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These 15 Historical Examples Of LGBTQ Culture Around The World You Might Not Have Known About

Proof that the LGBTQ identity is not a new thing.

Contrary to what the right-wing likes to say, LGBTQ culture is far from a recent, or Western, phenomenon. "Homosexuality" today is intrinsically tangled in the Euro-American history of ideas and cultural traditions, but fluidity in gender, sexuality, and the performance of such roles is evident in many different cultures around the world — particularly before Christianity and Western influence spread.  

1. Nonbinary Vikings

A viking helmet with a wreath of flowers draped across the horns

2. Native American "Two-Spirits"

Open palms with a rainbow traversing them

3. Five genders in the Java Island tribes

A bust of a bissu priest in traditional clothing with flowers in their hair

4. Homosexuality in classic Chinese literature

Two queer Chinese men in historic clothing embracing, surrounded by flowers

5. Kabuki Theater

6. Hijras in India

Queer Indian Hijras standing in a group and smiling

7. Muxes in the Zapotec culture of Southern Mexico

A coloful bust of a Muxe, smiling and fanning themself

8. Traditional plurality in gender and sexuality in Thailand

Thai person in a traditional headdress gesturing with their hands

9. The Greeks...loved to "do it Greek"

Two statues of nude Greek men embracing one another

10. Queer love in Ancient Egypt

Stylized illustration of Ancient Egyptian men touching noses

11. Eunuchs in China and the Middle East

Emperor figure in the center with eunuchs draped over them

12. Same-sex Relationships in Ancient Africa

Cave painting of two silhouetted hands holding one another

13. "Big sisters" in the Forbidden Kingdom

Outstretched palms filled with candy and tokens of affection

14. Same-sex marriage in Mesopotamia

Two male figures in ancient clothing, touching hands against a colorful backdrop

15. Queering of Queen Nzingha Mbande

16. Homoerotic Persian poetry

Two persian men embracing, wearing historic fashion