Chronology xvii mountains, desert regions, California, Oregon, and Washington was primarily by men. For example, in 1848, San Francisco had a population of 812 people, of whom approximately 74 percent were male. Within three years these numbers would be- come more male dominated as 25,000 Chinese men came to California through San Francisco to participate in the gold rush of 1851 and to build the cross-continental railroad. Whom did these men have relationships with? We can only conclude that same-sex relationships were, in fact, the norm, yet public documents will have no re- cord of these lives. First People (Native Americans), Polynesians, Indians, Asiatic Eskimos—Before the influence of Christianity, many of these societies saw sexuality as a gift from the spirit world. In general, it was unimportant with whom you had sex and ho- mosexual behavior was accepted. Also accepted were transgendered people who adopted the behaviors and clothing of both men and women. Two-spirited people (previously termed Berdaches and also known as yirka-la ul, mahu, hijras) were thought to have two spirits and often held the position of teacher and shaman in these societies. Amazons—When explorer Pedro de Magalhaes de Gandavo explored northeastern Brazil in 1576, he discovered women who imitated men, wore their hair like men, and had other women as their wives. At least 33 North American groups included Amazons in their societies. Other Amazon societies could be found around the world and in other times. Institutionalized Homosexuality—Throughout history and into the modern age, many societies institutionalized homosexual behaviors and relationships. Such cultures included seventeenth-century Mayan society, Buddhist monks, the samu- rai class of early Japan, and Melanesia in southern New Guinea. In these societies, all members engaged in homosexual relationships for the majority of their lives. Ancient Greece—Sex for the ancient Greeks was mostly value neutral. Exclusive homosexuality was discouraged. Sexual relationships between older men and young boys were considered a crucial part of the younger man’s maturation pro- cess. Not much is known of lesbianism except for a limited number of poems written by Sappho extolling the virtues of love between women. Also, virtually nothing is known about the lives of slaves and the poor. Ancient Rome—There is widespread evidence of homosexual behavior being ac- cepted in the republic and early empire. Like the ancient Greeks, Romans did not identify homosexuality as a problem. A number of Roman and Greek leaders publicly took on male lovers going so far as to have public same-sex marriages. Around the third century CE, due to the influence of Christianity, Rome began to enact a series of laws regulating various aspects of homosexual relationships. China—For 300 years beginning in the third century BCE, many historical docu- ments show that homosexuality was accepted, particularly among the ruling class. It is from these stories that common euphemisms for male homosexual love, fen tao zhi ai (literally, “the love of shared peach”) and duanxiu (literally, “the cut sleeve”), came.
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