Some people think you can’t be gay and Christian. What better way to prove them wrong than with a list of LGBTI saints?
The Catholic Church doesn’t want you to read this. They’ve deliberately erased many gay saints from official lists.
And we have to admit it is difficult to find hard historical evidence about most saints. Many of the stories about them are little more than legends.
But if you start looking, there are lots of LGBTI saints and martyrs.
The earliest gay icon may have been Saint Sebastian, a Christian saint and martyr, whose combination of strong and shirtless physique, symbolic arrow-pierced flesh and rapturous look of pain have intrigued artists, both gay and straight, for centuries and began the first explicitly gay cult in the nineteenth century. Journalist Richard A. Kaye wrote: “Contemporary gay men have seen in Sebastian at once a stunning advertisement for homosexual desire (indeed, a homoerotic ideal), and a prototypical portrait of tortured closet case.”
St Sebastian is the original gay icon. This near-naked, young, muscled man – tied to a post and pierced with arrows – is one of the most famous images in fine art.
He was the commander of a company of archers in the imperial Roman bodyguard. And he was known to be ‘close’ to his male superiors. But he had a secret.
To rescue two other Christian soldiers, he ‘outed’ himself as Christian too. The Emperor Diocletian ordered that he should be shot to death by his fellow archers.
Strangely, that didn’t kill him. The pious St Irene saved him and treated his wounds. But Diocletian caught up with him. He ordered a second execution and Sebastian’s fellow soldiers beat him to death.
There’s no single reason why he became the unofficial gay patron saint. It’s a mix of his rumored sexuality, his ‘coming out’ story and his iconic homoerotic image penetrated with arrows. And homosexuality was once considered an illness while St Sebastian was known to save plague victims.
To be continued