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The relationships of socially prominent figures, such as King James I and the Duke of Buckingham, served to highlight the issue, including in anonymously authored street pamphlets: "The world is chang'd I know not how, For men Kiss Men, not Women now;... the First and Buckingham: He, true it is, his Wives Embraces fled, To slabber his lov'd Ganimede" Also in 1749, the earliest extended and serious defense of homosexuality in English, Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplified, written by Thomas Cannon, was published, but was suppressed almost immediately.It includes the passage, "Unnatural Desire is a Contradiction in Terms; downright Nonsense.
Beginning in 1894 with Homogenic Love, Socialist activist and poet Edward Carpenter wrote a string of pro-homosexual articles and pamphlets, and "came out" in 1916 in his book My Days and Dreams.Sappho's poetry centers on passion and love for various personages and both genders.The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love (sometimes requited, sometimes not) for various females, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate.In 1867 he became the first self-proclaimed homosexual person to speak out publicly in defense of homosexuality when he pleaded at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of anti-homosexual laws.Sexual Inversion by Havelock Ellis, published in 1896, challenged theories that homosexuality was abnormal, as well as stereotypes, and insisted on the ubiquity of homosexuality and its association with intellectual and artistic achievement.During the Renaissance, wealthy cities in northern Italy—Florence and Venice in particular—were renowned for their widespread practice of same-sex love, engaged in by a considerable part of the male population and constructed along the classical pattern of Greece and Rome.
But even as many of the male population were engaging in same-sex relationships, the authorities, under the aegis of the Officers of the Night court, were prosecuting, fining, and imprisoning a good portion of that population.
Many historical figures, including Socrates, Lord Byron, Edward II, and Hadrian, have had terms such as gay or bisexual applied to them; some scholars, such as Michel Foucault, have regarded this as risking the anachronistic introduction of a contemporary social construct of sexuality foreign to their times, A common thread of constructionist argument is that no one in antiquity or the Middle Ages experienced homosexuality as an exclusive, permanent, or defining mode of sexuality.
John Boswell has countered this argument by citing ancient Greek writings by Plato, Typically this individual is recognized early in life, and raised in the appropriate manner, learning from the Elders the customs, spiritual and social duties fulfilled by these special people in the community.
However, the instances of same-sex affection and sexual interactions described in the classical novel Dream of the Red Chamber seem as familiar to observers in the present, as do equivalent stories of romances between heterosexual people during the same period.
Homosexuality in Japan, variously known as shudo or nanshoku, has been documented for over one thousand years and had some connections to the Buddhist monastic life and the samurai tradition.
Sappho, born on the island of Lesbos, was included by later Greeks in the canonical list of nine lyric poets.