Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Boswell on Same-Sex Unions Throughout the World

I started John Boswell's Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe.  In my latest reading, Boswell argues that there were same-sex unions in the Greco-Roman world.  There was heterosexual matrimony, of course, and that pertained to such issues as property.  But, according to Boswell, there were also lifelong same-sex unions, and some of those even occurred when one of the partners was in a heterosexual marriage.

In this post, I'll quote something that Boswell says on page xxvi:

"Many cultures other than Western ones have recognized and institutionalized same-sex unions----Japanese warriors in early modern times, Chinese men and women under the Yuan and Ming dynasties, Native Americans from a number of tribes (mostly before white domination), many African tribes well into the twentieth century, and residents (both male and female) of the Middle East, South-East Asia, Russia, other parts of Asia, and South America."

Boswell provides footnotes for these claims.  This passage stood out to me because it's relevant to the question of the extent to which cultures around the world have accepted homosexuality.

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