally bisexual.
In particular many of the famous names on lists of "famous
homosexuals" were sexually active with both men and women.
However, it also seems to be true that a clearly, or even hazily,
formulated "bisexual" social identity is even more recent
than "homosexual" and "heterosexual" identities.
I will correct this statement if it is shown to be wrong, but
specifically "bisexual" organizations seem only to have
existed since the 1970s.
This relatively new formulation does not mean that there is no
"history" of bisexuality. There have been voices in
the past which have proclaimed a need for sexual freedom - whether
these be the "libertines" of the 16th century, the English
"rakes" of the 17th century, or the sexual radicals
of the 1960s. It has proved quite possible to be explicitly homo(mono)sexual
and fundamentally conservative in sexual expectations. I would
take as the most significant aspect of the history of bisexuality
not those people who were bisexually active, but those who sought
to explore the complexities of human sexual choices.
A new dedicated Bisexual site, with a guide to academic resources.
- Bisexual Resource Center
A Splendid collection of resources, including historical accounts,
advice, and current issues.
- Marquis De Sade [At Books and Writers]
Reading De Sade is not pleasant. He is genuinely obscene. Nevertheless,
in the annals of the search for freedom he has a place. In nothing
else, he shows that there are limits.
Back to Contents
Special Themes 3: Trans* History
"Trans*" is a complex category to analyze and document
historically. In some respects, however, it is easier conceptually
than "gay": although homosexual activity is documentable
in many societies, it is much harder to document social and psychological
ideas about "identity" and "orientation".
On the other hand, the existence of neither male nor female gendered
people ("transgressive" .or not) is very widely documented
throughout many societies and cultures. This includes cross-dressers,
women who lived as men, eunuchs, "third sex" people,
"two-spirited" people, modern transvestites, modern
surgical transsexuals, and so forth.
Some modern gays and lesbians seek to distance themselves from
this trans* history: some gay men in particular have sought to
portray their homosexuality as fully "masculine". In
fact, modern homosexuals do transgress one of the basic markers
of gender identity in modern society, the marker than says masculinity
is marked out by having sex with women.
[see also under "Native American Societies" for "berdache"
Back to Contents
Special Themes 4: Anti-Gay: Gay Criticism of Gay Culture
There has been a persistant willingness by gay writers to criticise aspects of gay culture, and of lesbian writers to criticise lesbian culture.
Some of the criticism is probably justified, but elements of sheer intellectual and class-based snobbery towards the lumpen-schwulen play an important part.
In general these writers live in comparatively safe urban gay environments (London, New York, San Francisco. West Hollywood), have come to terms with their homosexuality long ago, and feel free to offer critiques. Their targets usually (repeatedly in fact), include gay activists, gay commercial culture, gay entertainment, Pride events and so forth. Despite protestations to the contrary, they tend to obliterate the very real struggles still going on for most gays and lesbians (violence, discrimination, religious intolerance), and ignore the benefits of a commercial culture. Above all they create tendentious constructions of gay culture in order to attack.
Review of Anti-Gay [At Internet Archive, from Planetsoma]
Review, and extensive excerpts of Mark Simpson, ed., Anti-Gay, (London: Freedom Editions, 1996), with excerpts.
Don Tyler: Review of Anti-Gay [At Internet Archive, from New Times]
Random Notes: "Gay"
as a Marketing Niche, 20 October 1996 [At Internet Archive, from Planetsoma]
Gabriel Rotello: Creating a New Gay Culture: Balancing Fidelity & Freedom, The Nation, 04/21/97 [At WAF.org]
Rotello opposes sexual liberation in favor of a better "ecology".
Summarizes the political parts of his book Sexual Ecology.
the notion of gay sensibility. Thomas sees this book as part of a backlash against the Signorile/Simpson/Rotello group.
- Sex Panic Leaflet, June 1997
A leaflet handed out in New York city about a public meeting on combating the the sex panic seen in the "anti-gay" writers.
Back to Contents
© 1997, Paul Halsall, email@example.com [a picture!]
Note: I read all mail, and keep much of it, but I will
not be able to reply to all notes.
Last updated April 13, 2007