Talk:LGBT themes in mythology

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I'll put folklore and fables here for now, until it is decided if they go on this page or a new page is needed:

YobMod 13:41, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

I do not think that queer retellings have anything to do with mythology, better to file them under fiction. Haiduc (talk) 18:33, 29 June 2009 (UTC)


Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender myths from the Arapaho to the Zuñi By Jim Elledge.

Sakhiyani: Lesbian Desire in Ancient and Modern India by Thadani by Giti.

The Man Who Was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore by Devdutt Pattanaik.

Oceanic homosexualities by Stephen O. Murray & Arnold R. Pilling

I'm questioning the usefulness of Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol & Spirit, which is cited numerous times, as a source here. I own it, and have been unable to find several of its articles and/or interpretations backed up anywhere else. It doesn't provide any in-line citations in its articles, all of which are uniformly pro-LGBT, just a bibliography at the end of the book. On its back cover, Library Journal reviewed it as "Engaging [but]... potentially controversial", and the publisher, Cassell, as far as I can tell published primarily paperback militaria. The book has a lot of interesting ideas but since it's such a dead end without in-line citations I don't know if I find it reliable. Any thoughts? Markwiki (talk) 17:10, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I have just done a major research paper on Sappho in Swinburne and Baudelaire. I read all of Sappho twice, and all the useful fragments multiple times. I find nothing whatsoever in it to imply that Aphrodite is the patron goddess of lesbians, as stated in citation 25 of this article. Furthermore, I did a great deal of digging in Greek mythology and found no such association there, either. I had, for the purposes of my essay, wished to confirm Conner's claim in "Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol & Spirit," but found no evidence anywhere for it and there is no source quoted in the book. I then researched several other claim this book makes, and found them equally unreliable. In short, this book is just wrong, and is more propaganda than encyclopedia. It should not be cited at all, having no citations of its own. I am going to take the offending line out altogether, along with the citation, if nobody objects (and maybe even if they do). I don't have time to look at every example from this useless book, but it has no business being here. Richaraj (talk) 02:40, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Cassell is a bit of an embarrassment. The book's premise seems to be "anything that has the remotest hint of same-sex relationships will be declared a Queer myth, regardless of context, the culture the story comes from or anything remotely resembling citations." The lack of academic research alone should be grounds to remove it from the bibliography section here; but what really disappoints me is, there being so few encyclopedias on GLBT mythology, Cassell makes it sound like GLBT researchers don't even know their own history, let alone the histories of those around us, which is always problematic when trying to get other people to take you seriously. Duende-Poetry (talk) 01:40, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

GA aims[edit]

  • Write 3-5 decent sized paragraphs for each subsection. If too short, combine sections, and if longer, make a spin out article.
  • Find image for each subsection if possible.
  • Add cites up to 200.
  • Write introduction sentences for each section, giving context on mythology.
  • Rewrite & expand analysis section (modern uses of mythology, (witchcraft, goddess worship, paganism) exclusion of LGBT by scholars, inspiration for fiction.
  • Rewrite lead, summarises whole article!

Additions for post GA[edit]

Addaura cave drawings


Kolhamana, spririt of the Zuni. Kokopelli Mana, spirit of the Hopi. Koyemshi, sacred of the Zuni. Koskalaki, lesbians, decendents of Wiya Nupa.

Aztec and Mayan[edit]

Kukumatz, supreme being of the Quiche Maya.


Kombobos, friend of King of Syria who castates himself and wears womens clothing to prove his loyalty. Kulu'u, priests of Ishtar. Kurgarru, priests of Ishtar. Kumarbi, Hurrian war god that bit off Anu's penis and became pregant. Adonis, = Tammuz

Jewish & Cristian[edit]

Quabbalah, inc the spririt A'anon'nin, belief in bi-gendered God Abraham, having a bosom, patriachal appropriation of female power via transgenderism Adam, Gnostic mae aspect of androgynous god, along with Isis/Demeter Naassenes, a Gnostic diety Gnostic lesbian spells, invoking Adonai or Abraxas

Use of the template Sex in SF mini[edit]

I was puzzled by the inclusion of template:Sex in SF mini. This template does not cover any topics of mythology as far as I can see and seems off-topic. Does anyone have a rationale for keeping it or should I go ahead and remove it? —Teahot (talk) 09:06, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

