men in history

Using genealogy to find your trans-cestors

My grandpa does genealogy for fun and he just emailed me about my great grandmother’s great-great-granduncle who was born Sally Strout in Maine, 1791-1871. He identified as male rather than female and went to the lawmakers of Maine to ask them to recognize him as male, allow him a name change and to be allowed to marry a woman. This caused a lot of hoopla since that just wasn’t done at the time, but in the end Albion Peter Strout got his name change and gender recognition, and legally married a lady, Mary Dorsett, on August 31st 1835. He was well thought of by his peers and owned a tavern and sawmill in Buxton, Maine.

We have ALWAYS existed and the historical records are there to prove it. Genealogy is a great resource for learning about our trans ancestors (and LGBTQ+ too!) and it should be used to its fullest potential. Now I know I have a confirmed trans guy related to me who lived 200 years ago and not only had the respect of his town but even got the law on his side in a time when people like him weren’t taken seriously!! Dig around and see what you find about your own family history. Even if you hate your family that’s living, you may find some amazing and inspirational relatives who have passed on.

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WWII Gay G.I.s recounts tale of losing their Lovers

Excerpt from the book Coming out under fire The history of gay Men and Women in World War Two: Combat soldiers often responded to each other’s personal losses with the deepest respect and understanding, allowing gay GIs to express openly their grief over the death of boyfriends or lovers. 

Jim Warren’s boyfriend was hit while trying to knock out a machine-gun nest on Saipan. “They brought him back,” Warren recalled, “and he was at the point of death. He was bleeding. He had been hit about three or four times. I stood there and he looked up at me and I looked down at him and he said, ‘Well, Jim, we didn’t make it, did we.’ And tears were just rolling down my cheeks. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt such a lump and such a waste. And he kind of gave me a boyish crooked grin and just said, ‘Well, maybe next time.’ And I said, ‘I’m going to miss you. And I’ll see your mother.’ There were people standing around, maybe seven or eight people standing there, and I was there touching his hand and we were talking. Somebody said later, ‘You were pretty good friends,’ because I had been openly crying and most people don’t do this. I said, ‘Yes, we were quite good friends.’ And nobody ever said anything. I guess as long as I supposedly upheld my end of the bargain, everything was all right.”

Ben Small was even less able to control himself when his boyfriend was killed in the Philippines. But he, too, was surprised by the other men’s compassion towards him. “We had a funny freak attack of a Japanese kamikaze plane,” he recalled, “and I guess he was getting rid of his last load of these baby cutter bomb, these little bombs that explode at about three feet high so if they went off through a tent they exploded at bed level. I had just been in the tent of a guy I had been going with at the time. He crawled into bed, and I said goodnight and walked out the tent. And this plane came overhead and all we heard was explosions and we fell to the ground. When I got up too see if he was all right, the trust of the bomb had gone through his tent and he was not there. I went into a three-day period of hysterics. I was treated with such kindness by the guys that I worked with, who were all totally aware of why I had gone hysterical. It wasn’t because we were bombed. It was because my boyfriend had been killed. And one guy in the tent came up to me and said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were gay? You could have talked to me.’ I said, ‘Well, I was afraid to.’ This big straight, macho guy. There was a sort of compassion then.”

After a raid in the Philippines, Ben Small remembered, a lieutenant who had been injured was being shipped back to the States, so the men “all went to the plane to see him off that night. It was an amazingly touching moment, when he and his lover said goodbye, because they embraced and kissed in front of all these straight guys and everyone dealt with it so well. I think it was just this basic thing about separation of someone you cared for, regardless of sex.” Small described this tender parting as “a little distilled moment out of time” when men’s “prejudices were suspended” and gay soldiers “could be a part of what this meant.”

BLACK MIRROR TIMELINE:
— 

1. The National Anthem (S01E01)
2. The Waldo Moment (S02E03)
3. Shut Up and Dance (S03E03)
4. Fifteen Million Merits (S01E02)
5. White Bear (S02E02)
6. Playtest (S03E02)
7. Nosedive (S03E01)
8. Hated in the Nation (S03E06)
9. Men Against Fire (S03E05)
10. The Entire History of You (S01E03)
11. San Junipero (S03E04)
12. Be Right Back (S02E01)
13. White Christmas (S02E04)

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Queer history is hard to come by popularly. We don’t have the same traditions that pass on history, we don’t get our heritage from our families. I’ve heard people on tumblr and other venues speak on this before. 

Here is a generation of older people speaking on what it’s meant to be queer in the past. 

Queer life was so different. Community was different. We came from such a scary place. Times have changed. I cried for their past pain, our present privilege.  

Greatest Gay Lovers: Alexander the Great x Hephaestion

Alexander III of Macedon son of King Philip II, would grow up to be the worlds greatest military commander.

By the age of age of 18, he brought down the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Conquered most of the known world by the age of 33. While never losing a battle.

As a child Alexander had a passion for philosophy. He attended lectures at Mieza, tutor by Aristotle. While there he would meet Hephaestion. Who would later become the 2nd most powerful man in Alexander’s empire. As well as Alexander’s life long lover and confidant.

Their tutor Aristotle described the friendship as “one soul abiding in two bodies”.

Alexander would describe his relationship with Hephaestion, to that of Achilles and Patroclus. Who are said to be lovers by Plato and Aeschylus.

Robin Lane Fox, wrote: “Already the two were intimate, Patroclus and Achilles even to those around them; the comparison would remain to the end of their days and is proof of their life as lovers…”

In 324 BC, Hephaestion contracted typhoid. Hearing the news Alexander rushed to be at his side but by the time he arrived, Hephaestion passed away.

Plutarch says ”…Alexander’s grief was uncontrollable, he flung himself on the body of his friend and lay there nearly all day long in tears, and refused to be parted from him until he was dragged away by force by his companions.“

Arrian states ”…for two whole days after Hephaestion’s death Alexander tasted no food and paid no attention in any way to bodily needs, but lay on his bed now crying lamentably, now in the silence of grief.“

Alexander cut his hair short in mourning, this last a poignant reminder of Achilles’ last gift to Patroclus on his funeral pyre: Arrian states ”… he laid the lock of hair in the hands of his beloved companion, and the whole company was moved to tears.“

Long after Alexander own death one philosopher wrote, Alexander was only defeated once and that was by Hephaestion’s thighs.

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In Oberstdorf, an old village in Southern Bavaria, a unique ancient pagan tradition is still alive – the dance of the wild men (Wilde-Mändle-Tanz), which is held only in this small town, once in five years. 

Wilde-Mändle-Tanz is dedicated to the Germanic god Thor, and involves 13 men, all of whom belong to old local families who have been living in that region for centuries. The men’s costumes are made of moss, which grows only in the  Allgäu Alps. 

They dance to rhythmic drum music, building a pyramid, and at the end they drink mead from their wooden mugs, singing a ritual song.