Thursday, September 13, 2007

Murray’s introduction to Boy-Wives and Female Husbands, page 11: “Up until that time, most European words for homosexuality were derived from mythical originators and precedents—sodomy from Sodom, catamite from Ganymede, lesbian from Lesbos. The new taxonomy—Urning, homosexual, transvestite—labeled people in terms of intrinsic psychic and physical traits they were believed to possess, which categorically distinguished them from others.”
Except “Urning” comes from Aphrodite Urania, the aspect of the Greek love goddess ruling over male love. Murray must be one of those people who thinks Ulrichs was actually a scientist or something.

“Urning” is “Uranian” in English. If your first thought was purile humor you are not alone. Oh multilingual coincidence, how I love you.

An unrelated Urania is the Muse of astrology and astronomy. Uranus, Father Heaven, was the grandfather of most of the Olympic gods, so “of the heavens”, “heavenly love”, et cetera.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A Sapphick Epistle

Oh, you wanted some lesbians? Oh, okay. Here you go. This is an excerpt from an anonymous 1778 satire entitled A Sapphick Epistle. Don't let anyone tell you people in the past didn't know what lesbians were. That person is wrong. Now, whether or not they believed they actually existed- another story for another time, I guess. On to the poetry.

Curse on my stars, that I was born,
In such an age of lust and scorn.
Oh, Sappho, had'st thou been
Alive in these rude, filthy days,
Thy verses had been all in praise
Of me and beauty's queen.
Oh! had it been my wretched fate
That Phaon had made me his hate,
What then had been my case?
Like D[amer] I had scorn'd the youth,
Kiss'd every female's lovely mouth,
And followed every face.
Look on that mountain of delight,
Where grace and beauty doth unite,
Where wreathed smiles must thrive;
While Strawberry-hill at once doth prove,
Taste, elegance, and Sapphick love,
In gentle Kitty Clive.
Ye Sapphick Saints, how ye must scorn
The dames with vulgar notions born,
Who prostitute to man:
Who toil and sweat the tedious night,
And call the male embrace delight,
The filthy marriage plan.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday, Karl!

I can't believe I forgot Karl Heinrich Ulrich's birthday! He turned 182 last Tuesday (August 28th). Tragically, he's been dead for 112 of those years.

Other birthdays:
Susan B. Anthony- February 15, 1820
John Addington Symonds- October 5, 1840
Edward Carpenter- August 29, 1844
Jane Addams- September 6, 1860
Magnus Hirschfeld- May 14, 1868
Radclyffe Hall- August 12, 1880

Addams and Anthony were feminists first and lesbians second, I know; but the thing about lesbian rights is that there have to be women's rights first.

Also I was going to include Havelock Ellis, who wrote Sexual Inversion with Symonds (Symond's name is not on it cause his family bought up all the copies of the first edition and burnt them), but I discovered just now he thought male homosexuals were fine and dandy, they're following their nature, but that lesbians were a product of feminism and they should suck it up and be good little wives. Bastard.