About the Film

Emmy Award-winner John Scagliotti guides us in a wondrous tour of erotic history, poetry and visual art in this point-of-view documentary on same-sex desire from ancient times to Victorian crimes. He explores how the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the growth of LGBT political power in the 1990s cleared the path for artists and scholars to re-discover pre-20th century same-sex desires. With dozens of experts he revels in lesbian love spells from ancient Rome, censored chapters of the Kamasutra, Native American two-spirit rituals and more. A prequel to Before Stonewall, Before Homosexuals unearths the garden of human sexual delights and the endurance and creativity of “an army of lovers”.

From the Director

Our film, “After Stonewall” allowed us to show how every institution had to change in the late 20th century to accommodate the millions of LGBT people who came out making demands for justice and equality. That liberating process in the late 20th century also helped the producers find this newly uncovered material of early same-sex love and desire that now makes up the film “Before Homosexuals.”

“While [we were] making ‘Before Stonewall’ there were no LGBT archives. In order to make the film, [we] had to interview hundreds of people from all over America. They provided us with the material and history that we needed. This film ‘Before Homosexuals’ is our history. This is the history lesson that we all need. This film is the affirmation of same-sex love that was etched in stone some 2,500 years ago.”

– John Scagliotti, Director of “Before Homosexuals”, interviewed by Steve Duffy, EDGE Media Network

What People Are Saying About “Before Homosexuals”

“… And as all of this unending plethora of LGBT historical information went on and on and on, we were so amazed by all of this new material about our people that the film had this profound effect on both of us, because for the first time in one place here was ALL of our history, from cavemen days all the way up to modern times AND THERE IS SO MUCH HISTORY ABOUT US!!! ”

– Ali Naro, Writer, Movies Over the Rainbow


“Before Homosexuals” Educational Chapter List

Chapter 1: Saving Gay History

  • Ancient same-sex is found around the world
  • The importance of saving gay history

Chapter 2: Explosion of Grassroots and Academic Research

  • The gay perspective
  • Censoring the Kamasutra
  • Michelangelo’s David

Chapter 3: Gay Genes in the Ancient Mediterranean and East Asia

  • The gay gene
  • No word for “homosexual”
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient Greece
  • The gays saved Democracy?
  • Sappho
  • Ancient Rome
  • Roman Lesbian Love Spells
  • The Warren Cup
  • The cult of Anitnous
  • Imperial China

Chapter 4: Macho, Macho Men (at War)

  • The Sacred Band of Thebes
  • Achilles and Patroclus
  • Japanese Samurai

Chapter 5: Third Gender Stories

  • Native American Two-Spirits
  • The Hijras of India
  • Catalina and Maverick Women

Chapter 6: Marriage in the Old Days

  • Roman Emperor Nero
  • Sisterhood Sigeh
  • Female Marriage Resistors of China
  • Beguine Women
  • Same-sex Love in Persian Temples

Chapter 7: Christian Missionaries and The Inquisition

  • Leviticus and The Old Testament
  • Jesus and St. Paul in the New Testament
  • Christian Missionaries in the Pacific, Africa, and the New World
  • Blame the Gays! A crusade against sodomy

Chapter 8: The Classics Are Used Again and Again

  • The Italian Renaissance
  • Classic Myths as Safe Haven for Expression
  • Zeus and Ganymede
  • Michelangelo’s Love Poetry to Cavalieri
  • The Sordid Reputation of Florence
  • Court Records as Evidence of Budding Community
  • The Molly Houses and The Mollies of 18th Century London

Chapter 9: Liberation of the Spirit in the 19th Century

  • Ulrichs and The First Modern Coming Out Story
  • A New Name to Call Ourselves
  • Edward Carpenter
  • Magnus Hirschfeld and the Science of Sex
  • Walt Whitman’s Call to Arms

Chapter 10: Victorian Crimes and Rise of the Rebellion

  • The Rise and Fall of Oscar Wilde
  • The Trial of Oscar Wilde

Chapter 11: The Early 20th Century, The Rebellion Continues

  • What’s Comes Next?

If you are representing an educational institution or grassroots, non-profit organization and would like to purchase an educational license or rent the film for a screening, please visit our Educational and Grassroots Organizations page for more information.

Share this with your friends!