Gay Lives gives a voice to more than eighty people from all over the world and from all walks of life. It is a fascinating portrait of LGBTQ+ people throughout time, whose lives have influenced society at large, as well as today’s varied LGBTQ+ culture. It includes poets and philosophers, rulers and spies, activists and artists.
Alongside such celebrated figures as Michelangelo, Frederick the Great, and Harvey Milk are lesser-known but no less surprising individuals: Dong Xian and the Chinese emperor Ai, whose passion flourished in the first century BCE; the unfortunate Robert De Péronne, burned at the stake for sodomy; Katharine Philips, writing protolesbian poetry in seventeenth-century England; and Aimee and Jaguar, whose love defied the death camps of wartime Germany. Often colorful, sometimes tragic, but all in some way extraordinary, these life stories reflect, and have helped shape, contemporary attitudes toward same-sex intimacy. Gay Lives will entertain, give pause for thought, and celebrate the diversity of human history.
Robert Aldrich is professor emeritus of history at the University of Sydney. He is the author of The Seduction of the Mediterranean, The Age of Empires, and Colonialism and Homosexuality, and the editor of Gay Life and Culture: A World History.