Gay History in Pacific Asia & Australia

Native peoples: ~ Many Polynesian tribes have institutionalised male homosexuality; in contrast with heterosexist modern Western cultures, it is an essential element of manhood and masculinity. Among the Malekula (Deacon, 1934) Marind, Sambia and Kiman (Herdt, 1984) it is believed that semen is the essential male substance that gives a man his strength and prowess as a hunter and warrior, and that it is not produced spontaneously by the body but has to be planted there, where it will grow. For this reason, pubescent males are ritually inseminated by an uncle or proscribed male who is not the father. In Marind society, heterosexuality is viewed as a ‘necessary evil’; the vagina being identified with excrement and women with castration.
~ IN AUSTRALIA: The aborigines revere semen for its association with creating life. In the bora ceremony of Kimberly District in Western Australia, young men drink semen. Elderly dying men do the same, for medicinal purposes. Social homosexuality was recorded by anthropologists in the Tiwi tribe (Pilling).

Anthropological studies:
~ 1870 ~ Borneo: The manang bali are the gay shamans of the Iban, and can become chiefs (Perelaer).
~ 1896 ~ Institutionalised homosexuality noted among the Kanaka Popinee of New Caledonia (Jacobus).
~ 1903 ~ Hawaii: gay shamans are refered to as healers (‘mahu’)(Malo).
~ 1911 ~ Institutionalised homosexuality noted among the Maoris of New Zealand and the Tonga and Pukapuka of Java (Kaarsch-Haak). ~
~ 1928 ~ Samoa: As in Hawaii, gay shamans are refered to as healers (‘mafu’)(Mead).
~ 1954 ~ Indonesia: The Ngadju have gay shamans.
~ 1971 ~ Easter Island: Lesbian relationships noted by anthropologist Alfred Metraux.

Folklore:

NEW ZEALAND: Tutanekai and Tiki were takataapui, “intimate companions of the same sex.”

BC 57 – AD 918 ~ KOREA: Hyekong the 36th king of the Shilla dynasty was described as ‘a man by appearance but a woman by nature’.

AD 8th century ~ KOREA: Myojung, a very young Buddhist monk was loved and sought after by several male aristocrats, and even by a Chinese Emperor from the Tang dynasty

1436 ~ KOREA: Choson dynasty: Sejong, the 4th Choson ruler, convened a meeting of his to discuss the rumors that his daughter-in-law had been sleeping with her maidservant porno.

17th century ~ KOREA: In folklore there are many stories about male homosexuals, including the hwarang (flower boy) of the Yi dynasty.

1973 ~ NEW ZEALAND: November Rotorua Gay Liberation Front formed.

1978 ~ AUSTRALIA: The Gay Solidarity Group was formed in Sydney by Ken Davis and Anne Talve. Their planned commemoration of the “Day of International Gay Solidarity” (the 9th anniversary of the Stonewall riots) on June 24 attracted somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people. The festival, with dancing and music which Margaret McMann described as a “Mardi Gras”, is celebrated every February and is the world’s largest gay festival.

1991 ~ AUSTRALIA: Outrage, the national gay magazine, becomes the first gay product to be advertised on national television.

1993 ~ THAILAND: Lesbian group Anjaree (“women following different ways”) formed. Disliking the word lesbian because of associations with psychiatry, the use the term ‘ying-rak-ying’ (women loving women).

1995 ~ TAIWAN: 3rd Asian Lesbian Conference in Tapei.

1996 ~ PHILIPPINES: 500 lesbians and gay men marched through Manila for equality.

~ TAIWAN: Daily gay radio show begins in Tapei.

1997 ~ VIETNAM: A Vietnamese-Australian and his Vietnamese partner celebrated their ‘wedding’ with 100 guests in Ho Chi Minh city.

~ TASMANIA: The Legislative Council decriminalises gay porno male sex.

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