It only contains this article so far about mythology, because this is the only one i have created. More article will come once this is GA, then i can make a more specific mythology template. I prefer to keep it for now, as it is useful to navigate aound the other "LGBT themes in xxxx" GAsYobMod 09:13, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
It still appears off-topic. Though the template does now include a link to this page, the principal topic for the template is stated as Speculative fiction, the article for which has no mention of mythology despite an extensive list of other genres. I note that Mythology does not bother with side navbars and I believe this side navbar is unhelpful as it does not lead to any other themes in mythology or sub-topics of LGBT themes in mythology and consequently fails the guidance of NOTDIRECTORY. If you are concerned about usefulness for navigation then {{LGBT fiction}} at the bottom of the page is already included and seems sufficient and less intrusive.—Teahot (talk) 09:32, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
That's cos the article for speculative fiction is rubbish. The LGBT themes in speculative fiction discusses it. I know about the LGBT in fiction template - i created that too. I've now created my sandboxed subarticles and template. Thanks for the help - feel free to make improvments (a better image is forthcoming).YobMod 09:44, 22 July 2009 (UTC)


About Ardhanari, LGBT connotations is a well-known theory, but "such as in the story of Ganesha's conception, which in some versions is the result of a lesbian encounter between the Parvati and her handmaiden Malini". this seems to be a WP:FRINGE theory, the most popular story of Ganesha's conception is that Parvati created a statue of dirt during her bath - the statue was given life and placed him as her guardian. Her husband Shiva mistook him as an intruder and cut his head, which was later replaced by an elephant head. Other versions speak of explicit union of the couple or Shiva producing Ganesha from his laughter. The book Gaṇeśa By Yuvraj Krishan p.41, speaks the Malini legend from a 13th century Kashmiri text: where the dirt statue along with the bath water follows into the holy river Ganges and is drunk by the elephant-headed goddess Malini and Ganesha is born to her, but Parvati is declared his mother. This is Not technically a "lesbian encounter", but an interpretation. The well-known tales of Shikhandi and Arjuna as Vrihannada from Mahabharata not covered. "Although married to the goddess Svāhā, in the Mahabharata and Saura Purana Agni asks Shiva to ejaculate into his hands so he can drink his semen." Both the Purana and Mahabharata, speak explicitly of the union of Shiva and Parvati (fact hidden) and resultant semen is transported by Agni to the care-taker mothers of Kartikkeya (Skanda), so he is hidden from the demon that will kill later. Possibly another mis-interpretation. --Redtigerxyz Talk 13:56, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Ah, thanks for the info. I tried to make it clear that these are not mainstream interpretations (hence the "some versions"), but agree that making an explicit note of how they differ from the mainstream would be a big improvment, and maybe some "According to xxxx in the book yyyy" would help too. The sources i used (Encylopedia of Queer Myth (1998), Ganesa: Lord of Obstacles and Lord of Beginnings (1985), Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Shiva (1973), The Man Who Was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore) are reliable enough that these interpretations should be somewhere on wikipedia, and it seemed best to have them here rather than on the main Hindu mythology pages, to avoid undue weight there. I'll make a first attempt at assigning viewpoints and adding more on how they differ from mainstream views.

(The Purana translation i read was "Agni said, 'release your seed, the heavenly soma, into my hands, and let the Gods drink it immediately.'...Shiva released his perfect seed....Agni took it into his hands and drank it, rejoicing, thinking 'Elixir!'". If it doesn't have a sexual connetation in mainstream Hindu beliefs, it is easy to see how some commentators consider it to have one. Is this text not in the mainstream version of the orginal at all, or is it interpreted differently? Your expertise would be very welcome, as i am limited to English commentaries.YobMod 15:46, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

