My caseworker

Your agency gets a lot of grumbling (and) complaining letters. This one is just the opposite. I would like to tell you about my caseworker, Abbey VanHoeven, from the Kent County office. Two years ago I was 44 years old and homeless with two teenage children. I showed up at DHS a mental mess as I was brought up to “take care of myself.” Here I was, in the “welfare place” having to ask for help. Abbey was assigned to my case.

Not only did she make me feel like a human and that it was okay to ask for help, I walked out with a food card and hope of finding a place to live. Abbey went above and beyond the “duty” of a caseworker to help me. But most of all, she made me feel good about myself again and that things would be okay.

I was enrolled in the Michigan Works! program that put me through college and graduated the medical administrative assistance program with a 96.4 GPA, feeling good; but that was quick to end. I did not give up when resume after resume went overlooked. Finally, after 200 applications and two interviews from the whole bunch, I got a job. After six months, my back injury returned, landing me in bed for the past five weeks and a few more before we are done with treatment. My work is bending over backward to keep my job by offering me FMLA (usually one year of employment is required).

Yesterday, after being stubborn enough to let us almost starve to death, I called Abbey. We talked and she found that even working I had only been able to buy groceries twice since Thanksgiving. I had gone to local church for food and made arrangements with my electric company to hold off … but time was running out and panic of no money was hitting me hard.

Now the purpose of this letter, Abbey VanHoeven came to my house with paperwork (I live on second floor of a historical home and cannot make the steps well and had no gas in my car). Not only did she bring paperwork, she showed up with five bags of food! She had gone home on her lunch, as did her supervisor, to gather what they could spare. She knew that we had not had a loaf of bread or gallon of milk in over a
month. She used her own money to pick up some hamburger, buns, milk and bread.

Your office is very, very lucky to have someone with an attitude, smile, and love of helping people as Abbey
VanHoeven. She sets the example of human kindness. If your office has something as “Caseworker of the Year”, I would like to nominate Abbey VanHoeven. (She has mentioned previously, that she has gone to her house to get blankets for people she couldn’t help immediately).

Thank you for listening to my tale and I hope that this letter gets to the proper persons that will let Abbey know that she is one special caseworker as well as human being. I was walking with God when he gave me Abbey as a caseworker. She is truly a living angel and I know this from talking with her over the telephone and having porno meetings during the previous two years. Please, please do recognize Abbey in some way as she is truly one of the most genuinely kind persons I have ever met.

The Gay History in South America

~ 1513 ~ PANAMA: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the natives of Quarequa by Balboa.

~ 1533 ~ PERU: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Peruvian natives by Augustin Zarate. Similar observations were made in 1574 by Lopez de Velasco.

~ 1844 ~ BRAZIL: Anthropologist KFP von Martius noted that apprentice healers of the Coeruna and Bororo tribes inherited their powers sexually from an older healer.

~ 1951 ~ BRAZIL: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Cagaba (Reichel-Dolmatoff).

~ 1955 ~ PERU: The anthropologist Tobias Schneebaum studied the Amakaeri people of the Peruvian Amazonian rainforest, among whom homosexuality was the norm and heterosexuality only occurred for the purposes of reproduction.

~ 1966 ~ BRAZIL: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Pokomam (Reina).

~ 1971 ~ PERU: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Cueba by Francisco Guerra.

~ 1972 ~ VENEZUELA: Lesbians observed among the Yanomamo (Wilbert)

~ 1977 ~ BRAZIL: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Tapirape (Wagley).

~ 1979 ~ BRAZIL: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Barasana (Hugh-Jones).

17th century ~ BRAZIL: Zumbi dos Palmars, black anti-slavery leader was of Jaga tribe of Angola (see Africa: Native Peoples), and lived in intimate friendship with a priest (Mott).

1984 ~ ARGENTINA: Comunidad Homosexual Argentina formed.

1991 ~ BRAZIL: Salvador becomes the first Latin American town to ban discrimination against gay people.

~ COSTA RICA: 1st Lesbian & Gay Pride celebration.

1983 ~ ARGENTINA: Federation for the Liberation of Homosexuals

1993 ~ BRAZIL: 1st Gay Pride March, Rio de Janeiro.

1995 ~ CUBA: Cuban Association of Gays and Lesbians ‘came out’.

1996 ~ ARGENTINA: Buenos Aires becomes the first Spanish-speaking Latin American city to ban discrimination.

1997 ~ ECUADOR: Several days of demonstration in Cuecna following police harassment.

