Queerty Queens: Akhenaten

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Today’s gay celebrity is the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. He or she reigned from 1372 – 1354BC. Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme (the more things change, the more they stay the same); Akhenaten married Nefertiti and later on figured out he was with the wrong titis.

This ancient fag was sometimes called ‘the Heretic Pharaoh’ because he ditched the old gods and founded a cult of the sun. During his gay rule, the arts flourished; style changed from mannered representation to a more sensuous realism. Akhenaten, often shown in art with swollen hips and feminine breasts, was repeatedly depicted caressing Smenkhare, his son-in-law.

Homosexuality in ancient Egypt is less out in today’s society than is all the romping that took place in ancient Greece because 1) ancient Egyptian erotic art hasn’t made its way into public museums and 2) people would rather go out dancing than interpret hieroglyphs on papyrus. Yet those who study these matters have concluded that the ancient Egyptians shaved their pubis and were circumcised to avoid smegma. Generally, the deeper you dig into ancient Egyptian history, the queerer things get; way before Akhenaten there were Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep, both males and “royal manicurists,” buried together with their noses touching and their hands intertwined.