Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => The Hesse-Darmstadts (Hesse and by Rhine) => Topic started by: grandduchessella on May 15, 2004, 11:19:19 PM

Title: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on May 15, 2004, 11:19:19 PM
I posted a thread regarding this on a different board, but got very few responses apart from a very rude Frenchman who posted about 10 times to complain about my poor American manners in referring to the GD as Ernie and calling me a "cowboy" for doing so. So, I decided to ask here where it's more civil.  :)

It's become all but accepted historical fact that GD Ernest was gay, or at the least bisexual. It's reprinted in countless books, articles, etc...I don't have an issue with this one way or the other or an agenda in protecting someones reputation. I am just curious as to whether the only sources emanate from his ex-wife Victoria Melita? All the information seem to flow from either her or a member of her family. Has anyone ever heard corroborating evidence from an objective bystander or historian? It seems Victoria Melita did possess a bit of a mean streak (though I still like her!) and an unforgiving nature, I wouldn't put it past her to have spread stories about Ernest that, given the times, would've been very damaging. Anyone know anything more?
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm8571 on May 15, 2004, 11:41:24 PM
In the books and articles I've read, the only people who have actually been named as saying or implying that Ernest was gay or bisexual are Victoria Melita, her sister Queen Marie of Rumania, and her niece Princess Ileana of Rumania. One of the biographies I have of Victoria Melita -- the one by Sullivan -- lists in its footnotes a 1980 interview with Ileana, who was by then a nun called Mother Alexandra. Ileana referred to Ernest's "disgusting nature" and apparently said that her aunt told her she arrived home unexpectedly and found Ernest in bed with one of the servant boys. Victoria Melita apparently told Ileana this story when the Rumanian government put an end to Ileana's engagement because her fiance had been involved in a homosexual scandal.

One of the biographies I have of Victoria Melita -- the one by van der Kiste -- alludes to whispered rumors in the Hessian capitol about Ernest visiting a mistress in the city and having an unusually warm regard for the stableboys and servant boys. I don't see names for any of the Hessians who knew this listed in the footnotes. On the other hand, the old story about "where there's smoke there's fire" might apply here. It's not the kind of thing they'd have discussed openly in the early part of the century, or even in the 1940s.

I also see little reason for Victoria Melita or her sister or her niece to make up a story like that. They certainly could have found other ways to destroy Ernest's reputation had they wanted to. I haven't read anything suggesting that Victoria Melita ever told anyone but her close family members or that the story was published during Ernest's lifetime.

Reading about them, I think Victoria Melita, her sisters, daughters and mother all were quite capable of acting selfishly and being unpleasant. Baby Bee flirted with her cousin Victoria Eugenie's husband. Victoria Melita's daughter Masha apparently competed with her cousin Ileana for male attention and strained relations between Victoria Melita and Marie. But were Victoria Melita or Marie or Ileana evil enough to make up such a story? I don't think so.

Victoria Melita was married off young to a man who apparently didn't want her sexually; she was completely unsuited to him and to the role of grand duchess and probably to motherhood. She is viewed with disapproval in the present day and was back then because she wasn't willing to accept her lot and be miserable. She dared to say, "I'm entitled to some personal happiness," to seek out a divorce and marry a man she really did love and want. It was clearly the best choice for both her and Ernest, regardless of what his sexual orientation really was.

I'm not sure why the rude Frenchman threw a conniption fit over your calling him "Ernie." The whole lot of them interest me because they're people, not because they're royal. Blue blood didn't make them perfect or keep them from having tragedies and scandals. They're all dead now and their thrones are extinct, so what does it matter anymore?
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Thomas_A. on May 16, 2004, 04:26:43 AM

