The Middle Ages and Homosexuality

One of the biggest topics I address in ‘Making of an Empress’ is the Middle Ages view on homosexuality. It is well known today what the Church’s stance is on homosexuality. The belief of homosexuality as a sin is well documented in the pages of the old testament. In the Middle Ages, life was the Church. Rulers bowed down to the leaders of the Church, followed its commandments and condemned those who broke the Church’s laws.

If one researches the topic of homosexuality in the Middle Ages, you would see many different acts compiled in the definition. It was not merely the act between two men (or women). It included solitary acts as well. I would figure many would be guilty of homosexual acts if we still lumped any dumping of “seed” to equate to homosexuality.

Before the fall of the Roman Empire (which began the period known as the Middle Ages) sexuality was not something the ancient Romans put much thought into. It was just not talked about. The Middle Ages changed the view on the topic and issued punishment for committing such acts.

In the height of the Middle Ages if one was found guilty of an act of homosexuality he was punished with castration. If he did not learn his lesson his second offense would result in the loss of his “member”. A third offense resulted in burning at the stake.

There is proof, however, of many kings and queens who were known homosexuals, of course, they were never brought up on charges. I wonder if the most powerful rulers of their time were practicing homosexuals why then did nothing to try to change the views and punishments on the subject.

King James I of Scotland (who is famous for his version of the bible) was a suspected homosexual. Many of his time would refer to him as Queen James. It has been said he was a male chauvinist, perhaps it wasn’t that he hated women but simply he loved men. It is said he oversaw some of the translations of the original text of the bible and made sure words that could be interpreted as either gender were labeled as male, thus making the man the dominate gender.

Edward II of England was another king whose desire for male companionship was widely known. Again, as a king did he not have a responsibility to legitimize his own relationships?

In Making of an Empress, Stelaphina takes on the view of homosexuality. Her beloved cousin, Rupert, is a suspected homosexual. She sees nothing wrong with the love he desires but knows the Church forbids such unions. She fights to make homosexuality legal, obviously a forward thinking woman for her time. There is much opposition from the elder Imperials and the Church. It is a battle she is not willing to concede defeat and continues until others agree with her position.

I have to wonder if the monarchs of this world had the strength to fight for who they loved what our world might be like today.

I want to be a figure skater

My father, a huge sports fan and participant was overjoyed when his only son told him “No, I don’t want to play baseball or basketball, I want to be a figure skater.”

Now, I am not saying figure skating is a “gay” sport but when your father played hockey, baseball, and basketball, it isn’t his dream to see his son in a letard. I have the utmost respect for figure skaters, it isn’t an easy sport. I competed for a few years.

Growing up I heard the dreaded f word a lot from my father, grandfather, uncles – all of the men in my life. I also remember hearing the hate in their voices when the subject came up. This caused a lot of conflict in me when I was young. School was a source of torture for me as well, it seemed the other kids knew I was gay before I did. I was in a world where I was supposed to be ashamed of who I was. My male family members said it was wrong, my church said it was wrong, and my peers said it was wrong; therefore I must be wrong, defective in some way.

When I finally came out at age 16, my one uncle stopped talking to me. At family gatherings it was like I didn’t even exist to him. This was difficult because after my father left he was the closest thing I had to a dad and now he had left me as well. In my senior year of high school someone had carved “Fag” into my locker. I can’t even describe the shame I felt when I approached my locker that day and saw it. The kids around me were laughing, I didn’t find it amusing. The school approached me with a bill for repairs. If I wanted to receive my diploma I would pay for the repairs. I remember saying okay keep your f’ing diploma, so ended my high school career.

I battled the demons placed within me by others for years. There were periods where I felt I didn’t deserve to live because I was damaged, everyone said so, therefore it must be true. My struggle hasn’t always been successful, many times the voices of those who focused so much hate on me won. At least I allowed myself to think¬†they won but truth be told something in me made me realize I was better and stronger than¬†they wanted me to believe.

Rupert Turlington, a character in my book, is gay. He becomes the focus of Stela’s desire to change the social standing of homosexuals. The people of Hulsteria and really all of Saaveth see homosexuals as deviants. There desire to love is punishable. The laws are all based on the beliefs of the church, much as it is in our own world. Stela challenges these beliefs and questions how a God who is supposed to be known as loving could possibly promote hate towards love.

Writing this book has helped me understand my own feelings on who I am. I am very religious but I don’t believe God hates me because I love someone of the same gender. I think of the passages the hate spewers never seen to quote “Judge not so that ye shall not be judged”. Isn’t hating someone a form of judgement and as such are we not setting the bar for our own judgement when we stand before Him? “Love the sinner, hate the sin”, most are of the mindset “hate both”. Religion should bring about love and tolerance, not hate. Why is religion used as a vehicle to allow hatred? It is contradictory to what religion is all about.

I am friends now with many of those who made my school aged years hell. Some have apologized for the anguish they caused me back then, saying they were just kids. That isn’t an excuse for your hate. Hate isn’t hereditary, it is learned, somewhere you were taught that different is bad. Don’t say sorry I was a kid, admit you were homophobic because you learned to be homophobic. Yes many tell me know that they have many gay friends and their views are different but it doesn’t change the scars that you inflicted on my psyche. I always gracious accept the apologies but often wonder why they feel the need to apologize? Own the hate you had or possibly still have but are now ashamed to admit as an adult, when you can’t use ignorance as an excuse.

Sorry this post turned out so personal, it was just something I had to get off my chest. Realize when you hate, you not only hurt the person you hate, you also hurt yourself. So even if you don’t stop hating because it is wrong, stop hating to stop hurting yourself. Hate only attracts more hate, where love has the potential to attract more love if we let it.