‘Cao Cao Loved Him’: Same-Sex Love at the End of Han Dynasty China

By Laurie RayeEditor-in-Chief, GwyllionFellow, Royal Asiatic Society The end of the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) was a time of turmoil popularly known as the Three Kingdoms period, where rival warlords vied for hegemony as imperial power declined. War and famine led to an estimated seventy percent drop in total population by the beginning of[…]

Images of Same-Sex Love and Courtship in the Ancient Mediterranean

Sex, gender, and relationships were viewed very differently in the ancient world across cultures. Introduction This gallery explores the expression of same-sex love in the ancient Mediterranean through art. The Mediterranean was home to many cultures and societies, each with differing views on gender, sex, and relationships. Art was used to celebrate cultural ideals of love and[…]

Ten LGBTQ Facts from the Ancient World

History, both modern and ancient, tells the stories of many people whose sexuality is downplayed or ignored. Introduction Issues in the modern-day regarding gender identity and civil rights for members of the LGBTQ community are a relatively recent phenomenon as are the terms ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’. In ancient societies, there was no distinction made between same-sex[…]

The Lavender Scare: Civil Rights Violations of Federal Workers, 1940s-1960s

Thousands of gay employees were fired or forced to resign from the federal workforce. Introduction The Red Scare, the congressional witch-hunt against Communists during the early years of the Cold War, is a well-known chapter of American history. A second scare of the same era has been much slower to make its way into public[…]

“Crazy, Noisy, Freaked-Out Dance Music for Weirdos”

The queer legacy of 3909 Sunset Boulevard. “Crazy, noisy, freaked-out dance music for weirdos.” That’s how Carla Bozulich of the band Ethyl Meatplow once described their music. “And don’t forget very sexy.” “Sexy” is a PG euphemism for the early ‘90s crew of former L.A. art-punks whose notorious live performances mixed blistering drum machine alt-disco[…]

A Brief History of LGBTQ+ Social Movements

These movements began as responses to centuries of persecution by church, state, and medical authorities. Social movements, organizing around the acceptance and rights of persons who might today identify as LGBT or queer, began as responses to centuries of persecution by church, state and medical authorities. Where homosexual activity or deviance from established gender roles/dress[…]

The History of ‘Coming Out’, from Secret Gay Code to Popular Political Protest

Where the term comes from and how the meaning has changed. Introduction You probably know what it means to “come out” as gay. You may even have heard the expression used in relation to other kinds of identity, such as being undocumented. But do you know where the term comes from? Or that its meaning[…]

LGBTQ history in the United States since the 18th Century

LGBTQ history in the United States spans the contributions and struggles of individuals as well as the coalitions they’ve built. 18th and 19th Centuries With the establishment of the United States following the American Revolution, such crimes as “sodomy” were considered to be a capital offense in some states, while cross-dressing was considered a felony[…]

How the New York Media Covered the Stonewall Riots

The coverage of Stonewall is a reminder of what’s lost when alternative media outlets wither away. Introduction The Stonewall riots were a six-night series of protests that began in the early morning of June 28, 1969, and centered around the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Four days earlier, on June 24,[…]

The Lesbian South: Women in the Print Movement and the Queer Literary Canon

How lesbian authors have reinvented the imagined spaces of the U.S. South through print culture, activism, and intentional communities. Introduction The middle-aged man sitting in the row in front of me shoved his wife’s arm and pointed at two women. “See?!” he said, conspiratorially, derisively. I looked at my friend Cheryl and raised an eyebrow.[…]

‘Arena Three’: Britain’s First Lesbian Magazine

Looking at at how Britain’s first lesbian magazine came about and its impact on society. Introduction In 1958 the Homosexual Law Reform Society (HLRS) was founded in the wake of the Wolfenden Report, published on 4 September 1957. The society launched with a series of high profile advertisements in national newspapers and became a beacon[…]

Exploring the History of ‘Coming Out’

In the 1950s, ‘coming out’ meant acknowledging sexual orientation. Today, the term is used by a broad array of social movements. Introduction You probably know what it means to “come out” as gay. You may even have heard the expression used in relation to other kinds of identity, such as being undocumented. But do you[…]

Dardanella and Peter: What Does Microhistory Offer to the History of Sexuality?

During the past two decades, historians of twentieth-century Britain have delineated the landscape of a “modern sexual and gender regime.” What does a microhistorical approach, based upon the subjective experiences and writings of individuals, offer the history of sex and love in early twentieth-century Britain? This was the central question guiding research following the discovery,[…]