awkward awkward...
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Greg_King on May 16, 2004, 06:47:00 AM
At the risk of offending sensibilities, this is what history is, and what history involves.  There is a vast difference between prurient interest in someone’s personal life and in examining and analyzing that life for the purposes of research and evaluation.  The Grand Duke is a historical figure; by virtue of this-and to claims made concerning his sexuality-it is a legitimate subject for historical debate and discussion.  On this board posters have speculated liaisons or illegitimate children-certainly personal topics, raised by someone who could not possibly have known them-and I have not seen anything other than reasoned discourse.  Why, then, the reaction over the Grand Duke’s personal life?  Having worked with Penny for the past year on our new biography of the Grand Duke, this subject has demanded research and analysis, and I may add here that there is much more at play than a simple accusation by his former wife as filtered through her niece.  What bothers me most about this is not only that legitimate historical interest and investigation is being slighted, but also the tone, often observed, that somehow Ernst Ludwig is “maligned” as one author put it, by raising the question, or by assuming that perhaps Victoria Melita spoke the truth.  And while I recognize that some hold beliefs different than myself, the implication that if the Grand Duke was gay he is somehow diminished is personally untenable to me.  Let’s suppose, for a moment, that the Grand Duke was homosexual.  Does this detract from his life or work?  Does it undo his establishment of the Kuntslerkolonie in Darmstadt, and his important patronage?  Does it lessen the impact he had on his subjects?  Does it mark him out as undeserving of respect for his achievements?  The answer is, No.  The Grand Duke’s sexuality alters nothing of his accomplishments, nor lessens his unique position in Hessian history, nor does it cast his life as anything less than extraordinary by any circumstance.  In fact, given his times, his position, and the demands incumbent upon him, the Grand Duke’s life and accomplishments would be all the more remarkable and admirable had he been forced to live a charade for public consumption.  This is not a question of insinuation and whispering, but a legitimate item of historical interest.  More to the point, supposing the Grand Duke was homosexual, does history not owe him the recognition of that part of himself that convention dictated remain hidden?  Does it not owe to him acknowledgment of a remarkable life lived under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, a grant of understanding in death that not only underscores his achievements but portrays a historical background against which he would not only have struggled but risen triumphantly?  The catastrophes of his life assume a new, more poignant resonance if he indeed was forced to conceal that most intrinsic and important part of his identity, not as a Grand Duke, but as a human being.  If the Grand Duke was not homosexual, he remains a remarkably accomplished man; if he was, then his struggle was all the greater, his life that much richer, his courage that much more exemplary.

Greg King
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm8571 on May 16, 2004, 08:51:10 AM
I would have thought it was a given that Grand Duke Ernest's many accomplishments would not be diminished if he was, in fact, gay.

By all accounts he was a good father, amusing, artistic, sensitive; took his role as Grand Duke seriously, particularly as he matured; and cared for shell-shocked soldiers in his own home after World War I. All in all, a very admirable man. More knowledge about his private life and sexual orientation could only add dimension, as far as I can see. I think truth -- the whole truth -- is always better than 100-year-old historical cover-ups or myths.

I don't think such discussions should be at all off-limits when we're analyzing the life of a man who was, as Mr. King pointed out, a historical figure who had an impact on events that probably affect our own lives today.

If Ernest was gay or bisexual, it's relevant to discuss how he lived with that fact in a time when it was even less accepted than it is now. I don't think there is anything wrong with saying so if he was, or that he would have been wrong to be so, by the way. He would have been a victim of the marriage as much as Victoria Melita. If he was NOT, on the other hand, it's certainly time to refute the stories, isn't it? I will be interested in reading what I'm sure will be a well-researched, thorough, thoughtful biography of a multi-faceted man by Mr. King.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm8571 on May 16, 2004, 12:01:19 PM
I think you're overlooking the fact that his private life was as much a part of his life as his public life and, in fact, is a legitimate topic of research. It's even more so if one is writing a biography.

