Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 

     

    AC Benus
  • Author
  • 1,608 Words
  • 87 Views
  • 2 Comments
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

The Great Mirror of Same-Sex Love - Prose - 64. Sarah Prager "A Proper Kickoff for Pride Month"

.

Every LGBTQ+ Person Should Read This

 

Chances are you don’t even know that you are holy, or royal or magic, but you are. You are part of an adoptive family going back through every generation of human existence.

 

Dearest Queer Person,

Chances are you don’t even know that you are holy, or royal or magic, but you are. You are part of an adoptive family going back through every generation of human existence.

Long before you were born, our people were inventing incredible things. Gifted minds, like the inventor of the computer Alan Turing, and aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, live on in you. The imprint that bold and brilliant individuals like Lynn Conway and Martine Rothblatt (both Transgender women alive today) made on modern technology is impossible deny as present-day engineers carry their torch in the creation of robots and microprocessors. More recently speaking, one of the co-founders of Facebook publicly acknowledged his identity as a Gay man, as did the current CEO of Apple.

We were so often gods and goddesses over the centuries, like Hermaphrodite (the child of Hermes and Aphrodite), and Athena and Zeus, both of whom had same-sex lovers. In Japan it was said that the male couple Shinu-no-Hafuri and Ama-no-Hafuri, “introduced” [Gay love] to the world. The ability to change one’s gender, or to claim an identity that encompasses two genders, is common amongst Hindu deities. The being said to have created the Dahomey (a kingdom in the area now known as Benin) was reportedly formed when a twin brother and sister (the sun and the moon) combined into one being [whom we] might now identify as “intersex.” Likewise, the aboriginal Australian rainbow serpent-gods Ungud and Angamunggi possess many characteristics that mirror present-day definitions of Transgender identity.

Our ability to transcend gender binaries, and cross gender boundaries, was seen as a special gift. We were honored with special cultural roles, often becoming shamans, healers and leaders in societies around the globe. The Native Americans of the Santa Barbara region called us “jewels.” Our records from the Europeans who wrote of their encounters with Two-Spirit people indicates that same-sex [love] or non-gender binary identities were part of the culture of eighty-eight different Native American tribes, including the Apache, Aztec, Cheyenne, Crow, Maya and Navajo. Without written records, we can’t know the rest, but we know we were a part of most if not all peoples in the Americas.

Your ancestors were royalty like Queen Christina of Sweden, who not only refused to marry a man (thereby giving up her claim to the throne), but adopted a male name and set out on horseback to explore Europe alone. Her tutor once said the queen was “not at all like a female.” Your heritage also includes the ruler Nzinga of the Ndongo and Matamna Kingdoms (now known as Angola), who was perceived to be biologically female, but dressed as male, kept a harem of young men dressed in traditionally female attire, and was addressed as “King.” Emperors like Elagalabus are part of your cultural lineage too. He held marriage ceremonies to both male-identified and female-identified spouses, and was known to proposition men while he was heavily made-up with cosmetics. Caliphs of Cordoba, including Hisham II, Abd-ar-Rahman III and Al-Hakam II, kept male harems (sometimes in addition to female harems; sometimes in place of them). Emperor Ai of Han Dynasty China was the one whose life gives us the phrase “the passions of the cut sleeve,” because when he was asleep with his beloved, Dong Xian, and awoke to leave, he cut off the sleeve of his robe rather than wake his [partner].

You are descended from individuals whose mark on the arts is impossible to ignore. These influential creators include composers like Tchaikovsky, painters like Leonardo da Vinci, and actors like Greta Garbo. Your forebear[er]s painted the Sistine Chapel, recorded the first blues song, and won countless Oscars. They were poets, and dancers and photographers. Queer people have contributed so much to the arts that there’s an entire guided tour dedicated just to these artists at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

You have the blood of great warriors, like the Amazons, those female-bodied people who took on roles of protection and had scarce time or interest between their brave acts to cater to the needs of men. And your heart beats as bravely as the men of the Sacred Band of Thebes, a group of 150 male couples, who, in the 4th century B.C.E., were known to be especially powerful fighters because each man fought as though he was fighting for the life of his [partner] (which he was)! But your heritage also includes peacemakers, like Bayard Rustin, the Gay non-violent architect of the Black Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.

We redefined words like bear, butch, otter, queen and femme, and created new terms like drag queen, twink and gender-queer. But just because [Victorian sexualized terms for us] have been created in the relatively recent past doesn’t mean [we] are anything new. Before we started using [straights’ labels], we were Winkte to the Ogala, A-go-kwe to the Chippewa, Ko’thlama to the Zuni, Machi to the Mapuchi, Tsecats to the Manghabei, Omasenge to the Ambo and Achnutschik to the Konyaga across the continents. While none of these terms identically mirror their more modern counterparts, all refer to some aspect of, or identity related to, same-gender love, same-sex [relations] or crossing genders.

