Archeologists show that ancient communities respected their LGBT members. Why can't we?
Archeologists in the Czech Republic have discovered what they're calling the first homosexual caveman:
The male body – said to date back to between 2900-2500BC – was discovered buried in a way normally reserved only for women of the Corded Ware culture in the Copper Age ... with its head pointing eastwards and surrounded by domestic jugs.
Previously, a female warrior from the Mesolithic period was found buried in the style of a man, again suggesting that she was a homosexual. Lead archeologist Katerina Semradova is calling these types of graves "transsexual" or "third gender" graves, and she adds that "people from this period took funeral rites very seriously so it is highly unlikely that this positioning was a mistake."
If Semradova is right, not only do we have evidence that modern culture isn't making people gay—as some conservatives would have us believe—we've got proof that at least some caveman cultures treated gays and lesbians with respect.
Just last year, 43 percent of American adults said they believed homosexual relations are "wrong." And gays are well aware that that intolerance can lead to violence: In 2009, nearly 1,500 members of America's LGBT community were attacked because of their sexual orientation, and those are just the cases about which the law knows. Elsewhere, around the world, many gays and lesbians are murdered as a matter of routine (a vile brand of hatred to which the United States is certainly not immune). In other words, not only can many people still not find it within themselves to believe that a man loving another man is not "wrong," many can't find it within themselves to not want to hit or kill a gay person.
This is 2011. The skeleton found this week is nearly 5,000 years old, and it showed no signs of a violent death. The gay caveman was buried with dignity according to the rituals of his community, and he rested in peace for millennia.
If you ever had an inkling that cavemen were more advanced than the Westboro Baptists, you were right.\n
UPDATE: A few anthropologists, including one Kristina Killgrove at the University of North Carolina, have been challenging the use of the word "gay" in this context. Also, it seems "caveman" is not the best label. "Gender transgressive proto-human" might be more accurate.