Apparently you would prefer that we no longer speculate about any aspect of the private lives of these people we are all obviously fascinated with. So there should be no more discussion then of Nicholas and Alexandra's love for one another and relationship with Rasputin -- Nicholas considered that none of the public's business, after all. There should be no further readings of the private letters or diaries they probably never intended to be published. No more should we discuss Nicholas's love affair with the ballet dancer, or Alix's rejection of Prince Eddy, the stupid cousin who might have been King of England. Alexei's hemophila is certainly off limits, since they did not wish anyone to know about it. In short, one should look only at what they chose to make public during their lifetimes and should view them with all due reverence. Of course, all of that is history. If someone hadn't gone digging into their private lives we wouldn't know anything about it or understand them or sympathize with them. The secrets of Ernest's life are no more sacrosanct than were his sister's. I like and sympathize more with the man because I see from these biographies that he was a man and not a plaster saint.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: JM on May 16, 2004, 01:02:55 PM
Quote
Among other things, a problem with your reasoning is that in the absence of reliable information about a person's private life, people who are 'fascinated' with someone will tend to fill in the void with their own ideas, which of course is a fallacy.

There is a natural tendency to look for attributes in historical figures that mirrors their own experience in life.  That is why serious historical, philosophical and scientific inquiries rely greatly on positivistic methods, such as reliable historical records, logic, and scientific law instead of such epistemically poor but literary rich schools of thought such as psychoanalysis or deconstruction to analyze persons or history.  It is too easy for the analysis to become a mirror of the analyst, and not on the figure studied.

The fact is Ernie's life was nothing like any of our own.  None of us wore his shoes, or experienced what he experienced, or had the responsibilities that he had.  Therefore, to measure his world against the values of our own is simply erroneous and won't present a true picture of the man or his life.


I think you underestimate people, Rodger. You claim that "people who are 'fascinated' with someone will tend to fill in the void with their own ideas." Perhaps some do, but generally speaking we can not assume that this is what tends to happen. I'm sure most people that take the subject seriously are not likely to "fill in the void" with what "mirrors" their own lives.

Are we not allowed explore ideas and claims just because they may not be accepted as a historical fact?

Do we have to conform to accpeted theories when trying to understand a person?

Now don't get me wrong. I like source notes at the end of my books. However, if there is some evidence that points in a new direction. I think it is perfectly alright to discuss it in an honest and reasonable manner.

It is my personal opinion that this is a place for discussion. If we need a place to discuss what is and isn't up for speculation somone should start a new thread.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm8571 on May 16, 2004, 01:15:16 PM
I would consider Princess Ileana to be a relatively reliable source of information.

I'm sure Mr. King will conduct research into many aspects of the Grand Duke's life and will cite his sources for any information he uncovers when he writes the biography. Quoting gossip without attributing it to the rightful source would make the end product suspect. As a newspaper reporter, I do not quote people who will not allow me to use their names, regardless of how plausible their stories might be. It isn't fair to the reader. If I happen to interview two credible people who tell me two conflicting stories about an event, I quote both and let the reader make up his or her own mind. I don't consider it my place to express an opinion on which of the two versions is correct.

Good historians should be equally meticulous in gathering information about their subjects and, I hope, recording all credible information that might cast light on the subject. A historian can analyze and express opinions and speculate about his subject matter in ways that a journalist cannot, but backing up the opinion with original source material is just as important. Ultimately, it's up to the readers to judge what the truth is and that can't be done if they aren't given the whole story.

None of us are German royalty or the grandchildren of Queen Victoria, subject to the pressures or responsibilities or able to enjoy the pleasures that such a life might entail -- but I think it's ridiculous to believe that an intelligent person cannot IMAGINE what that life must have been like and how they may have been forced to react because of their station in life.

