Saint Patrick’s Day is a time for celebration world-wide, with green beer, shamrocks and leprechaun hats everywhere you look. But did you know that there is some evidence to suggest that good old St Paddy may have been gay? He was actually just one of a surprising number of possibly queer martyrs and saints in Christian history. We here at GV couldn’t be happier to hear the news! Read on to find out more and don’t forget to scroll to the end to see our staff’s favourite picks for a show stopping St. Patrick’s Day outfit!
Brian Lacey presents some points in his book on Irish gay history, Terrible Queer Creatures, which supports the theory that Patrick may have had a long term intimate gay relationship. He refers to a time when Patrick visited a man, converted him to Christianity and then fell for the man’s son. The man, who allegedly refused to sleep anywhere apart from at Patrick’s side, went on to become his life-long companion.
Not convinced yet? So…Patrick was initially brought to Ireland as a Roman slave, and slaves, regardless of gender, were consistently used for sexual purposes. Fortunately he did manage to flee, but returned later to undertake the evangelising of Ireland. There is a claim that he worked as a gay prostitute in order to fund his way back.
OK so it’s pretty flimsy stuff, but in the face of the fact that Christianity has persistently stood against sexual minorities, but there does seem to have been a high number of people over the ages based in church history that we would consider to be queer. These people went on to achieve high positions such as popes and bishops or even honoured as saints.
In fact, there are many bishops who wrote openly erotic love letters and poetry to one another and popes who slept with men and commissioned obviously homoerotic paintings from the famous Renaissance artists of the time. Plus people we would now call trans men – biological women, who lived as men in male-only monasteries.
So if while you’re downing your Guinness and waving your shamrocks over the weekend, you have the misfortune to encounter any homophobic abuse, just remember that St Paddy was (allegedly) queer!