You are normal. You are not a creation of the modern age [Duh!]. Your identity is not a “trend” or a “fad.” Almost every country has a recorded history of people whose identities and [loves] bear close resemblance to what we’d today call Bisexuality, Gay, Transgender identity, Intersexuality, Asexuality and more. Remember: the way Western culture today has constructed gender and [sexual expression] is [based on antiquated 19th psychoanalysis and] not the way it’s always been. Many cultures from Papua New Guinea to Peru accepted male love as a part of ritual or routine; some of these societies [like the Simbari people] believed that the transmission of semen from one man to another would make the recipient stronger. In the past, we often didn’t need certain words for same-sex attract[ion], those of non-binary gender [identification], and others [terms for those] who did not conform to cultural expectations of their biological sex, or perceived gender, because they were not as unusual as we might today assume.

Being so unique and powerful has sometimes made others afraid of us. They arrested, and tortured and murdered us. We are still executed by governments (and individuals) today in societies where we were once accepted […] as important and equal members of society. They now tell us “[H-word] is un-African,” and “there are no [H-word] in Iran.” You, and we, know that these defensive comments are not true – but they still hurt. So, when others [slurred] us [with] names like queer and dyke, we reclaimed them. When they said we were recruiting children, we said “I’m here to recruit you!” When they put pink and black triangles on our uniforms in the concentration camps, we made them Pride symbols.

Those who challenge our unapologetic presence in today’s cultures, who try to deprive us of our rights, who make us targets of violence, remain ignorant of the fact that they, not us, are the historical anomaly. For much of recorded history, […] individuals who transgressed their culture’s norms of gender and [sexual expression] were frowned upon at the very worst. Today, the people who continue to harass us attempt to justify their cruel campaigns by claiming that they are defending “traditional” values. But nothing could be further from the truth.

But now you know they are wrong. Just imagine the world without that first computer or the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, or a huge part of the music you’ve ever heard, from [the] Classical Appalachian Spring, to [the] classic YMCA. (I mean, we’ve held titles from the “Mother of Blues” to the “King of Latin Pop” [AND “The King of Rock and Roll”]!) How much less colorful would the world be without us? I’m grateful that you’re here to help carry on our traditions.

So, happy [Pride] Month! I hope to celebrate with you here at Quist. This list of LGBTQ History online resources is a good place to start in exploring more specifics about this heritage.

Lesbianamente,*
Sarah Prager, [i]

2015

 

*Actually [the] term [is the] way someone signed a letter for a Lesbian organization in Mexico decades ago!

 

This piece was inspired in part by facts and sentiments from Another Mother Tongue by Judy Grahn (published 1984). Ritualized H*m*s*x**l*ty in Melanesia, edited by Gilbert H. Herdt, (published 1993) is also referenced. Many of the referenced facts are cited [in] so many places, [they have] become common knowledge. Christianne Gadd contributed significantly to this piece. This post originally appeared in The Advocate.

 

[The updated Advocate posting from 2018 contains the following biographical blurb.]

SARAH PRAGER is the author of Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World (HarperCollins 2017), a collection of biographies of people from Queer History. The book was named to the Best of 2017 list by [the] New York Public Library, [the] Chicago Public Library, and others. Sarah is also the founder of Quist, a free mobile app that teaches Queer History. She lives in Massachusetts with her wife and their daughter. Sarah is available for speaking engagements on Queer History.

 

 

 

 

 

 


[i] “Every LGBTQ+ Person Should Read This” Sarah Prager, posted in the October 6th, 2015, edition of The Huffington Post

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/every-lgbtq-person-should_b_8232316

_

Copyright © 2021 AC Benus; All Rights Reserved.
  • Love 3
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
You are not currently following this story. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new chapters.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

Let me be the first to contradict the standard disclaimer at the bottom of this posting: “…not a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are true or are used not used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are based on factual evidence. 

And I’m enormously glad of that. I wish I had been able to read something like this in my sheltered youth.  Thank you.

  • Love 1
Link to comment
4 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

Let me be the first to contradict the standard disclaimer at the bottom of this posting: “…not a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are true or are used not used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are based on factual evidence. 

And I’m enormously glad of that. I wish I had been able to read something like this in my sheltered youth.  Thank you.

Thank you, Parker. I feel that Prager's little introduction to the field of LGBT+ Studies and History is very admirable. She's able to cover a lot of ground in a few words, and I'm sure inspire interested parties to begin searching further leads.

Happy Pride Month, my friend!  

  • Love 1
Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..