Most importantly, I believe history is the story of human beings. Human beings are basically the same, regardless of what the trappings of their lifestyles might be, and they loved and hated and felt joy and pain in 1903 just as we do in 2004. It's in that sense that we can understand Ernest and Victoria Melita and knowing them as human beings will add dimension and interest to the historical events that surrounded them.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Forum Admin on May 16, 2004, 04:31:49 PM
Rodger raises an interesting point. Sometimes it can be very difficult to assess credibility of a source, and one MUST understand how credible a source is, in order to give, or not give, the information from the source any weight or not. Even contemporary sources today may have what appears to be genuine credibility on the surface. They appear to be what they say they are, and do the things they claim they do. They present photographs, and statements from witnesses. All appears outwardly to be what they claim. Take the evidence of WMD alleged to have existed before the invasion of Iraq as an example.
Later, upon scrutiny of the "source", their background fails to check out, in fact the truth is that they are nothing they claimed to be. Witnesses do not really exist or could never have seen the things they claim. Statements are bogus. The photographs are a product of Photoshop and not real at all...one person's head pasted onto the body of another....
Furthermore, we can not perhaps know the motive of the supposedly credible source, perhaps they have ulterior and hidden motives.  Everyone understands that invariably the thing that one person accuses another can be often the one thing the accuser himself is actually hiding.  For example, often the man loudly denouncing others as "gay" is hiding his own closeted homosexual behavior to draw attention away from himself.
NOW, extrapolate this uncertainty back one hundred years to "source" material...How can we know, today, the hidden agenda or motives of people dead for seventy years?
A fine example, for me, is Rasputin's secretary Semenovich.  I was thrilled to discover a copy of his book on Rasputin in a used book store, for just a few dollars. Wow, I thought, who would have better first hand knowledge of Rasputin, what new information will it reveal....IF I were "new" to Imperial Russian history, I would have read the book and considered him a highly credible source...The TRUTH is that Semenovich sold out for the money, hoping that a scurillous, scandal mongering book, catering to the lowest basest level would sell far more books than the  more "ordinary" yet far more historically valuable Truth about Rasputin. Simply because a source is "contemporary" to the event does not guaranty reliability...
My two cents....
Title: Re: I thiRe: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisex
Post by: JM on May 16, 2004, 05:28:15 PM
Quote
JM Wrote : I think you underestimate people, Rodger.

How do you know this to be true?  Guessing?

JM wrote:  You claim that "people who are 'fascinated' with someone will tend to fill in the void with their own ideas." Perhaps some do, but generally speaking we can not assume that this is what tends to happen.

So, you are saying that people shouldn't 'fill in' information that either isn't there or is speculation?  My point exactly. Thanks for making it for me.  QED

JM wrote:  I'm sure most people that take the subject seriously are not likely to "fill in the void" with what "mirrors" their own lives.  
 
Again how do you know this?  Where's your evidence?  At best the speculation is metaphysical, and therefore not a matter for serious discourse, at least according the standards set by the Viennese Philosophical Circle.  

JM wrote: Are we not allowed explore ideas and claims just because they may not be accepted as a historical fact?  

Sure you can, but the problem here is I suspect that many people, especially younger ones, aren't quite ready yet mentally to differentiate between what is speculation and fact.  Case in point, questions about a man's sexuality who is no longer alive, and didn't leave much in the way of direct evidence on the matter other than fathering children.    
 
JM: Do we have to conform to accpeted theories when trying to understand a person?
 
In most cases, yes.  By the way, the accepted spelling of that word I believe is 'a-c-c-e-p-t-e-d.'  But I can only guess at that because of the rules of spelling in the English language.  It's the commonly accepted rules than enable me to take your error and deduct what you meant by 'accpeted.'  Do you now get an idea why we have rules and theories about things that are ambiguous?

JM wrote: Now don't get me wrong. I like source notes at the end of my books.

Well, you'd love law school then.

JM wrote: However, if there is some evidence that points in a new direction. I think it is perfectly alright to discuss it in an honest and reasonable manner.
 
The problem though is this: how can you tell what is reliable evidence and what is not?

We have theories, rules actually, about what is good evidence and what is not that are based on the experiences of other people in similar situations and the problems they have encountered when assessing the validity of evidence.  The idle speculation of ex-wives and jealous persons are are less reliable as a source of evidence than other sources, period.


Well, Rodger, I do think you underestimate people. But, it doesn't matter too much.

On another note. Although some sources may be questionable or not "objective," this does not mean we should simply dismiss them as obsolete. What if we used this reasoning regarding the IF's murder? What are we to do about the Bolshevik's testimony about that night? I doubt that these men were above lying. Can we call them reliable sources? And, if we can't, why do we still accept their testimony.

