History of GLBT in the World
Out treatment of homosexuality- and not only that- is fundamentally different, from how it was looked upon in the Ancient World, and we fail to grasp its importance and its role in society fully. I would say that ancient societies were a bit more free, at least they didn't consider the gender of your partner such a great deal. But then again this doesn't mean there were no limitations or restrictions, on the contrary. It was mostly a structured thing happening between people belonging to different social classes and age groups. And there were many regional variations as well. Here many culture that document homosexuality in their record. Please note that this NOT a complete list just some.
An ostraca dating from the Ramesside Period have been found which depict hastily drawn images of homosexual as well as heterosexual sex. The duo Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, manicurists in the Palace of King Niuserre during the Fifth Dynasty of Egyptian pharaohs, circa 2400 BC are speculated to have been homosexual based on a representation of them embracing nose-to-nose in their shared tomb. King Neferkare and General Sasenet, a Middle Kingdom story, has an intriguing plot revolving around a king's clandestine homosexual affair with one of his generals. It may reference the actual Pharaoh Pepi II, who was likely gay. Even their gods have gay sex such as Seth and his relationship with Horus.
Of course the most known to us is the Athenian type of homosexuality, where an older man would associate with a younger boy (a teenager, no younger than that).
Keep in mind that the Greeks were simply uncomplicated about sexuality. Their cultural tradition did not include a lot of issues concerning sex, other than faithfulness on the part of women to ensure the patrimony of a man's legacy to their own biological children. (Women know a child is theirs... men have to take her word for it)
Homosexuality was seen in the ancient world as being a suitable outlet for male sexual drives. It was seen as being preferable to having sex with women who were married (the fidelity thing) and preferable to having sex with unmarried women (because of the patrimony thing... women who were not virginal would have nearly no chance in hell of getting married...thus- WOMEN refused casual sexual encounters far more so than today- leaving men little option.)
Further, in ancient civilizations it was not lost on women that if they continued having sex beyond a certain age... that they would likely die in childbirth and their husband remarry a younger woman whose offspring would then get the greater share, if not all of the father's patrimony. So it was not uncommon for educated women to turn off the supply of sex for the husband beyond a certain point. The wife would not tolerate a mistress- who might produce an heir. A primary of this is the Goddess Hera and her treatment to Zeus’s mistresses (mortal and immortal). She would tolerate homosexual outlets for her husband's sexual drives.
In Ancient Rome the young male body remained a focus of male sexual attention, but relationships were between older free men and slaves or freed youths who took the receptive role in sex. All the emperors with the exception of Claudius took male lovers. The most famous of this is Emperor Hadrian and his relationship with Antinous (this story is coming soon). But the pagan-hating, Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed a law on August 6, 390 CE, condemning passive males to be burned at the stake. Justinian, towards the end of his reign, expanded the proscription to the active partner as well (in 558 CE), warning that such conduct can lead to the destruction of cities through the "wrath of God". Notwithstanding these regulations, taxes on brothels of boys available for homosexual sex continued to be collected until the end of the reign of Anastasius I in 518.
Much of the history of homosexual love in pre-colonial Africa has probably been lost for good. Pre-colonial Africa was largely made up of non-literate cultures that left no written records and the prudish colonial powers were not inclined to document practices they considered "beastly"; they were already busy suppressing homosexuality at home. However, knowledge of some examples did survive, such as the boy marriage tradition among Azande warriors, and the gay sex customs at the court of the Kabaka (king) of the Buganda. It would be a stretch to call it "gay love" since those who did not submit to penetration - as a result of having recently been indoctrinated into Christian beliefs - were decapitated.
Northern India under Mughal rule was a haven for gay love. A famous love story of this period has to be Mahmud of Ghazni, who deeply loved his boy slave, Ayaz. Their love has become a paragon of ideal love, perhaps analogous to that of Romeo and Juliet in the West. In a telling anecdote, Mahmud asks Ayaz, "who is the most powerful ruler in the world?" "I am the most powerful," Ayaz, the beloved slave replies. The confused king asks his slave boy to explain. "You, Mahmud, are the most powerful of all kings," says Ayaz. "But since I rule your heart, I am more powerful still." In popular lore the two were said to be each other's slave, Ayaz a slave in deed and Mahmud a slave of love.
Love between men in China begins with the very beginning of history, with the first (semi-legendary) ruler, the Yellow Emperor. Historians claimed he was the first to establish the custom of taking a male bedmate. Many, if not most Chinese emperors had gay lovers just like their pagan Roman counterpart. The tradition was known as the Way of the Cut Sleeve, or the Way of the Bitten Peach. China also stands out as one of the richest sources of erotic homosexual art. Sadly, only a small fraction has been preserved, as most of it was destroyed in the "Cultural" Revolution.
In an uncanny parallel with ancient Greece, Japan also possessed a rich and profound culture of love between men. All the shoguns had male lovers and the custom was one of the pillars of the samurai pedagogical tradition. Japanese erotic art, in the form of gay shunga, is refined and sophisticated. While much erotic shunga was destroyed during the era of Westernization—entire warehouses of erotic shunga prints were burned by the American occupying forces after WWII—a great deal survived and can be found in museums and treasured private collections of erotic art. It shows the endless ways men can love and make love with each other, and is marked with passion and humor.
The Mayan people, among their many cultural achievements, also developed a tradition of male love. One aspect involved nobles acquiring a slave or servant to be the playmate and bedmate of their son. Another aspect may have involved relations between an older chief and younger officials.
THE FALL OF THE JAGUAR KING! By Herodotus is a good example of Maya Culture
In The Two-Spirit tradition a child is recognized as different at a young age and brought up in the ways of the opposite sex. The custom is still honored among many Native American tribes today. Two-spirit people are thought to be endowed with special powers and are often respected as exceptional medicine people. In recent times, some two-spirits have transitioned between the gay world and the traditionalist world. This link can provide you with more information: Native America