Queer representation in the world of art is a road less trodden. The Seven Wonders of the World is definitely a historically enriching experience for all. But once we look further, we will discover places where there are seven wonders specific to the LGBTQIA+ community as well that symbolize the rich history of the community.
Let us revisit some of the places around the globe, that are the Seven LGBTQIA+ wonders of the world.
Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli, Italy
Roman emperor Hadrian, best known for the Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England, is considered to be either gay or bisexual. Hadrian and his partner Antinous are one of the most famous homosexual couples in Roman history. Antinous’ death overcame Hadrian with such grief, that he built a city near the site of his death, named Antinopolis.
Hadrian’s villa is indeed a sight to see, with its gardens, theaters, fountains, temples and baths. Villa Adriana or Hadrian’s Villa was a place of lavish leisure as well as a place of business of the Roman Empire. Today, it is a World Heritage Site and is one of the most visited archeological sites in the country.
Khajuraho Temples, Madhya Pradesh, India
In India, one can spot various historical evidence of LGBTQIA+ art, often carved in stone in temples. The Khajuraho group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh is richly decorated with beautiful carvings, especially that of sexual acts, including same-sex activity. These erotic sculptures prove that homosexuality was considered normal rather than an ‘anomaly’. These monuments are a friendly reminder for us to learn from our past to create a healthy future.
Lesbos and its famous poet, Sappho gave the world two new words- lesbian and Sapphic. The Greek Island is a growing favorite travel spot among the queer community, nestled in the blue waters of Aegean Sea and with its quaint towns. Also called Lesvos, it is now regarded as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Castro, San Francisco, US
The history of Castro goes back to World War II. When the US military discharged thousands of gay and bi servicemen, due to their sexuality, most of them settled in San Francisco. They were able to acquire large amounts of real estate for the LGBTQIA+ community to move into. In 1963, the first official gay bar called Missouri Mule was opened. One of the most famous residents in Castro was politician Harvey Milk, who is also openly gay. The Castro continues to grow and serve as a symbol of hope for queer people around the world.
Stonewall Inn, New York, USA
Widely regarded as the birthplace of modern LGBTQIA+ rights after the 1969 riots, the Stonewall Inn is a gay bar and a national historic landmark. It holds a significant place in gay and lesbian history, also becoming an important landmark in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights. The events that unfolded in Stonewall inn led to the formation of major gay activist groups in the US like Gay Liberation Front and Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR).
Named after Alexander the Great, the city is a thriving tourist spot. Historians regard the ruler as bisexual, having two significant male relationships. The first was Hephaistion, his childhood best friend and the second a Persian named Bagoas. But this queer presence in the city’s history pages does not hide the fact that it still criminalizes homosexuality.
Memorial to Homosexuals persecuted in Nazism, Berlin
Berlin was a safe haven for the queer community until the Nazi rule, wherein they made gay sex illegal in 1935. Gays and lesbians were sent to camps as they were persecuted for their sexuality. But even after the end of Nazi rule, homosexuality did not become legal across Germany until 1969. The Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted under Nazism is in Berlin near the main Holocaust memorial. It is a large concrete box but if you look through the window, one can see a short film depicting a kiss by a same-sex couple.