Is there such a thing as an objective person. No, I don't think there is. Everything from history is "contaminated," so to speak. If we simply understand that, as I'm sure most people do, there is nothing wrong with discussing different theories.

It's just a discussion after all! Lets just accpet it for that.


Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: JM on May 16, 2004, 05:50:44 PM
Not just me, Rodger!  ::)

According to you, we all have a "natural tendency to look for attributes in historical figures that mirrors their [our] own experience in life."

I sincerely hope that I never underestimate you.

If I do, please accpet my sincere apology.

:)
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Janet_W. on May 16, 2004, 06:28:32 PM
Children, children!   ::)

Is it valid to discuss the sexuality of an historical figure? Yes, because sexuality is a huge part of one's life.

Are we doing so in a rude or out-of-context manner on this website? No, at least not yet.

Okay, shake hands, and let's all agree that the Grand Duke Ernst was a remarkable person who deserves a carefully researched biography that will shed light on his life and times and lead to a greater appreciation of what he accomplished.   :)
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm8571 on May 16, 2004, 06:31:34 PM
I agree, Forum Administrator, that some sources are more credible than others and it can be difficult to ascertain how trustworthy some are at first glance. However, I don't think uncertainty is reason enough not to publish a statement or to automatically dismiss it as completely untrue.

Who else, for instance, would have greater intimate knowledge of Grand Duke Ernest's sexuality than his first wife? Who would Victoria Melita have been most likely to share the reasons for the break-up of the marriage with? Her sister -- her closest friend and confidant -- and her niece who was going through a similar experience. I don't happen to think they have reason to lie, but certainly their statements ought to be corroborated with those of impartial witnesses, if there are any, or refuted if they did in fact spread false stories about Ernest.

I don't think anyone ought to be shut up in a historical account. Rasputin's secretary has his place in history. If I were to quote him, I'd include facts and statements from those around him that would let the reader put him in his proper place in history. The reader will be warned to take his statements with a grain of salt, but still may find value in something he said. I think it's incredibly important to attribute statements to the correct person and research their lives and determine how likely it is that what they're saying is true. If possible, facts should always be corroborated with more than one source. But let's look at everyone who had something to say and judge their merits for ourselves. I don't think it's appropriate not to discuss something just because it can't be proven to be 100 percent factual. The argument can certainly be made -- and backed up with credible witnesses -- that the story about Ernest could have been true.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Forum Admin on May 16, 2004, 06:42:30 PM
Just to play "devil's advocate" for a moment, who would perhaps have the sharpest and biggest axe to grind than a divorced first wife? When I practiced law, the most difficult cases involved soon to be ex wives who made up all sorts of sordid stories about the soon to be ex-husband...tales of rape, abuse, drug use, theft etc etc etc...
When judging an account for accuracy, there are many levels to look at...proximity does not always equal objectivness, even when talking to relatives. (Ever talked to Mom and said "Im fine" when you werent??"
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm8571 on May 16, 2004, 06:54:18 PM
Sure, a bitter divorce brings out the worst in people, but why would she tell such a story more than 20 years after the divorce and the death of their daughter? First of all, she surely could have come up with some other damaging material to ruin Ernie if she wanted to. Why something this damaging, particularly since Ducky would have been damaged if it got out too?

This tale supposedly was told to Ileana at a time in Ducky's life when she was happily married with three children of her own. Surely her worst vitriol about Ernest had passed by then.  Ducky was also particularly vulnerable, having lost her fortune in the Revolution and the first World War, and relied on Marie and other relatives for financial support. Telling tales about Ernie would only have made her look repulsive to relations. Even if it were true, telling tales about it "was not the done thing."  Ducky told first her sister, a woman who was perhaps the only person she trusted, and Marie wouldn't have spread gossip. Ileana apparently didn't talk about it until much, much later.