~ ARGENTINA: Pensions rights granted to gay partners.

The Gay History: East & South Europe

17th century ~ PORTUGAL: Gay and transvestite inns reported in Lisbon.

1948 ~ YUGOSLAVIA: A form of sworn brotherhood and sisterhood was common which “takes on some homosexual aspects”, and these pacts were celebrated in (rural) churches. (Tomasic, 1948)

1974 ~ AUSTRIA: Criminal Law Amending Act decriminalises homosexuality.

1983 ~ AUSTRIA: Vienna: Lesbian Centre and Social club founded.

1989 ~ YUGOSLAVIA: Lesbian magazine Lesbiska Sekcija published in Slovenian.

1990 ~ POLAND: Gay magazine Inaczej published.

1991 ~ CZECHOSLOVAKIA: International Lesbian & Gay association (Eastern & South East Europe) 5th Regional conference (April 19th-21st).

1993 ~ CYPRUS: European Court of Human Rights rules (1993) that Cyprian law prohibiting male homosexuality violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The law is ammended, decriminalising homosexuality in private between consenting adults over 18.

1994 ~ LATVIA: 1st Lesbian & Gay Week.

1995 ~ ALBANIA: Shoqata Gay Albania formed; Article 137 of the 1977 Penal Code repealled, legalising sex at 14.

1996 ~ MALTA: 1st Pride (June 29th-30th)

1996 ~ POLAND: 1st Lesbian Information and Counselling centre founded (OLA-Archiwum).

1997 ~ PORTUGAL: Portugese Assembly equalizes the age of consent at 16.
~ 1st lesbian and gay community centre opens in Lisbon.
~ AUSTRIA: Article 221, banning gay organisations and dissemination of positive information is repealled.
1997~ SAN MARINO: Homosexuality legalised.

1998 ~ ROMANIA: President Emil Constantinescu promises to pardon men imprisoned for consensual gay sex.

~ LATVIA: Age of consent equalised; also plans to offer refuge to gay people persecuted in other countries.

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.


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.

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 male sex.

An in-breadth look at the presence of gay people around the world, throughout history.

The aim of this work is to show the prevalence and significance of gay people on our planet; in particular, to oppose the prevailing notion that homosexuality is a recent or regional phenomenon (a result of ‘foreign’ influences or a ‘modern permissive society’). As the evidence clearly indicates, homosexuality is – and always has been – an integral feature of human life and society.

In this work, I am concentrating on a broad represntation of as many countries, over as great a span of time as possible, so you won’t find any lengthy essays here. For some good, in-depth gay history sites, see the links page. Also, I have emphasised mostly the positive aspects of gay history and culture; those seeking details of the grimmer side of things are directed to other sources!

Where indigenous peoples are mentioned, it is in reference to cultures where homosexuality is an accepted part of that culture. Same-sex activity has been observed by many anthropologists in countless tribes around the world; this only reinforces the realisation that human sexuality is universally polymorphous. I have emphasised instances in which same-sex relationships or homosexual individuals occupy a clearly defined, equal (or superior) social niche. Of particular interest in this regard are the Native American gay shamans and the predominantly homosexual Polynesian cultures.

Many past and present cultures have socially instituted transvestism and transsexualism, but this is not always an indication of individual sexual orientation, so I have not included such references. Likewise with the many instances of ritualised pederasty; the majority of lesbian, gay and bisexual people (in the modern, ‘civilised’ world, at least) do not perceive this as being part of gay identity.

The omission of gay characters from world history is no more evident than in regard to lesbians. The notion that gay women are scarcer than gay men, or that their sexuality is somehow less ‘real’ than male sexuality, has much to do with the predominance of patriarchal societies, the status of women throughout history and modern homophobia. There is less information here regarding lesbians, although the references I have found will be a revelation to many; lesbianism is just as prevalent and widespread in world history as male homosexuality, if not always as prominent.

The word ‘gay’ is used throughout this site in reference to women and men who form erotic same-sex relationships.

I must apologise in advance for the blatant lumping together of many great nations in the same categories (and the total absence of others), but this reflects the amount of relevant information I have collected so far on each. As more information comes my way, no doubt some of these will warrant their own sections!

In regard to the development of gay culture, I have paid particular note to the foundation of national organisations, improvements in legislation, and cultural landmarks such as Pride marches and international ventures.

Every gay person on Earth, regardless of nationality, race or background, has a gay heritage not only in their own homeland but also as a member of this gay species and as a citizen of this gay planet.