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Democracy was another invention of the Greeks, and the two men they honored for its introduction were Harmodios and Aristogiton, a gay couple.

Love between males was thought to bring out the best qualities in a youth AND in his lover, especially manliness and courage.

The main difference was that the “gay marriage” could only take place with the beloved’s consent, while the girl was told by her father whom to marry and had to obey.

Mullahs and censors railed against male love, but men of all walks of life, from Caliphs to porters, delighted in it and all looked forward to being attended by fresh-faced tellaks (masseurs) in the hamam, and “unaging (youths) as beautiful as pearls” in paradise.

In North America and Siberia, shamanic traditions dating back to the stone age recognized the special spiritual powers of those men and women drawn to same-sex love, as we still see in the Native American two-spirit tradition, which survives to this day.

Where forbidden, it has prevailed over stonings, burnings, lobotomies, schoolyard homophobia, the gallows and the gaol.

Where openly welcomed, it has blossomed into the highest achievements of the human mind.

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