[1] authored by Wendy Donginer (author of Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Shiva) as well as Devdutt p. 61 tells the story of Skanda and talks of sexual union and resultant semen, the reason to separate Skanda was given wrong. The true reason was the even the gods of heaven feared the son of Shiva and Uma would be too powerful. Shiva giving Agni may be interpretated as sexual connotation, but the fact remains the semen was a result of heterosexual union of Shiva and Parvati, which is hidden here. Another fact hidden is Agni does not produce a child of Shiva, but transports the seed (Skanda - the chief Sanskrit name of Kartikkeya used in the epics - means seed or semen) to the care-taker mothers Krittika or Matrikas or to river Ganges, who gives birth to a child. I support "According to xxxx in the book yyyy" as the interpreataion of the legends is not universal. As noted above, obscure instances from Hinduism are noted, but things like Shikhandi and Arjuna as Vrihannada from epic Mahabharata, which are not disputed are not covered. Without the mention of the Hijra/ third sex, a section on hindu myth is incomplete. Also, things as Vishnu turning into a woman to unite with Shiva which are popular stories are not covered. Malini and Ganesha: "The man who was a woman and other queer tales of Hindu lore" is a RS, p. 116 of Devdutt states 13th century Kashmiri text (Jayadratha) as Kishan also does. It is the only version where the story is told. (some versions imply more than 1 version). Courtright is praised for the in detail coverage of Ganesha festival, but at the same time, it is criticized for the homoerotic mis-interpreataions by scholars (read reviews on jstor). --Redtigerxyz Talk 14:49, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
More misrepresentations: There is no mention of "the result of a massage given to Parvati by her handmaiden Malini" on Devdutt p. 16. That is pure WP:OR. The Malini story is as above. "Geneshas's trunk represented a flacid penis and his love of sweets indicated a desire to perform oral sex" is a fringe theory and an WP:UNDUE here, though the incident should be included in LGBT issues and Hinduism. "Agni, the god of fire, wealth and creative energy, is known for his homoerotic encounters that result in birth" is an OR, the other references indicate that seed was a result of a heterosexual encounter (important to be noted), and Agni was only the transporter. Śiva, the erotic ascetic By Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty p. 264 provides a literal translation of the Agni and Shiva incident, Agni is a bearer of the seed, produced as a result of the union of Shiva and Parvati. The seed could not fruit without a woman, so river Ganga bore it and finally threw it in the reeds, where the Krittikas found the child Skanda. Why does the article not on established myths like Shikandi, Vrinnanala (Arjuna), Ayyappa (a god born from the union of Shiva and Mohini, a female incarnation of Vishnu), Aravan instead of obscure myths like that of Ganesha? --Redtigerxyz Talk 06:52, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
It's a work in progress! I've had already added a paragrpah on Shikhandi and rewrote Genesha pointing out mainstream views and disagreements. I am reading up on Agni (there seem to be many different versions again, although i accept they all start with sex between Shiva and Pavrati and lead to Skanda getting the semen). I am not (purposely) misrepresenting any of the stories, i was trying to condense them as much as possible, as the Hindu section is already the biggest. But instead i will expand them all with all POVs, pointing out which are minority views, and we can worry about size later. Any links to sources criticising the minority views would be great (i added some, but if you already know them, it will be easier, as many i've found criticise the author but not specific probelms with the text's LGBT interpretation.).YobMod 09:39, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Added Vishnu/Mohini/Shiva and Ayyappa story.YobMod 10:37, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I know that it is NOT purposeful misrepresentation on your part, it however may be lack of full story in your references. The solution to condense the section would to concentrate main stories and remove UNDUE details like "The Pandyan king Rajasekhara of Pantalam find the baby Ayyappa/Shasta where it was dropped to the Earth and adopts him.". Discussion of Ganesha birth here is UNDUE as it is NOT a mainstream story, the chief scriptures Puranas along with the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, and Vedas (to a lesser extent) are the primary sources of Hindu mythology, they do not discuss the Malini story. "Courtright considers the birth to be "less auspicious" due to the lack of male input and use of bodily fluids such as sweat, but Ruth Vanita points out that Genesha's birth is considered amoungst the most auspicious by Hindus" Here Courtright and Vanita is not talking about Malini tale but the main tale of Parvati creating Ganesha from her body dirt and sweat. "In most depictions Genesha grows up to be celibate" is a false statement, on the contrary he is portrayed as married (consorts can vary) in North and Central India, it is only in south India (particularly Tamil Nadu) that Ganesha is celibate. Read FA Ganesha Consorts section as well as GA Consorts of Ganesha (separated from Ganesha for summary style, before FAC) --Redtigerxyz Talk 12:56, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
"Parvati who in the Shiva Purana fashioned him from clay to protect her from Shiva's advances." suggests that Parvati does not want a heterosexual partner. The legend says that Parvati who in the Shiva Purana fashioned him from clay to protect her from Shiva's advances, when she was taking her bath. She just wanted Ganesha to guard her privacy when she taking a bath." Feminist critic Chanul Chakrabati": Feminist critic induces a POV. "One of his names, Ganapati, suggests he is "metaphorically wedded" to the Ganas (similar to his brother god Kartikeya)." "metaphorically wedded" does not denote a sexual connotation. Can you please quote the exact sentences. --Redtigerxyz Talk 13:16, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Read The many faces of Murukan̲: the history and meaning of a South Indian godBy Fred W. Clothey, A. K. Ramanujan [2] which explains the relationship between Skanda (Kartikkeya), agni and Shiva. Agni is in the earliest legends depicted as the father of Skanda, but later due to his demotion in the Hindu panthenon, Shiva replaces him--Redtigerxyz Talk 13:25, 13 August 2009 (UTC).
Will do. I said "feminist" to show it is not the mainstream view, but i will provide a direct quote (the second source calls her a feminist). Also, i created LGBT themes in Hindu mythology as a sub-article of this and the LGBT issues in Hinduism article. So further expansion will happen there, and the text here changed to be a summary of that (of similar size to other religions.)YobMod 13:45, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Easy solution: Why are non-unanimous theories like Courtright centred on non-mainstream legends like Malini, been included, when there are enough mainstream, non-disputed legends available?

