Did you know that in medieval French folklore a person might change sex by passing under a rainbow? Or that same-sex unions have been celebrated by peoples of the ancient Mediterranean, Africa, China, and indigenous America? Or that Sappho, da Vinci, Emily Dickinson, Nijinsky, Benjamin Britten, Mishima, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Keith Haring, Boy George, and Derek Jarman number among those who have explored the spiritual dimension of gender and sexuality in their works? While the terms many of us employ today to identify ourselves – ‘queer’, ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’, ‘transgendered’ – differ markedly from those of peoples of other times and places, we are nevertheless the bearers of a rich spiritual history that has been ignored or suppressed, a history encoded in sacred texts as well as in works of art, music, dance and other media. Drawing upon religion, mythology, folklore, anthropology, history and the arts, the Encyclopedia is a cornucopia of queer spirituality, containing over 1,500 alphabetically arranged entries from Aakulujjuusi to Zeus.
By Randy P. Conner, David Hatfield Sparks, and Mariya Sparks, 1997