Chinese emperor Ai of Han, fell in love with a minor official, a man named Dong Xian, and bestowed upon him great political power and a magnificent palace. Legend has it that one day while the two men were sleeping in the same bed, the emperor was roused from his sleep by pressing business. Dong Xian had fallen asleep across the emperor’s robe, but rather than awaken his peaceful lover, the Emperor cut his robe free at the sleeve. Thus “the passion of the cut sleeve” became a euphemism for same-sex love in China. — R.G.L.
get you a dude who will fuck up his own clothing for you
NO OKAY THIS IS REALLY COOL SO SHUT UP AND LISTEN KIDS. Ancient China was super chill about homosexuality okay. Like we have gay emperors and feudal lords, lesbian princesses who were girlfriends with their serving maids, gay ass poets who wrote lots of poems about that one courtesan who played the guzheng so well.
In fact homosexuality was so okay that in Shiji, which is basically the Bible of Ancient Chinese history, there is an entire section dedicated to the gay lovers of emperors. What’s the best part? All the laws and criticism about homosexuality in Ancient China were all about shit like prostitution and rape. These laws were outlawing homosexual stuff were all very specific.
For example, there were laws banning male prostitution, but no laws against homosexuality. These laws were passed to stop the spread of prostitution and laws targeting prostitution in general were pretty common in Chinese history. There were also really strict laws about male rape. Rape was punishable by death, regardless of the gender of the victim. Rape a girl, you die. Rape a guy, you die. Have sex with a minor, you die regardless of whether it was consensual. The lightest sentence you could get was slavery where you were bound to the army.
Also scholars wrote essays criticising the boyfriends of emperors, saying that they distracted the emperor from work blah blah blah but THEY ALSO DID THE SAME FOR THE CONCUBINES. That’s right – the issue wasn’t homosexuality but rather the hormones of the emperor. They didn’t care about the gender of the emperor’s favourite lover but rather the fact that the emperor was too horny to get shit done.
“But WAIT, Modern China is a hardass about homosexuality!!!! How do you explain that!”
Yes. That. That’s because of the late Qing years where Western influences entered the country and brought their gross ass homophobic attitudes with them. And the Qing government was so anxious to seem modern and be seen as equals to their Western counterparts. So they adopted Western ways and discarded their previous attitudes about homosexuality. Hence you have Modern China.
So the next time someone tries to tell you that being LGBT is wrong because it goes against traditional Chinese values, tell them to go fuck themselves with 3000 years of Chinese queerness.
Here are all the illustrations of historical gay couples by Ryan Grant https://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/artist-spotlight/2012/08/11/ryan-grant-longs-history-gay-love#slide-0
This is one of the best things I have ever read.