  • Ardhanari, Vishnu and Shiva, Aravan, Krittivasa Ramayana, Agni-Soma pair are undisputable. Arjuna as Vrihannala IMO should be included.
  • Disputable:
    • Ganesha: suggest remove and move section "The wisdom god Ganesha's conception.." and "The ascribing of sexual or LGBT themes.." as non-mainstream legends used. "suggesting that Geneshas's [sic] trunk represented a flacid penis and his love of sweets indicated a desire to perform oral sex" is a fringe theory, NOT a mythical tale in the truest sense.
    • Shiva and Agni: "Agni, the god of fire, wealth and creative energy, is known for his homoerotic encounters that result in birth". Reword as inaccurate. It is the heterosexual encounter between shiva and Parvati that results in birth (Parvati is declared the rightful mother of Skanda in most legends). Note that semen result of union of Parvati and shiva then continue "Agni asks Shiva to ejaculate into his hands.." Mahabharata has several versions of skanda birth tale in it thus "in one of versions of the skanda birth tale in the Mahabharata.." should be included. --Redtigerxyz Talk 13:56, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Because you choose not to include them? Wikipedia is a collaborative effort, i have only an interst in ensuring that interested readers find all the notable interpretations given, not only by the mainstream. Why do you wish to hide this information? I am adding stories as i find them in my research, and the Genesha stories are those i found first, no other reason. I am including mainstream versions, but this is the article about LGBT themes, hence will always have empahsis on researchers that consider them to exist. If you have a problem in the order i choose to read books, feel free to add mainstream interpretations of other LGBT-themed stories, or criticisms of minority views (as i have already requested), instead of simply criticising my work. Leaving only the mainstream accepted legends here, with mention of controversial readings is of course one of the options for summary style that the section here should have. 23:12, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I sugeest the summary should be: 1 paragraph introducing hindu mythoology and LGBT themes, 1 para on gender changes in gods (Shiva/Vishnu/Krishna etc), 1 para on other gender changes (Shikhandi etc), and final para on the disputed homoerotic encounters, mentioning only names and reason for dispute.YobMod 23:48, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
The suggested pattern is fine. "Easy solution" was a proposal, not a forcible imposition. I have not deleted any significant para of the Hindu section (using WP:BOLD) and my edits to the article are copyedit or link fixing. Everything is left to choice of the regular editors of this article. IMO, Ganesha stories do not the central LBGT content in Hindu myth, but largely depend on interpretations, the others are mainstream and notable. Only notable stories should be noted here, the others like Ganesha in the main article LGBT themes in Hindu mythology . Also "a flacid penis and his love of sweets indicated a desire to perform oral sex" interpratations are sexual in nature, NOT homoerotic by default.--Redtigerxyz Talk 04:05, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
O, i think we mostly agree. And once the article is finished, the mainstream stories will be the largest part of the text. (The sweets = oral sex can be expanded to say homosexual oral sex - the Vanitu source is a secondary source saying this, and i'm pretty sure Courtright implies this if not outright stating it. Later: added sources).
I've started a list at the sub article talk page for which stories are still missing, and what needs expansion. Feel free to add any i've missed!YobMod 08:58, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

I have see few issues with the text in this section:

  • "The ascribing of sexual or LGBT themes to Hindu deities by western academics has been criticised by Hindu religious scholars." — a weasel line and based on ref.
  • "Indian commentators considered the book to be intellectualised slander and simply incorrect, ..." Cannot find the exact phrases like "Indian commentators", "intellectualised slander" , and more of a synthesis. I have removed this line as well.

--Nvineeth (talk) 06:02, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the expansion! I saw the names of various scholars who had criticised the book, but had no idea which were most important to mention (which is why it became simply "Indian commentators", rather than the list of names you have given.)

"LGBT" vs. gender[edit]

I find it highly disturbing that we seem have numerous WP:SYNTHy articles on "LGBT and mytology", while a discussion of Gender and mythology more generally is absent.

