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tjwmason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:38 AM
Original message
Outing dead gays
I've just been over on that great source of fair-minded comment (F.R.), and they're getting terribly excited about a new book which claims that Abraham Lincoln was gay (see for example http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1318369/posts ); they were also appalled the film suggesting that Alexander the Great was bi (I thought that everybody knew that). Now I couldn't care less whether Lincoln was straight, gay, bi or whatever, but I'm wondering what others think about the notion of outing historical figures on the basis of questionable evidence.

Some historical figures were clearly gay (e.g. Edward II and Piers Gaveston); but many others have been speculated upon without such clear evidence (such as Lincoln and Shakespeare). That it drives the FReepers wild does justify it to a large extent, but is there a more real purpose served by making such claims?
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Brian_Expat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
1. Sure there's a purpose
It illustrates that we are everywhere in the world and have always been here. We're not a "1960s thing" nor are we a 20th century creation (or the result of "western imperialism" as the African, Caribbean and Asian homophobes like to argue).
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tjwmason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I can understand that
and am fine with it in cases where things are obvious. But in many cases it seems to be more conjecture than anything else.

With the exception of the cases where obvious persecution took place, most chaps back then weren't inclined to write about having sex with other men (for obvious reasons). Thus isn't there a danger that we are perceived as trampling on their graves (in arguments where perception can be all)?

By all means illustrate the constancy of our reality and use those firgures who are clear; but the less certain cases are perhaps best left alone.
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Brian_Expat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Think of it this way. . .
. . . someone is normally presumed straight all the time. The test seems to be "prove they're not straight" -- as in Lincoln's case, there's some pretty strong evidence he was at least bisexual.

Demanding someone start at presumed heterosexuality is as ridiculous as demanding that someone prove another human wasn't gay. You never can say for sure. But it's safe to say that Lincoln loved men and had at least one special guy in his life, in a closer capacity than the average heterosexual man. And that, more than his dominant sexual orientation, is what matters.
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queerart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. You Said It Wonderfully!
>>>It illustrates that we are everywhere in the world and have always been here<<<

We have ALWAYS been here... and always will be!

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DIKB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
2. They also disregard
the existance of homosexual acts in animals, or the developmental difference of a "gay brain". ANYTHING that would validate homosexuality they find EXTREMELY Offensive.
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earthside Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
4. Not Very Interesting
For those of us who are enlightened, we already know that gay people are everywhere and have played their part in history. For the ignorant and stubborn, knowing who was or wasn't will never change their minds.

So, I think that the exercise in not very interesting in the end. Really, who cares? There have been gays that were saints and sinners, just like there have been hetrosexuals that have been saints and sinners.

The downside is getting into some little contest about morality where it is probably irrelevant. You'll never 'prove' that Lincoln was a homosexual, so what you get is just another example for the radical-religious-right to claim you are pushing the "gay agenda".

It's just not worth it.
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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. yes it is worth it
we need our heroes

and screw the fundies--my agenda is to make this world a more accepting place for us and for "our" kids

too often, gay kids don't have anyone that they can claim as their own except for maybe an actor or singer--those are the only examples of gay people that they see and usually they don't know enough to appreciate that the state assemblyman from California District 13 is gay or that an ex-baseball player is gay

why not hold out these examples of the Lincolns and the Shakespeares--they can identify with them on a level that super-secedes anything that we can give them today until we get a gay senator or an out sports figure in something other than figure skating





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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:46 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. well put!
It (discovering a hero or famous (good) person is gay) provides positive role models for both straight and gay people. It also shows the contributions we provided, despite all odds. I find it just as interesting that when someone like Hitler is said to be gay, they (freepers et al.) have NO issue with it! That is very telling indeed!
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Brian_Expat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 05:18 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. I don't think everyone who is ignorant is deliberately so. . .
. . . and statistics and ethnographies about GLBT people are very important to our heritage and legacy.
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