Love is love and that's how it's been since the dawn of man. However, navigating social dynamics in the past was way more difficult than today. Same-sex relationships had been seen as a sin, repressed through law enforcement and judicial mechanisms, and even condemned with death penalties. Luckily, we now live in a time where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry. And to celebrate the increased well-being within these communities, a former priest who goes by the name Nathan Monk has compiled a series of vintage pics, showing how same-sex couples looked back in the day.
Image credits: Father Nathan Monk
"I found the photos online through a couple of different posts," Father Nathan Monk told Bored Panda. "I shared them because I think it’s important to remember those that come before us, those that fought, and struggled to live their authentic life. I believe it’s important to be reminded that LGBTQ+ have always been part of society and always will be. That reality should be lovingly accepted instead of shunned and ridiculed."
Same-sex unions have been recorded all around the world. Throughout the centuries, they have existed in many forms, ranging from informal, unsanctioned relationships to highly ritualized unions. And even though the Old Testament prohibited homosexual relations (Lev. 18:22, 20:13), and the Jewish sages provide the reason for this as being that the Hebrews were warned not to follow the acts of the land of Egypt or the acts of the land of Canaan, same-sex marital practices and rituals were recognized in Mesopotamia.
Also, at least two of the Roman Emperors were in same-sex unions. The first one to have married a man was Nero. He is reported to have married two other men on different occasions as well.
The first man whom he married, Nero took the role of the bride, and later as a groom Nero married a young boy to replace his young teenage concubine whom he had killed named Sporus in a very public ceremony, with all the solemnities of matrimony, and lived with him as his spouse. A friend gave the "bride" away "as required by law." The marriage was celebrated separately in both Greece and Rome in extravagant public ceremonies.
In fact, thirteen out of the first fourteen Roman Emperors are believed to have been bisexual or exclusively homosexual.
Later on, the increasingly influential Christianity promoted marriage mainly for procreative purposes. Not teachings of the Bible (as well as Talmud and Torah), were understood as prohibiting the practices as contrary to nature and the will of the Creator, and a moral shortcoming.
After the Middle Ages, same-sex relationships in Europe were frowned upon and banned in many countries by the church or the state. And, even though we as a society have made huge strides in dealing with these social "leftovers," there are many things we still need to do.
Father Nathan Monk said that it’s important to acknowledge that people still face bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination. "Even though that is felt by all LGBTQ+, it is most dangerous for people experiencing poverty and homelessness. A trans person living on the streets is more likely to be rejected by shelter programs, more likely to experience physical and sexual assault, and so many other dangers. We need to continue to elevate these stories and realities until everyone has a safe place to call home."
And even though Father Nathan Monk is no longer a priest, he still devotes his time to making Earth a better place for us all.
"I am now the author of two books, Chasing the Mouse and Charity Means Love. Both books address the issues of poverty and homelessness. I currently operate a homeless shelter and an educational institute. On the weekends, I typically travel to different communities to discuss poverty and homelessness solutions."