The tale rings true to me and doesn't seem like just a biitter ex-wife telling untruths about a former husband she didn't care for. The timing of the story, the likelihood that only something intolerable would have disrupted the marriage and given Ducky a reason to seek a divorce, and the culture of the interrelated royal families gives me reason to believe it.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on May 16, 2004, 11:42:52 PM
As the original poster, I would like to thank everyone (especially bookworm and Greg King) for their thoughtful responses. I was also thrilled to hear that Greg & Penny are working on a bio of the Grand Duke whom I feel is shamefully overlooked by history.

As to Rodger, I'm sorry if you found my query "prurient", I certainly didn't intend it to be so. Perhaps I didn't phrase the heading right (it's hard to sum a question up sometimes in a brief space). I didn't care so much _whether_ the GD was gay/bisexual or not or any details relating to his sex life. My question was mostly based on curiosity as to any independent sources since so many books about various members of the family state it as FACT and not rumor,yet all information seems to flow from one main source--his ex-wife. I was a history major in college and one of the main things we learned was about corroboration and verification of sources. GD Ernest is actually a long-standing favorite of mine (along with all the Hesses) and I've always thought the whole issue of his was he/wasn't he HAS overshadowed the great work he did and the affection with which he was held.

Bookworm, I agree with you about Ileana--she was certainly NOT a spiteful person (and another favorite of mine) but I wondered about her being a reliable source if she just took her aunt's word as the truth and then repeated the story. I also was unsure of the timeline of when VM started telling the "stableboy" story--how long after the divorce, etc....Even her sister, Marie admitted that VM had an "unforgiving" nature and mightn't latent bitterness still have been there following the death of her daughter while she was with her father and VM didn't reach her in time? If she didn't have some bitterness, why spread the story at all so long after the marriage ended (and far past just telling Ileana).

Anyway, this was all I was trying to get at--a variety of opinions since I think there are so many intelligent and well-informed people on the board who possess a wide range of opinions on things. I love getting all the different perspectives and the question was answered SO much better than on the other board. Thank you again!
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: LisaDavidson on May 16, 2004, 11:44:37 PM
A couple of points here -

I have said many times, but frequently am drowned out by those more strident than self, that it is anachronistic to refer to a late 19th century person such as Ernst of Hesse as "gay" or "bisexual". Those terms were simply not in use then, and their implications would be incomprehensible to someone of that time. Yes, there were those who preferred members of their own sex as romantic partners during this time. But, there was no opportunity to be a couple in a modern sense, and no chance to grow a committed loving relationship in the way contemporary gays may have the chance to do.

My point - one must be very careful to consider such questions in the proper historical context.

As to Victoria Melita, I entirely agree with Rob that an ex wife cannot necessarily be soley relied upon as a source for sexual information on an ex spouse. And let's be clear here - so far as I know, VM is the only source for Ernst's alleged homosexual affair. There was gossip at the time, but gossip is not always true.

What is very salient here - VM had a very strong reason to be less than truthful about the reasons her first marriage broke up. Divorce was scandalous at that time and she was tainted by it for the rest of her life. A lie such as this, even if told only to her sister and niece, would nonetheless have won her sympathy within her family that could have eased the taint of divorce.

This more than anything else makes me take all of this with a grain of salt. I do agree with Greg that true or not - nothing takes away from Ernst Ludwig's accomplishments.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm8571 on May 17, 2004, 12:47:36 AM
"Gay" and "bisexual" are probably terms that they wouldn't have used, but the sexual preference has always been there. I don't entirely agree that the chance to form relationships wasn't there either. They just had to be far more secretive about it when they were in the closet. I have a book of photographs from the late 1800s and early 1900s that are an absolute revelation. They show lesbian "couples" -- several of a woman in drag (suit, tie, mustache) and a woman in a dress standing side by side like a married couple. There are stories about female couples who lived as husband and wife, with the "husband" living as a man so they could appear as a normal married couple. This was during the 1890s or 1900s, the same period that Ernie and Victoria Melita were married. I'm not certain if it would have been as easy for male couples to live in such a fashion, but I'm certain they existed. They were probably just "roommates" or some other euphemism that made it easier for them to live together. I think our ancestors were far more modern than we think they were.

