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Gay History – May 15: Alexander The Great, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, Canada Legalizes Gay Sex as Stonewall Begins to Simmer

 356 BC – Alexander the Great is born in Macedonia. One of the greatest conquering generals of all time.\

Alexander’s love of Hephaistion, is well accepted as factual history. Upon Hephaistion’s death in battle. Alexander was overwhelmed by his grief for Hephaestion, so much that Arrian records that Alexander “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.. As historian Andrew Chugg states, “it is surely incredible that Alexander’s reaction to Hephaestion’s death could indicate anything other than the closest relationship imaginable.”

Alexander’s most controversial relationship was with a handsome young Persian eunuch named Bagoas. At a festival of athletics and arts in a town called Salmus (after Alexander returned from India) Bagoas won a prize. After Bagoas picked up his prize, he walked across a theatre and seated himself beside the king. The Macedonians in the theatre applauded loudly and shouted for Alexander to kiss the winner. At last the king put his arms around Bagoas and kissed him.

Some historians have denied that the episode even took place, but there is no good reason to question its historicity.

 1897 – The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, (Wissenschaftlich-Humanitres Komitee) was founded by Dr Magnus Hirschfeld in Berlin, Germany to campaign for social recognition of homosexual, bisexual and transgender men and women, and against their legal persecution. The committee after 36 years was dissolved in 1933 when the Nazis destroyed the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft in Berlin where the WhK was based.

Fortunately Hirschfeld had left Germany for a speaking tour that took him around the world as his Institute burned; he never returned to Germany.

1969 – Canada decriminalizes private same-sex acts.

In 1969, Canada’s sodomy and gross indecency laws were amended following public outrage over the conviction and sentencing of Everett George Klippert for homosexuality. The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968–69 added an exemption to the Criminal Code that made such acts legal under certain circumstances. The individuals involved had to be consenting adults of at least 21 years of age, and the act could only be conducted in private. Sodomy and gross indecency remained illegal outside the house or if three or more individuals were involved or present.

Hip hip hor-gay! Aye?

1977 – CBS’ 60 Minutes broadcasts a segment on child pornography, concentrating on “adult homosexuals who prey on small boys.”  As a result teenagers from a conservative New York Catholic high school go on a gay bashing spree, beating one victim to death. They are later sentenced to 35 and 40 years in prison.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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