Sunday, October 30, 2011

History and Myths About Homosexuality

The crusade against homosexuality began in approximately 342 AD, when Christians attempted to ban homosexual behaviors and marriage, which prior to this was openly accepted in many parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. The origin of homosexuality as an "unnatural act" became widespread in big part due to the writings of Thomas Aquinas, an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic church in the 1100s. The first continental ban on homosexuality came in 1533, when King Henry VIII passes the infamous Buggery Act that banned any sex not resulting in procreation(including anal/oral sex and masturbation). This spread throughout Europe and inevitably found a home in the original American colonies, where penalties were enacted for the crime of sodomy. Just to be clear, the term sodomy was used to describe sexual acts and behaviors that weren't procreative(between two sexes), occured outside of marriage(fornication and infidelity) or were seen as violating formal traditions(such as sexual positions where the man was not in the dominant position, i.e. "riding"). These were described as "wickedness not to be named" and were punishable by death.

When the field of medicine and psychology got involved, it turned from sin to mental illness. The assertion by individuals such as Richard von Krafft-Ebing(who described it as a 'degenerative sickness' in his work, "Psychopathia Sexualis") was that it was better to view homosexual individuals as sick, as to remove them from judgement and to release the blame comparable to a sinner or criminal. In 1901, Havelock Ellis made the claim that homosexuality was, "inborn and therefore not immoral...not a disease, and...many homosexuals made outstanding contributions to society". Sigmund Freud also had a theory of human sexuality, in which he stated that he believed all human beings are innately bisexual and that their hetero/homosexual status was formed based on external experiences with parents and others. Yet both these men agreed that being gay was not a form of pathology.

History has also shown proof of same sex relationships dating back to Ancient Egypt circa 2400-2500 BC, when the tomb of two gay males were discovered bodies, positioned together and hand in hand. Emperors of the Han Dynasty of China were known to keep several male sexual partners. Even Julius Caesar was rumored to have had a gay love affair with Bythanian King Nicomedes IV in 80 BC. In many affluent cultures, and in the most affluent positions, homosexuality was openly accepted.

Homosexuality is a topic that has been argued from many standpoints for a millenium and still the world is unwilling to accept the gay population. Time, natury and history has shown that this is not a fad and in some scientific evaluation may be about genetics or other natural variables.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    You should take into account the difference between sexuality and sexual identify.

    In my view, and looking at today's trends, sexual identity is disappearing. People don't want to have an identity based on their sexuality.

    Sexual relations in ancient Greece meant true appretiation for someone, or a ritual for mentoring someone.

    The sexual identities were invented during 20th century in conservative countries where homosexual relations were outlawed.

    Saying that in ancient greeks philosopher Socrates was gay in closet just makes no sense at all (Socrates was married to a woman but had countless male lovers). You can't apply 20th century traditions to 4 bc.

    Think about it