The biographies of Victoria Melita I have don't strike me as the best researched books. Both say she told Marie the story some point after the divorce -- it doesn't give a date -- and that she told Ileana the same story when her engagement to a German prince was broken up. Ileana was interviewed in about 1980 and this interview is cited in the footnotes of the Sullivan biography. I still tend to believe it's more likely to be true than not. A divorce was scandalous, but I doubt Victoria Melita would have made up a story that was equally scandalous to explain it. It didn't make her look any better than Ernest.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Greg_King on May 17, 2004, 06:22:56 AM
With regard to Victoria Melita: as I intimated earlier, her statement is but one piece of circumstantial evidence, and there is indeed much more.  On the flip side, there are several well-known stories about Ernie fathering some illegitimate children with a couple of well-born women and actresses in Darmstadt.  The point is, the issue-all sides-has to be not only looked at but thoroughly researched and analyzed.

Where Ducky's charge is concerned, though, I think it's important to take note of the fact that she only made it in private, to her sister.  At the time of the Hessian divorce, Ducky was thoroughly excoriated by nearly all members of her extended family and blamed for the disintegration of the marriage.  Surely, had her assertion been groundless and simply the result of bitterness, she would have voiced it then, in her defense-and yet there is no record of her having done so, and her royal relatives blamed her completely.  To me, her silence on the issue, at that difficult time-when she would have been most inclined to defend herself and lay blame on her former husband-speaks volumes about her motives in telling Marie, and undermining accusations that it was all part of some hidden agenda.

Greg King
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: princessalice on September 03, 2004, 06:27:41 PM
I believe one's sexual orientation is decided at birth and, even though I am a fairly conservative person, i do not judge either way.  that, i believe, is the final work of God.  but, whatever, i believe the Grand Duke Ernest did a lot of good for his small area of Germany and that he was a very sensitive, loving person.  i was always so happy that he found apparent joy in his second marriage and had the family he seemed to have longed for.  i believe the loss of a child's mother at such a tender age is a huge turning point in their lives and affects them in ways that are even now being discovered.  i was 37 when i lost my beloved mother very suddenly, she was 59 and died after a 4 months illness.  it changed the course of my life, i can honestly say that, and made me a person i would not have been if she had lived.  i think maybe Ernst might have been the same way.  
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: masha on September 04, 2004, 08:47:22 PM
O.k., here's my 2 cents worth......it seems to me the male members of all these royal families - including the Romanovs, but more especially those of the English and German sides - were all really effeminate - yes? (sorry if the spelling sucks). Compared to regular working joes they really seem like a bunch of flowers who occassionally came out of the hothouse for display. And somehow it seems to be more than a coincidence that a lot of these royal fellows ie. GD Kyril, Serge,  George & Alexis Michailovitch, Prince Leopold, Prince Albert Victor, Prince Walemar, Prince George of Greece, Kaiser William, along with GD Ernie  have all been described at some point as being homosexual. It all just seems to have been part & parcel of court life, where socializing on that scale exposed one to meeting so many people and where alternative relationships were perhaps derived out boredom from the same old thing. Not to mention the fact that as they are in today's English palaces, one can imagine how a good many of the royal household (servants & such) back then were gay. So it could be argued that the whole atmosphere was pretty ripe for all concerned, especially when one considers how someone like Alexander III - who by all accounts seemed like a fairly normal red-blooded male - stuck out like a sore thumb for his lack of grace and decorum. But that's just my theory, and I would be pleased for Penny and Greg and everyone else who are much more in the know to correct me.
Anyway, I think the topic would make an interesting book. And sorry for being so sporadic with my comments - just too much going on offline to keep up with everyone here online!

Masha
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: LisaDavidson on September 05, 2004, 11:38:16 PM
Masha: having just returned from a lovely wedding of two people who truly love one another - who both happen to be men - I must take exception to the stereotypical depiction of gay men as "effeminate". There are certainly men who do fit this stereotype but I know many gay men who do not.

