Pride in History: LGBTQ+ figures who shaped history

From all corners of the world and all walks of life, people with diverse backgrounds and identities have contributed to the rich tapestry of human civilization. 

Those history-makers include members of the LGBTQ+ community, who have used their talents to shape the world as we know it today.

Figures such as Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo, have left an immense impact on society, but only recently have historians begun to examine their sexuality as well. 

Alexander the Great, one of the greatest military commanders in history, has had his sexuality scrutinized by historians. Similarly, Leonardo da Vinci's letters and writings reveal the story of a genius who was also gay. Michelangelo, renowned for his sculpture of David, made the male physique universally admired.

"If we add in who they are, how they identify, it not only shows that there was representation of our community decades ago, centuries ago, millennia ago, but it also shows that our individuality shapes and weaves the human tapestry of our civilization," said Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière, a historian.

"I think it's very relevant to look back in history and see that queer people have always been here, trans people have always been here. Even in times when they weren't accepted, they were still true to who they were and did great things in their life," said Denise G, an advocate for LGBTQ+ representation.

By acknowledging the contributions of these individuals, we can better appreciate the diverse perspectives that have shaped our world throughout history.

Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, revealed her sexuality not during her time in orbit, but posthumously in her obituary. Another trailblazer, Alan Turing, the world's most famous codebreaker who helped the British gain the upper hand during World War II, was a mathematical genius and the inventor of the early computer.

Turing, who lived a homosexual lifestyle, was imprisoned for gross indecency. In 2013, he was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II and hailed as an exceptional man. 

"Especially in Pride Month, we try to remind people of all the people in the community that have come before us and have been brave to be themselves, despite what the status quo was at the time," said Desiree Guerrero, editor-in-chief of Advocate Magazine.