Ifti Nasim (1946-2011) was a gay poet from Pakistan who wrote “Narman,” the first book to appear in Urdu that openly expressed homosexuality. Nasim fled to the United States to avoid persecution in Pakistan. In the US, Nasim co-founded the group Sangat, a group established for queer south Asian youth.
Photo courtesy of Making Queer History
Simon Tseko Nkloi (1957-1998) was a gay activist and an aids activist who fought against the apartheid in South Africa. He helped found the Gay Association of South Africa (GASA) and the Gay and Lesbian Organizations of the Witwatersrand (GLOW). Nkoli helped to pave the way for South African queer rights.
Photo courtesy of Legacy Project Chicago
Alexander the Great, inheriting the throne of Macedon and Greece at age 20, was believed to have male sexual partners despite having married a woman. “Love between two males of similar age and social class was stigmatized and may have jeopardized Alexander’s status” as these homosexual relations were most common among men and slaves or men and younger boys who were not yet citizens.
Photo courtesy of History
Hatshepsut was “the eldest daughter of Queen Ahmose and the Pharaoh Thutmose I, a general who married into the royal family after Hatshepsut’s grandfather (or rather his wife) failed to produce a male heir.” “… Egyptologists view Hatshepsut as one of the best pharaoh’s of the 18th Dynasty, a 250 year period at the beginning of the New Kingdom era, but she was almost forgotten entirely.”
She existed, and she used feminine pronouns while presenting herself as a man, at least the very least in her art and monuments, if not in person.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Leonardo da Vinci, world-renown artist, never married nor fathered any children. However, strong relationships with two of his assistants suggests they were romantic.
Photo courtesy of Boston Museum of Science
Alan Turing, a pioneering mathematician and data scientist from the UK, lived his life as an out gay man socially and professionally despite it being frowned upon in the 1950s.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Michelangelo, another world-renown artist, often partook in homosocial practices in which younger prodigies engaged in intimate relations with their mentors.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Deborah Sampson, “America’s first female soldier,” was believed to be part of the LGBTQ community. Frustrated by the limitations of her gender, Sampson made several attempts to present herself as a man. She “donned the uniform of a colonial soldier to not only fight for America’s independence but also to forge a life on her own terms.”
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Jalal al-Din Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet and mystic, was inspired to write about his love for another man “but the queer implications are seldom discussed. There is no proof that Rumi and his beloved Shams of Tabriz had a sexual relationship, but the intensity of their same-sex love is undeniable.”
Photo courtesy of Poetry Foundation
Pierre Seel was a Holocaust survivor and the only French person to have testified openly about his experience of deportation during World War II due to his homosexuality.
Photo courtesy of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

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