"LGBT" is a 1990s neologism, used as the self-designation of an US subculture. "LGBT" cannot be used as a neutral or encyclopedic term in Wikipedia's voice. When we say "LGBT", we are always taking the "LGBT studies" viewpoint. There is nothing wrong with that, but it needs to be made clear that this is the case. "Gender" otoh is an established term that can well be used in Wikipedia's voice, and it is also a term of a wider scope that subsumes "LGBT". I therefore strongly recommend that we widen the scope of all "LGBT in mythology" to "Gender in mythology". This will enable us to cite academic sources dedicated to the article topic, avoiding WP:SYNTH.

For example, listing deities with ambiguous gender as "LGBT" is pure original synthesis. This is a very common topos in mythology and does not necessarily have anything to do with "LGBT" just because "T" means "Transgender". Deities with ambiguous or changing gender are very much an encyclopedic topics, but we need to discuss them based on WP:RS, sources published by actual academics speciaizing in mythology, not spurious "Queer reader in mythology" type publications. Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought. But my impression is that these series of articles are abusing WP as exactly that, namely for establishing a field of "LGBT mythography" that doesn't seem to be in existene anywhere else. --dab (𒁳) 15:12, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Numnerous books exist on this topic. Dismissing them because they are by gay authors is not legitimate, nor is claiming they are Americanised, even when written by Indian/Chinese/European authors. If you want LGBT to no longer be used, you should get consensus from the LGBT project, cos that was where it was decided, or even a RfC at a wider arena, as LGBT is used in dozens of article titles, including many about non-western topics. YobMod 20:49, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

This ought to be split into two articles[edit]

I think this article should be split into two articles: Homosexual themes in mythology and Transgender themes in mythology (or some variation of "transgender"). The two are distinct phenomena. Most examples and sources in the article make no connection between them. As it is, the article is incongruent. Take, for example, the tacking on of Hermaphroditus at the end of a substantial list of masculine loveships. Hermaphroditus is completely disconnected and forced onto the list. Unifying classical homosexuality and hermaphroditism appears to be original research, besides. Conflating the concepts of homosexuality and transgenderism has no obvious advantange here. And Wikipedia seems the less with no separate "Homosexuality in mythology" article. (talk) 23:39, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

The death of Ferdiad[edit]

Under European mythology, subsection Celtic and Welsh, a claim is made that in Cecile O'Rahilly's translation of the Cattle Raid of Cooley "Cúchulainn defeats Ferdiadh by piercing his anus with his "mysterious weapon" Gáe Bulg.[36][37][38]", implying that Cúchulainn defeated his opponent by sexually assaulting him. The original text, however, and the translation(s) cited, do not in any way suggest this.

For one, the Gáe Bulg is described as a martial feat, taught to Cúchullain by his master, Scathach; Ferdiad did not possess this feat. So if "mysterious weapon" means what I think the author of this edit means, Ferdiad has no penis....

"Cú Chulainn possessed no feat that Fer Diad had not, except only the feat of the gáe bulga. " Cecile O'Rahilly Táin Bó Cúalnge Recension 1 ( i The references cited by the editor, O'Rahilly's two recensions and Nora Chadwick's The Celts, make no suggestion that the murder of Ferdia was a sexual act, and in no way support the editor's implication. -- (talk) 23:00, 18 February 2013 (UTC)


I think this article has a problem with neutrality. It seems to have a gay-positive, anti-Christian tone, and there are places where the editor(s) sounds disappointed not to find LGBT parallels in some cultural mythologies. While my own views are in sync with this perspective, I think an encyclopedia article needs more detachment, it should describe what is and what was, not what we wish things were like, what we wished was present.

I also think it is interpretive of the editor to imply any hostility present, anywhere is due to Christian influences. Not doubt, there are strains of LGBT hostility in some Christian churches, it is actually an Old Testament stance, not a New Testament position. It appears to this reader that Christianity is being postulated as the cause for the absence of something that would otherwise exist. Even for an experienced historian, this is a causal link that is impossible to substantiate.

In general, this is a very well-done and an extensive article. But if it's tone could more detached, I think it would be a big improvement to the page. The editor(s) should have no stake in whether there are or aren't LGBT themes in a particular mythology and shouldn't be pleased to find ones they like and disappointed not to find ones where they are expected to be. Newjerseyliz (talk) 18:58, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Orphaned references in LGBT themes in mythology[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of LGBT themes in mythology's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 18:01, 5 June 2014 (UTC)


I think the Nerites page should be linked to the Greek section of this page. His myth involves his and Poseidon's mutual love creating Anteros. [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Useless article[edit]

This article smacks of LGBTQA± propaganda None of the Mythological figures mentioned wear tight speedos nor don the rainbow flag — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:15, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

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