Monday, March 7, 2011

St. Sebastian: Patron of Gay and Bi Men

Whatever the historical truth may be, we symbolically adopt Sebastian as protective patron of all the gay and bi brothers (and sisters) this blog reaches.  May they live in security, peace and love….

Note: A beautiful rendering of Sebastian is in the photograph below by David Vance.  For additional photos of Sebastian in the art world, check some the sources listed below and the February 15, 2011 posting on 

The story of this saint is shrouded in legend and myth, but his identity over time has grown, depicting him as a gay (or bi) man who gave his life for his faith, thus becoming a martyr (and automatically a saint).

Sebastian (d. 288 A.D.) served as a captain, an archer in Emperor Diocletian’s Roman Praetorian Guard.  According to tradition, Sebastian was known as one of the emperor’s favorites, suggesting they had an intimate relationship.  Diocletian (244-311 A.D.) turned on Sebastian when he discovered that his consort was a Christian, outed for that when he came to the defense of fellows he had converted to the new faith.

What interests us here, however, is the standing he has acquired as an iconic figure underscoring the sacred nature of our sexual orientations or identities as men: straight, gay or, for bisexuals like this blogger, men with a gay side.  This sacredness is part of our humanity regardless of any religious or cultural identity we use to define ourselves.

Given the ongoing interest in this subject, we’ll add more on Sebastian in future blog entries.

Additional sources worth checking re: the impact of this gay/bi icon on fine arts:


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