Friday, August 31, 2007

Bits and Bats Part One

Several things here- first, that my internet is fixed, uh, again. Classes have started this semester (as well as other things I have foolishly volunteered for, like being Prism's office manager, or doing a certain book review- I'm rereading! hang in there!), and though my goal was to post something here every day or every couple of days, that's clearly not realistic.

I have a a couple of things for you today. The first is that I was emailed a couple weeks ago by a fellow wishing to know about homosexuality in early colonial Canada- not a subject I have researched (yet!) but an Amazon hunt turned up Homosexuality in Canada: A Bibliography, Gay Studies from the French Cultures, and The Regulation of Desire: Sexuality in Canada. Looking at France, which may also have been/be helpful in a similar search, there is Homosexuality in Early Modern France: A Documentary Collection and Homosexuality in French History and Culture.

He emailed me back with elaborations on his search (white child/Indian child trading for translating and culture purposes, Canadian berdaches), and I remembered the very first entry in Katz's Gay American History. It's a record of the story and execution of a French interpreter by the Spanish in Florida in 1566:

"Alonso Menendez [Marques], the Adelantado's nephew, and [ensign] Vasco Zabal had told him [the Adalanto] that the French interpreter who was there [at Guale] was a Lutheran and a great Sodomite; that when the Adelanto had departed thence for Santa Elena, he went to the Indians [telling them] that they should kill them [the Spaniards]; and that through Guillermo [a French Catholic working for the Spaniards] he could inform himself of what was happening in this [matter], so that he [Guillermo] could speak with 2 Indians with whom he [the interpreter] was living, one of whom they said was the caique's [chief's] eldest son.
Alonso Menendez said that he would much regret staying, but since his lordship ordered it, he would do so, on condition that the Frenchman should be killed, or the Adelantado would take him with him; for otherwise nothing would be accomplished, and the Indians would slay him [Menendez] and those who remained with himl that the son of the caique had more authority than his father, and loved that interpreter very much; that if they killed the interpreter [openly], the Indians would be angered and again break out in war.
Then Caique Guale dispatched that interpreter in a canoe, with 2 of his Indians, that they might go and return immediately. The son of the caique showed much sorrow because the interpreter was going, and prayed him, weeping, to return at once."

I've had this window open for a while now and can't remember what else I was going to talk about, but I did find a reference to Ganymede in an 18thC ditty sung by London "mollies" (this version recorded in 1728 by James Dalton):

Achilles that Hero great,
Patroclus for a mate;
Jove he would have a Lad,
beautiful Ganymede,
Beautiful Ganymede.


Oh yes! Glenn has put me in charge of GLBT History Month in October. >.> I guess I have to come up with movies or activities or something interesting to nonacademics. It just has to be better than last year, in which we played a bingo game suffering from severe Famous Dead White Guy Syndrome. I was going to hunt up Homosexuals in History on Amazon and show you guys the back cover as explanation of queer history done badly, but Amazon does not have the edition we have in the Prism office. On the other hand, see this, which has its exceptions (haha Cody! Mehmet II is on there!) and certainly a number of women, making it not quite the blatant atrocity I'm thinking of, but is mainly still- huh!- a list of famous dead white people. Thankfully, I think most people taking the time to sit down and write gay history books these days are aware of that kind of trap, but I see it a lot in people's casual speech. Alexander the Great, Oscar Wilde, occasionally James I, Frederick the Great if you're in a European history class; you'd think that there weren't any other gay people in history ever.

Play a game in the comments: name a deceased nonwhite or female gay person (besides Sappho).


Anonymous said...


Wait, he was bi.

So instead... Edward II *snicker* longshanks.

Hyakinthia said...

"Nonwhite" was the key phrase there, Cody. Way to go.