Meet the 29 Hottest Gay Brains in History

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Throughout history, many of humanity’s greatest minds have been those of homosexual men. Authors, artists, playwrights, philosophers—if you can think of an academic or artistic field, chances are some of the best brains were queer brains. And yet, those with widely-remembered legacies are often folks with bulging biceps and chiseled faces. Well, we’re working to rectify that! We’ve compiled this list of some of the sexiest gay thinkers to grace our history books.

Walt Whitman By Eakins 0
Walt Whitman
Whitman was a poet, essayist, and journalist in the 1800s, best known for his collection of poems, Leaves of Grass, which he continued adding to and revising throughout his life. His work glorified the male body and was widely regarded as obscene for its homosexual undertones.
Photo Credit: Thomas Cowperthwaite Eakins
James Baldwin 4 Allan Warren
James Baldwin
Baldwin was an essayist, poet, playwright, and novelist active through much of the 20th century. His beloved collected essays, Notes of a Native Son, explored race, gender, and sexuality during a time when it was hardly acceptable to be black and gay in America. He’s widely regarded as one of the most important and prolific American writers of all time.
Photo Credit: Allan Warren
Jack Kerouac Naval Reserve Enlistment 1943
Jack Kerouac 
Kerouac was the author of On the Road and The Sea is My Brother, and was a pioneer of the Beat movement. During his lifetime, Kerouac's work was turned down by publishers who didn’t want to risk obscenity charges for the homosexual themes present. He was a good friend of fellow Beat writers William S. Borroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg was a Beat poet best known for his seminal work, Howl, which was the subject of an obscenity trial in 1957 because of its description of homosexual sex (sodomy laws at the time made gay sex illegal). The judge ruled in Ginsberg’s favor, saying, “Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemisms?”
Photo Credit: Photo by Hans van Dijk/Anefo
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Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim is one of the most prolific composers and lyricists of all time. He wrote the music for many of Broadway’s greatest hits, including Company, Sweeney Todd, Follies, and Into the Woods. He’s won an Oscar, eight Tonys, eight Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and countless more awards for his music.
Photo Credit: Jerry Jackson/ Courtesy HBO
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Bayard Rustin
Rustin was a lead stategist of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 to 1968. Throughout his lifetime he made a profound impact on the equality of the black and gay communities.
Oscar Wilde Cr
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde was an Irish playwright and novelist, best known for The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. He was sent to prison for two years after his homosexual relationship, which violated indecency laws of the time, was exposed.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Richard Coeur De Lion
Richard Coeur De Lion
King Richard I of England ruled during the latter half of the 12th century. By age 16, he had assumed command of an army and was already squashing rebellions across the land. Rumors of his homosexuality have long been contested by historians, but many argue in favor of his gay relationship with King Philip II.
Photo Credit: Merry-Joseph Blondel via Wikipedia
Christopher Isherwood
Christopher Isherwood
Isherwood was an English novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, known for such work as Goodbye to Berlin, his 1939 novel, which eventually was adapted into one of the all-time greatest hits Broadway has ever known: Cabaret. Isherwood was openly gay and surrounded himself with literary friends, including W.H. Auden and Dodie Smith, author of The Hundred and One Dalmations.
Photo Credit: Allan Warren
Alan Turing Aged 16
Alan Turing
We have Alan Turing to thank for founding theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. The 2014 Hollywood biopic The Imitation Game documented Alan Turing’s journey to crack the enigma code, which allowed the Allies of World War II to intercept Nazi codes and shortened the war significantly. In 1952, Turing was prosecuted for homosexual acts, which was criminal at the time in the United Kingdom. Instead of going to prison, he accepted DES treatment. He committed suicide two years later.
James Buchanan
James Buchanan
Buchanan was the 15th president of the United States and served right before the Civil War. Yes, we’ve (maybe) had a gay president! Buchanan is often argued to be homosexual by writers, and is the only president to remain a bachelor his entire life. He lived with his close friend, former Vice President William Rufus King, in a boarding house for 10 years.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
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Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates
Okay, no, we can’t confirm that three of the history’s greatest philosophers were all steadfast homosexuals. However, we can tell you this: Ancient Greek culture widely encouraged and embraced the behavior of older men taking on adolescent male lovers as sex servants of sorts. The practice was called pederasty and it was all the rage in ancient Athens.
