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Famous historical people that was gay

Leonardo da Vinci

Blast from the past with famous people throughout history that was gay or bisexual. This list contains people you most likely have heard of before, but them being gay or bisexual might come as a surprise. The list is sorted by birth date, with the most recent first, then moving back in history as the list goes on. If you know of someone historical who was gay and famous for something that should be featured here, then post a comment in the comments section at the bottom of the post, and I will take a look at your suggestion


James Dean: February 8. 1931 – September 30. 1955

James Dean

James Dean was an American actor who died at the age of 24, in a car accident. His acting career span from 1951 to his death in 1995. The last movie he starred in was “Giant”, where the lead role was female actress Elizabeth Taylor. He only appeared in TV series until 1955, but then his career started to skyrocket and he landed roles in movies as well. He only got to make 3 before he passed away, these movies were “East of Eden”, “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant”. When questioned about his sexuality, James Dean once replied: “No, I am not a homosexual. But I’m also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back.” One of James Deans’s roommates and longtime friend, William Best, admitted that the two of them had experimented sexually. While filming “Giant”, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean grew close, and she had no doubt about his homosexuality, which she also publicly announced during the 2000 GLAAD awards


Marlon Brando: April 3. 1924 – July 1. 2004

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando was an American actor, as well as a film director, with a career spanning over 60 years. He is most known for his role as Vito Capone in the mafia movie “The Godfather”, created by Francis Ford Coppola in 1972. He also starred in Superman from 1978, and as Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now from 1979, also directed by FFC. In his younger years, he was quite the womanizer with his handsome looks, but his love was another man, actor Wally Cox. To a French journalist in 1967, Marlon Brando told him: “Homosexuality is so much in fashion, it no longer makes news. Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homosexual experiences, and I am not ashamed.” He also had an affair with comedian Richard Pryor, which Richard’s wife also has confirmed


Billie Holiday: April 7. 1915 – July 17. 1959

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday was an African American jazz singer with a career going on for three decades. Her real name was Eleanora Fagan, she has won 4 Grammy Awards, all posthumously, and was introduced to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973. She started her career singing at nightclubs in Harlem, signed with a record company in 1935 and had great success in the ’30s and ’40s, but in the late ’40s, her career started failing due to her exposed drug and alcohol problems. In the 1950s she was a concert performer, where she also had success. She released her final album in 1958 and died the following year from cirrhosis, as a result of her unhealthy lifestyle. Billie Holiday was open bisexual, and she had a number of lesbian relations while being in prison for drug possession in 1947, serving 1 year and 1 day. She is also rumored to have relationships with numerous other performers, including Tallulah Bankhead, who was a stage and screen actress


Greta Garbo: September 18. 1905 – April 15. 1990

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo was a Swedish born film actress in the U.S.A. from 1920 to 1941. She is ranked 5. on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema, a place she shares with male counterpart Fred Astaire. After her third Hollywood movie, she became an international star, but her career had her ups and downs, and she was labeled “box office poison” in 1939. She bounced back in 1939 with the movie Ninotchka in 1939, but her next movie flopped, making Two-Faced Woman her last movie. She retired in 1945, never to return to the screen. Greta Garbo had affairs with both men and women, something friends of her have confirmed. Louise Brooks and Mimi Pollack are two of the woman she had affairs with. Greta Garbo died at age 84


Eleanor Roosevelt: October 11. 1884 – November 7. 1962

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States of American from March 4. 1933 to April 12. 1945, during her husband Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 4 terms of presidency. She is considered the most beloved First Lady in history, and she is also the longest-serving, due to her husband’s long presidency. Eleanor Roosevelt was also a strong fighter for human rights around the world, by the time of her death, she was ranked 9. on the Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. Although she was married to FDR, she also found love in lesbian AP reporter Lorena Hickok, to whom she wrote page long letters to daily, including smudgy texts like “I want to put my arms around you & kiss you at the corner of your mouth,” and, “I can’t kiss you, so I kiss your ‘picture’ good night and good morning!”. Throughout her years, she also kept close company with lesbian couples she had friendships with. Supposedly, she also had a romantic relationship with police Sargent Earl Miller, a relationship that lasted until she passed away at age of 78, in New York. This door seems to have swung both ways


