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The Incomplete World History of LGBT - 9,600BC/BCE - 18th Century AD/CE - a Timeline

The Community Throughout History

"There weren't people like that in my day!" Wrong, grandma.

As a reminder, I am not an expert in this subject nor do I claim to be. I have done my research to educate others and spread awareness! I am an ally, but this research does not reflect my own personal opinions or biases. This is strictly informational and is complete to the best of my current ability.

There is documented history of same-sex love and sexuality in ancient civilizations and listed below is a timeline.

Before Christ/Before Common Era World History of LGBT

9,600 BCE: Mesolithic rock art in Sicily depicts what some say is male homosexuality.

9,000 BCE: The Ain Sakhri lovers - oldest known representation of homosexuality.

8,000 BCE: Sans rock paintings in Zimbabwe depict homosexuality.

7,000 BCE: Neolithic and Bronze age drawings and figurines include a "third sex" human with both female breasts and male genitals.

2,900 BCE: A burial site of Prague, Czech Republic, contains a male buried in a traditionally female outfit.

2,400 BCE: Khnumhotep and Niankhknum are believed to be the first recorded same-sex couple.

2,200 BCE: Pepi II Neferkare, Pharaoh of Egypt, is believed to have had homosexual relations.

1,700 BCE: King Zimri-Lim of the Mari Kingdom is recorded to have had homosexual relations.

600 BCE

  • Marriages in Greece between men and young boys were common, but not legally recognized.

  • Sapho, a Greek lyric poet born in Lesbos, was well-known for her "lesbianism" themes in her poetry. This was also referred to as "sapphism".

500s BCE

  • The Book of Leviticus from the Torah and the Bible states "If a man lies with a male as a woman, both of them have committed an abomination" Leviticus 18:22 - some say that the original text was referring to young boys rather than men with men. Below are some articles discussing the topic.

400s BCE

300s BCE

  • Plato publishes Symposium in which Greek intellectuals argue that love between males is the highest form while love with women is lustful and utilitarian. Plato also publishes Laws in which an Athenian stranger and his companions criticize homosexuality as being lustful and wrong for society based on a lack of reproduction.

200s BCE

  • Men were penalized for committing sex crimes against "freeborn youth" under this same rule, men who consensually engaged in passive intercourse with the same sex were also prosecuted.

After Death/Common Era World History of LGBT from day 1 - year 1899

1st Century

3rd Century

  • Roman Emperor Septimius Severus prescribed capital punishment for homosexual rape.

  • Roman Emperor Elagabalus married five women and a man, wore makeup and wigs and preferred to be called a lady rather than a lord. He offered money to any physician who could give him a vagina.

  • Roman Emperor Severus Alexander outlawed male prostitution.

4th Century

6th Century

7th Century

9th Century

  • During the Carolingian Renaissance, Alcuin of York, an abbot, wrote love poems to other monks in spite of numerous Church laws condemning homosexuality.

11th Century

  • The Decretum of Burchard of Worms equated homosexual acts with sexual transgressions such as adultery and argued that it should be punished as such.

12th Century

  • Council of London publicized that homosexuality was "sinful".

13th Century

  • 1232: In the Italian City-States, some cities called for banishment and/or amputation as punishment for sodomy in the first and second offense and "burning" for the third.

  • 1260: In the Kingdom of France, first offenders of sodomy lost their testicles, second offenders lost their member, and third offenders were burned. Women caught in same-sex acts were officially held to the same punishment.

  • 1283: The Costumes de Beauvaisis said that sodomites should not only be burned, but their property should also be forfeited.

14th Century

  • 1321: Dante's Inferno placed sodomites in the Seventh Circle.

  • 1347: Rolandino Roncaglia was tried for sodomy after prostituting himself as a woman. He was married to a woman throughout his adult life until she died of the plague. He confessed that he never had sex with her or any other woman because he could not get erect and felt no attraction. After his wife's death, he dressed as a female and often was considered to have the appearance of a woman.

15th Century

  • 1436: Royal Noble Consort Sun was banished from the Joseon court after being discovered sleeping with her maid. The official record says that she received visitors without her husband's permission and instructed her maids to sing "men's songs".

  • 1475: In Peru, homosexuals were punished with public burnings and destruction of homes.

  • 1476: Desiderius Erasmus wrote a series of love letters to a fellow monk while at a monastery in the Netherlands.

16th Century

  • 1513: Vasco Nunez de Balboa (of current day Panama) was described as throwing forty homosexual Indians to his dogs (Alfonso G. Jiménez de Sandi Valle, Luis Alberto de la Garza Becerra and Napoleón Glockner Corte. LGBT Pride Parade in Mexico City. National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), 2009.)

  • 1532: The Holy Roman Empire made sodomy punishable by death.

  • 1533: King Henry VIII grouped anal-intercourse with zoophilia in the Buggery Act 1533.

  • 1558: Elizabeth I reinstated Buggery Act 1533.

17th Century

  • 1610: The Colony of Virginia made male sodomy punishable by death - this order ended later that same year.

  • 1624: Richard Cornish of the Virginia Colony was tried and hanged for sodomy.

  • 1648: Canada's first-ever criminal trial for the crime of homosexuality, a gay military drummer stationed in New France, was sentenced to death by the local Sulpician priests. The Jesuits intervened and his life was spared on the condition that he accepted the position of New France's first permanent executioner.

  • 1655: The Connecticut Colony passed a law against sodomy which included lesbian intercourse.

  • 1661: The Colony of Virginia enacted English Common law criminalizing male-to-male sodomy.. again.

  • 1688: The first (official) gay bar was opened in Japan.

18th Century

I know this was an exhaustive list, but I hope you learned something! At best, I would love for someone to have done their own research on the topic based on their reading of this blog. Any comments, corrections, or questions are welcome in a comment or through email!




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