The World History of Male Love, gleaning the work of scholars in gay studies, aims to undo that censorship by publicizing gay love’s role in man’s spirit and culture: its successes, its failures, and the controversies it has given rise to over the millennia.
In warfare soldiers often fought side-by-side with their grown beloveds, as in the renowned Theban band; later, led by Alexander the Great and his boyfriend Hephaestion, the Greeks conquered the known world.
Greece, of course, was no Utopia: prostitution, often attended by slavery, was common, and parallel to the ethical culture in which young beloveds were treated with consideration and moderation, there ran an undercurrent seen by the Greeks as debauched, in which young citizens were paid for sex and subjected to practices seen as degrading, such as oral and anal penetration.
It is past time every school child knew of these things.
One time, during a workshops at a gay youth conference, a young man piped up from the back of the room, exclaiming “No one told us Hercules was gay!
Mullahs and censors railed against male love, but men of all walks of life, from Caliphs to porters, delighted in it and all looked forward to being attended by fresh-faced tellaks (masseurs) in the hamam, and “unaging (youths) as beautiful as pearls” in paradise.