No Way, They Were Gay? is an entertaining and educational book for readers of all ages.
History, by and large, has been recorded by mostly straight people. And if those historians included any LGBTQ people in their records, their sexuality was often erased. Many of us, when we were struggling with the realization that we were LGBTQ+, when searching for proof of people like us that had gone before us and who had amounted to something in life. Sometimes we found them but other times, some of the world’s most famous people, who could have inspired us — William Shakespeare, Pharaoh Hatshepsut, Cary Grant, Eleanor Roosevelt — were de-gayed by historians.
Now, author Lee Wind has written a fascinating and accessible book exploring the hidden (and often surprising) queer lives and loves of two dozen historical figures.
“I’m gay, but I didn’t come out until my 20s,” says Wind. “Growing up I felt so alone, like I was the only guy who like-liked other guys in the history of the world,” he says. “In school, history was taught as medicine (names and dates to memorize) and it was ‘sanitized’ to benefit the people in power, leaving out the queer stories that would have changed my life had I known them.”
“No Way, They Were Gay? is me paying it forward. Primary source materials bypass the hundreds of years of historians who have in many cases hidden the truth and let these historical figures speak for themselves. Men who loved men. Women who loved women. People who loved without regard to gender. And people who lived outside gender boundaries.”
Wind’s goal is to empower people with this knowledge, especially younger people.
“We are not alone. These stories, and so many more, are our legacy. We have a history.”
Wind, who has a Masters degree from Harvard in Education, also writes a popular blog with over 3 million page views (I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read?) and books for kids and teens. In addition to No Way, They Were Gay?, he is the author of the award-winning young adult novel Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill.
Visit www.leewind.org to learn more.