Lord Byron: January 22. 1788 – April 19. 1824

Lord Byron

Lord Byron was an English poet and politician, he is regarded as one of England’s most influential poet, and his writings are still read and influential these days. Lord Byron, who’s born name was George Gordon Byron, was the reigning male sex symbol of the early 19th century, with sex partners involving both males and females. In letters to his close friend John Hobhouse, he bragged about having sexual encounters with both genders, but wrote them in code to avoid legal penalties. Lord Byron was involved with Nicolo Giraud, who was a French-Greek model for a painter, before Byron came along and took him under his wing, Byron left Nicolo 7000 pounds in his will, which was a lot back then, kinda still is a nice sum. Lord Byron later moved on to Venice, where he was involved with lots of boys, before settling with Loukas Chalandritsanos. Lord Byron died at age 36 after contracting a violent cold in Missolonghi, located in the Ottoman Empire. His lover Loukas Chalandritsanos was by his side when he died. Lord Byron is laid to rest at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire in the United Kingdom


Leonardo da Vinci:  April 1452 – May 1519

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian polymath, meaning he had knowledge spanning over a significant number of subjects. Amongst other things, he was an inventor, drawer, painter, sculpturer, engineer, and much more. His most known work is the painting Mona Lisa, which is located at The Louvre Museum in Paris, and The Last Supper, which is located at Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. Leonardo da Vinci was also a vegetarian, and he had the habit of buying caged birds on the market, just to release them. Leonardo kept his private life private, but he had known relationships with two of his pupils, Salaì and Melzi. It has been claimed since the 1600’s that these relationships were of sexual nature. Court records of 1476 show that Leonardo da Vinci and 3 other males were charged with sodomy in an incident involving a well-known male prostitute. In his writings, he often expressed his disgust against relations with women. He passed away in Amboise, France, at the age 67. His cause of death is presumed to be of a stroke, thus ending the rich story of one of the greatest minds that ever existed in human history


Hadrian: January 24. 76 – July 10. 138


Hadrian was a Roman Emperor reigning from 117 to 138. Hadrian’s father was of senatorial rank and first cousin of Emperor Trajan. Hadrian married Trajan’s grand-niece early in his career before he became Emperor. When Trajan died, his widow claimed he had nominated Hadrian to become Emperor, and so it became. He shortly after had 4 opposing senators unlawfully killed, which the rest of the senate never forgave him for. Later in his career, he had 2 more senators killed. Skipping ahead to the good part, Hadrian was madly in love with Greek youth Antinous and had an intense relationship with him. When Antinous died, Hadrian was heartbroken,  he had Antinous deified and founded an organized cult devoted to his worship that spread throughout the Empire. He also founded a city close to his place of death, called Antinpolis. This city became a center of worship for the Egyptian god Osiris. Hadrian also cooked up some games for the commemoration of Antinous to take place in both Antinopolis and Athens. Hadrian died at age 67, after failing health, leaving behind a 21 year long mostly peaceful reign


Gaius Julius Caesar: July 12. 100 BC – March 15. 44 BC

Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman politician, military leader, and dictator. Shortly known as Julius Caesar, and as the most famous character from the Roman era. Julius Caesar played an important role in the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. A common mistake people make is referring to him as Emperor, a title he never had. The first Roman Emperor was his successor, Augustus. Caesar’s military power and achievements in the field made him a threat to the leader of the Roman Republic, Pompey. Julius Caesar was ordered by the Senate to stand down and return to Rome, this meant that he would be charged as a criminal for waging unsanctioned wards. Leaving Julius no choice, he crosses the river Rubicon with his 13. Legion in 49 BC, thus starting a civil war. He won his civil war in 45 BC, leaving him with complete control of the government, and the title Dictator for Life. Then he got stabbed and killed the next year, making his dictatorship very short. That was the general story of Julius Caesar shortly summarized, a lesser-known story is about his homosexuality. His opponents referred to him as Queen of Bithynia, after his supposed affair with Nicomedes IV of Bithynia early in his career, where Julius Caesar was the passive in the relationship, something that the Roman society viewed as being submissive or inferior. Several other rumors also fluctuated about his sexual affairs with men, something Julius Caesar denied under oath


Alexander the Great: July 356 BC – June 323 BC

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was king of the ancient Greece kingdom of Macedon, where he reigned for 13 years, from 336 to 323 BC. He is most known as a conqueror, and by the age of 30, he had created one of the largest empires ever made. He was undefeated in battle and is therefore considered one of the most successful military leaders in history. His empire stretched from Greece to northwestern India, but his empire was torn apart by the civil wars that followed after his death at age 32. Alexander the Great married 3 times to women, but also had a close and supposedly sexual relationship to his friend, general, and bodyguard Hephaestion. Alexander “was also very much in the habit of giving in to this fashion”, with fashion being homosexuality, according to Dicaearchus

Content writer for the fabulous WillieWhang gay blog. Writing and sharing newsworthy stories from the LGBT world. Questions and comments can be sent to Willie Whang by email or the Twitter account

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