People You Didn’t Know Were LGBTQ+

Did you know these famous figures from history were LGBTQ+?


Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon: a bisexual military genius who through the years had many partners and mistresses.

His most controversial relationship was with a young Persian eunuch named Bagoas, who Alexander kissed publicly at a festival of athletics and arts.

He died at the age of 32 in 323 BC.



James Baldwin

In his teen years, American novelist James Baldwin began to feel smothered for being both African American and gay in a typically racist and homophobic America.

Baldwin escaped to France where he wrote essays critiquing race, sexuality and class structures.

He brought to light the challenges and complexities black and LGBT+ people had to face at the time.

He died in 1987 at the age of 63.



Alan Turing

Mathematician Alan Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial moments and in so doing helped win World War Two.

In 1952, Turing was convicted for having a relationship with 19-year-old Arnold Murray. At the time it was illegal to engage in gay sex, and Turing underwent chemical castration.

He took his own life at the age of 41 after using cyanide to poison an apple.

Turing was eventually pardoned in 2013, which led to new legislation pardoning all gay men under historical gross indecency laws.

He was named ‘The Greatest Person of the 20th Century’ by the BBC.




The French author and legend Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, better known as Colette, lived openly as a bisexual woman and had relationships with many prominent queer ladies including Napoleon’s niece Mathilde ‘Missy’ de Morny.

Police were called to the Moulin Rouge back in 1907 when Colette and Missy shared a kiss on the iconic stage.

Best known for her novel ‘Gigi’, Colette also wrote the ‘Claudine’ series, which follows the titular character who ends up despising her husband and has an affair with another woman.

Colette died in 1954 at the age of 81.




Tab Hunter

Tab Hunter was Hollywood’s all-American boy and the ultimate heartthrob who made his way into the hearts of every teenage girl (and gay boy) around the world.

One of Hollywood’s most high-profile romantic leads, he was arrested in 1950 for disorderly conduct, connected to his rumoured homosexuality.

After a successful career, he wrote an autobiography in 2005 where he publicly acknowledged he was gay for the first time.

He had a long-term relationship with Psycho star Anthony Perkins and figure skater Ronnie Robertson before marrying his partner of more than 35 years, Allan Glaser.

Three days before his 87th birthday in 2018, he died of a cardiac arrest.



Rock Hudson

Rock Hudson was an American actor, generally known for his turns as a leading man during the 1950s and 1960s and was viewed as a prominent “heartthrob” of the Hollywood Golden Age.

Although Hudson was discreet about his privacy throughout his life, the fact that he was gay was reportedly known in the film industry.

In 1955, Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson’s secret homosexuality.

Soon after the Confidential incident, Hudson married his agent Henry Willson’s secretary Phyllis Gates. She filed for divorce after three years in April 1958, citing mental cruelty.

Unknown to the public, Hudson was diagnosed with HIV in 1984, just three years after the emergence of the first cluster of symptomatic patients in the US. He was one of the first celebrities to die of AIDS related illness.