|Posted by Michael on May 25, 2015 at 11:40 PM|
My boss belittled me once. He crumpled up the spreadsheet I’d been working on for days and threw it right back in my face. “I didn’t ask for a data dump,” he screamed. Or so it seemed. “I want you to get the information I don’t need out of the way so I can make a decision!”
I thought he was crazy at the time. You know, #OPP” (Old People Problems). But now that I’m a geezer myself, as should be evidenced by my improper use of a hashtag and obscure anagram (hashtags precede a searchable item so you generally want to spell it out as specifically as possible without using too many words), I know exactly what my old boss meant. We are bombarded with so much information every day that we can’t possibly process it all. For instance, I did a quick search on gay history several months ago which led me to the History of LGBT timeline on Wikipedia. Sure, it’s interesting reading, but emotionally exhausting. To be honest with you, it made me a little bit nuts. I actually went so far as to consider lobbying congress for a zero tolerance bill against all religions that demonize a minority. Then the voice of my old boss rang out inside my head, “What would gay history look like if you removed both religious fanaticism as well as your empathy for gay people?” Suddenly the answer I was searching for became crystal clear...
Ever since the dawn of civilization laws were designed to protect citizens not only from the exploitation of the rich, but also from religious tyranny. This is what makes Rome’s adoption of Christianity as their official state religion so suspicious. You see, the death penalty for sodomy law that resulted effectively gave the government the power to sentence to death anyone who was in line for an inheritance. Once all heirs to the family fortune were exterminated, the diseased person’s wealth and property would then legally default to the state. Centuries later, after the corruption which led to the fall of Rome had been long forgotten, modern countries sprang up and based their governments on Roman jurisprudence. This jurisprudence still included the death penalty for sodomy law but the only thing that could support it was Judeo-Christianity, which the Romans also organized. Boy, those old Romans sure were clever, weren’t they?
Okay, so I had my answer. By removing all the information I didn’t need, I was able to deduce that The Roman government is what screwed things up for gay people and not necessarily people of faith. This, of course, led to more questions such as what was it like for gay people before this?
If we go all the way back to the origins of law we see that there were no provisions made for homosexuality. It was either non-existent or never considered wrong. Since it has been proven that human beings are bisexual by nature, my most educated guess is that it was never considered wrong. Why would it be if polyandry (one woman with multiple husbands) wasn’t considered wrong? Interestingly enough, polygamy (one man with multiple wives) was actually endorsed by Christianity through the seventeenth century AD due to the tremendous loss of life during the holy wars. But back to origins of law; even Babylonia considered women to be free and dignified so why didn’t the Greco-Romans? What gave them the audacity to consider women property or second class citizens at best? And furthermore, why were they so big on bottom shaming?
Bottom shaming is when you consider the guy who likes the inside of arse tickled to be more of a woman. This does not mean that the Greco-Romans were any less bisexual. They most certainly were. They just wanted the rest of the world to believe that they were the tops. The anal retentive stiffs even went so far as to elect a law about it. This law was seldom enforced, though. There were no sex police lurking in the bushes back then. This was simply a tool that could be used in the political arena to destroy an opponent’s character. A prime example of this would be the case of Aeschines against Timarchus.
Aeschines was a citizen from Athens who was assigned a peace embassy to confront the expansive efforts of Phillip II of Macedon. Phillip won Aeschines over completely to his side and when Aeschines returned to Athens, he found himself accused of treason by Timarchus. The punishment for treason was death, but Aeschines successfully diverted attention away from this by accusing Timarchus of being a whore who prostituted himself to many men in the port city of Piraeus. In other words, Timarchus was a bottom who had to go out of town to get his kicks. Upon being found guilty, Timarchus was stripped of all status and influence. Aeschines got off scot-free because Timarchus, now reduced to the status as of a woman, should never have been allowed to speak before such a high council in the first place.
This is the probably the most extreme case of bottom shaming on record. Other instances are more laughable such as in the case of Appius against Calius. Both were aggressive politicians who accused each other of bottoming. Their accusations fell on deaf ears, though, as the presiding praetor, Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus, was a closeted bottom himself.
So, given the Greco-Roman propensity for bottom shaming, how was it possible for Phillip II’s son, Alexander the Great, to usher in the Hellenistic era where same-sex love between equals was looked upon so favorably? According to what I’ve read about the time, Alexander’s conquest of Asia created a sort of cultural diffusion. #Greco-Buddhism” It appears that Buddhism was to the Hellenistic era what The Kinsey Reports were to the sexual revolution of the nineteen-sixties. Emperor Nero married two men in public ceremony, Emperor Elagabalus married an athlete from Smyrna, and while the issue of bottom shaming may not have disappeared entirely from the landscape, it was well on its way to extinction. Then along came Christianity.
It is hard to write about this next part without offending people on both sides of the issue. What we have to remember is that true people of faith don’t castrate, dismember, or burn sodomites. Governments do. But governments can also be changed as evidenced on Saturday (5/23/2015) when 62.1% of voters legalized gay marriage in Ireland. This is HUGE!
Now let’s take a moment to reflect on how we got here. Below are my top ten people and events that brought us to the point where gay marriage will become legalized on a massive scale once again. Feel free to add yours to this list if you like.
Thank you, and Happy Pride 2015!
1.) Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) English advocate for the separation of church and state, women’s rights, and the decriminalization of homosexual acts.
2.) Revolutionary France (1791) The first Western European nation to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults.
3.) Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895) German lawyer, writer, and first publically gay man since the Hellenistic era. advocate for the decriminalization of homosexual acts in Germany.
4.) Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) Opened the first sexual research institute in Germany.
5.) Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) Austrian neurologist and father of psychoanalysis. Believed that all human beings are bisexual.
6.) Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956) American biologist and author of The Kinsey Reports which are often regarded as a precursor to the sexual revolution.
7.) Christine Jorgensen (1926-1989) The first widely publicized person to undergo sex reassignment surgery; male to female.
8.) Stonewall Riots (1969) The first time in modern history that gay people did not succumb to police brutality. Usually those arrested had their names printed in the paper thus causing their families to disown them, their employers to fire them, and their suicides to become inevitable.
9.) Harvey Milk (1930-1978 ) T he First openly gay politician elected to public office. Successfully helped to defeat California's Proposition Six
10.) Michael Anderson (1959-present) Northwest Airlines advocate for workplace diversity during a time when he could still be fired for being gay in Minnesota, near-fatal car accident survivor, and author of The Achilles Effect; Wounded by Religion. Healed by Faith