Tag Archives: May 15

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

Gay History – May 15: Alexander The Great, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, and 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.

In America it’s a different story

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.

Unfortunately, the 60 Minutes episode has been lost. Or perhaps actually it is fortunate.