Photo Credit: Soham Banerjee via Flickr
Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes helped create jazz poetry, a genre that was heavily influenced by jazz forms, rhythms, and sounds. Though Hughes’ sexuality is contested by some, homosexual themes were prevalent in many of his works, including the widely read story “Blessed Assurance,” which examines a father’s anger over his son’s effeminate demeanor.
Photo Credit: Carl Van Vechten
Ralph Waldo Emerson Ca1857 Retouched
Ralph Waldo Emerson 
Emerson was an essayist, poet, and the leader of the mid-19th century Transcendentalist Movement, which he created the theory for in his 1836 essay, “Nature.” Emerson was never a publicly out gay man, though we do know he wrote sexually charged poetry for at least one boy he found himself attracted to while attending Harvard University.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
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Countee Cullen
Countee Cullen was another prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Cullen was a poet and author who attended NYU and went on to pursue his Master's in English at Harvard University. His poetry and books, like Color and The Ballad of the Brown Girl, endure to this day in the literary zeitgeist. 
Photo Credit: Carl Van Vechten/Library of Congress
Noel Coward Allan Warren Edit 1
Noel Coward
Noel Coward was a playwright from London known for what Time magazine has described as “a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise.” He wrote over 50 plays during the course of his career, and several of them—Hay Fever, Private Lives, and Design for Living, to name a few—remain in the modern repertoire to this day.
Photo Credit: Allan Warren
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Gore Vidal
American writing legend Gore Vidal is the author of roughly 25 novels, two memoirs and several essays, along with plays, screenplays, and dramas. During his second run for office in the state of New York, he was famously quoted saying, “There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.”
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Larry Kramer 
Originally from Connecticut, Larry Kramer is an American playwright and author. He is known for writing the screenplay for the film Women In Love and his controversial novel Faggots.
Photo Credit: The Advocate
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Tony Kushner
Playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner won the Pulitzer prize for his play Angels in Americas. He is also known for his work on the films Munich and Lincoln.
Photo Credit: Franchise41/Wikipedia
Ifti Nasim Photo
Ifti Nasim
Ifti Nasim was a Pakistani, openly gay poet and activist who fled to Chicago at age 21 to avoid persecution and an arranged marriage. He founded the advocacy grounp SANGAT/Chicago and penned various transformative works including Narman, considered by many the first published book of gay poetry in the language of Urdu.
Photo Credit: GLAAD
Truman Capote
Truman Capote
American author Truman Capote is famous for works like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, which is credited with the start of the "true crime" genre. More than 20 films have been produced from his works.
Photo Credit: Photo by Roger Higgins/New York World-Telegram and Sun
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Leonardo da Vinci
One of history’s greatest artists and inventors, da Vinci is the man behind that not-so-esoteric painting The Mona Lisa, as well as The Last Supper.
Photo Credit: Franceso Melzi
Michelangelo
Michelangelo
The Italian icon from the High Renaissance era is known for his paintings, sculptures, and poems. Some of his best known works include the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and The Last Judgment.
Photo Credit: Daniele da Volterra via Wikipedia
John Gielgud   1953
John Gielgud 
An acclaimed actor of the British stage, Gielgud was a master of Shakespeare and modern comedy. In the 1950s, he started his Hollywood film career in Julius Caesar, also starring Marlon Brando. Gielgud was arrested in 1953 for cruising. While the public supported him, he would keep his sexuality private for the rest of his life.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Edmund White
Edmund White
White is famous for his early fiction and essays on queer life in America. He also helped found instrumental global gay men’s groups, including the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
Photo courtesy of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection/NYPL
Em Forster
EM Forster
A Room with a View, A Passage to India, Howards End—English author E.M. Forster wrote incomparable novels that earned him Nobel Prize consideration throughout his life. The novel most gay readers know him for, Maurice, did not appear until after his death—where he discussed his struggle with sexuality in Victorian England.
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John Knowles
An America novelist, Knowles revealed he was gay shortly after his first novel, A Separate Peace, became a success. The friendship between the two young men in the novel is often interpreted as romantic, but nothing is clearly stated in the book.
George Washington Carver Crop
George Washington Carver 
Carver was a famous botanist and the head of agriculture at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. His research resulted in improved crop rotations for turn-of-the-century farms that restored nitrogen to the soil—and yes, several personal products derived from peanuts. He never married, and several biographies have hinted at his queer sexual orientation.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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