Being gay or lesbian is nothing new, but that doesn’t stop people from saying it is.
Throughout history, same-sex relationships were viewed as a sin, suppressed through legal and judicial measures. In some cases, the death penalty was even applied.
Today, we live in a world where gay marriage is legal and there is much greater acceptance and awareness surrounding LGBQT individuals. As a result, it might seem like there are more gay people, but instead, it’s just that it’s more visible and less covert.
Former priest Nathan Monk was tired of people saying that LGBTQ+ is something “millennials invented.” So, he went to the trouble of collecting vintage photos of same-sex couples to prove that they existed long before any sort of gay rights movement.
“I found the photos online through a couple of different posts,” Father Nathan Monk shared with Bored Panda in an interview.
“I shared them because I think it’s important to remember those that come before us, those that fought, and struggled to live their authentic life. I believe it’s important to be reminded that LGBTQ+ have always been part of society and always will be. That reality should be lovingly accepted instead of shunned and ridiculed.”
Same-sex relationships have been documented all around the world for centuries. While many of these relationships have been sanctioned and even punished by death, they persisted in a variety of forms – from informal to highly ritualized unions.
In 1624, Richard Cornish was executed in Virginia for alleged homosexual acts with a servant.
In 1691, Deborah Byar of Massachusetts was fined and publicly humiliated for wearing men’s clothing.
Even in 1989, fear of coming out persisted. For instance, famous jazz musician Billy Tipton died in Spokane, Washington, at which point it was revealed that he had been born a woman. He played in big bands in the ‘40s and ‘50s and lived for 56 years as a man.
By the year 1990, the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network was formed. At this time, there were two known high school student clubs, known as Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), in the US.
In 2000, Vermont became the first state in the US to legally recognize civil unions between gay and lesbian couples. The law stated that these “couples would be entitled to the same benefits, privileges, and responsibilities as spouses.”
In 2004, Massachusetts followed, but in a bigger way, legalizing same-sex marriage. They were the first state to officially legalize, not just recognize, same-sex marriages.
In 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples were constitutionally granted the right to marry. Thereafter, California became the second state in the US to legalize same-sex marriages.
Sadly, despite how far we have come, anti-LGBT hate crimes are on the rise since 2013, according to the FBI.
Anti-male homosexual crimes remain higher than anti-female homosexual crimes. Although, crimes against black transgender women are on the rise this year.
Father Nathan Monk expresses that it’s crucial we acknowledge that people still deal with prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination.
“Even though that is felt by all LGBTQ+, it is most dangerous for people experiencing poverty and homelessness. A trans person living on the streets is more likely to be rejected by shelter programs, more likely to experience physical and sexual assault, and so many other dangers. We need to continue to elevate these stories and realities until everyone has a safe place to call home.”
Father Monk no longer calls himself a priest, but he remains dedicated to helping people any way he can.
“I am now the author of two books, Chasing the Mouse and Charity Means Love. Both books address the issues of poverty and homelessness. I currently operate a homeless shelter and an educational institute. On the weekends, I typically travel to different communities to discuss poverty and homelessness solutions.”
According to extensive research, it is estimated that there are approximately 8 million adults in the US who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual. In addition, there are 700,000 transgender people living in the US.
Women are much more likely to identify as bisexual compared to men – this is likely because it is more socially accepted for women to be bisexual.