Please, let's stop this craziness. As Greg King says, historians must certainly deal with the sexuality of their subjects, and Ernst is no exception. But please don't refer to the admitedly heterosexual Alexander III as "Normal". This man was very likely an alcoholic who hastened his own death through excess drinking.

It would be refreshing if we could please look at the entire person - and stop trying to categorize others based on what happens in the privacy of one's own bedroom.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Michelle on September 06, 2004, 12:23:32 AM
Whatever happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom in the case of homo/hetero sexuals.  Unless those people are long dead and historians must research them.  But as for the present day, some of us don't want to know about that kinda stuff because, quite frankly, it can appear disgusting and highly sinful to some like myself.  I'm sorry if this offends anyone on this board, but I think gays/lesbians/bisexuals should stay in the closet in public.  There's no need for ANYONE to be expressing explicit sexual acts/preferences except in the privacy in their own homes.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Martyn on September 06, 2004, 09:28:04 AM
Michelle I am quite simply astounded by your comments.  To reduce this discussion to the level of something that "happens in the bedroom" is baffling.
There have been many intelligent remarks made in this thread; it has been another interesting  journey for those of us who are interested in discussing and attempting to understand the lives and characters of Ernie and all his relatives.
Sexuality is an important part of most people's personalities and if one day we do receive proof that Ernie was homosexual (I won't use the word "gay" since other people have refused to accept that term as a legitimate definition), then it can only lead to a better understanding of his achievements, life and loves.
As far as I am aware, in most civilised societies, people are free to enjoy same sex relationships; I think that perhaps your views should maybe remain where they belong - in your closet.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Louise on September 06, 2004, 09:45:31 AM
Michelle, I am more than astounded at your comments. As an out of the closet gay woman (I'm ok with the term gay ;) ) and a woman that has been in a commited relationship for 25 years, your comments are derogatory and bigoted.

If you choose to study the art of history and associate with men and women who are also on this board and in the world, your views had better change. You will find gays and lesbian in every walk of life, and believe you me, we won't be discussing what occurs in the privacy of our homes.

If Ernie, Sergei, KR, Felix were gay, then that small part of their lives should and will be studied. Just as Sergei's decisions affecting Moscow will  and should be studied; KR's poetry, and Ernie's love of art.

Michelle, please keep your comments confined to the topic at hand, which is the Romanovs. Please try to remember that this is a very public board that is read and also researched by many people around the world.
It would be detremental to this board to have someone click off this site, due to your bigoted comments.

Louise
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm on September 06, 2004, 09:49:59 AM
Quote
Whatever happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom in the case of homo/hetero sexuals.  Unless those people are long dead and historians must research them.  But as for the present day, some of us don't want to know about that kinda stuff because, quite frankly, it can appear disgusting and highly sinful to some like myself.  I'm sorry if this offends anyone on this board, but I think gays/lesbians/bisexuals should stay in the closet in public.  There's no need for ANYONE to be expressing explicit sexual acts/preferences except in the privacy in their own homes.


Michelle, if I remember right you're still a teenager. I might have said something similar when I was 16. I was raised in a fairly insular community, by strongly religious parents and any gays I knew were not "out." This still isn't a state where people are that open about it. They tend to move to the big city as fast as possible to get away from this type of attitude.

Imagine how Ernie must have felt 100 years ago, when the stigma was even greater, if he really was gay and with the pressure on him to marry and produce an heir. If you're born with an attraction to the same sex and cannot change it, no matter how you try, how frustrating it must be to live in a world where you're told to shut up about it, stay in the closet, not expect the same rights that everyone else has. You can't legally marry, can't have children, can't see your life partner if he's hospitalized because you're not a legal spouse and his family disapproves of you.

All I can say is that your perspective might change as you gain some more experience and maybe have friends or relatives who you learn are gay.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Martyn on September 06, 2004, 11:59:12 AM
Good points Louise and Bookworm.  As someone who is slightly older and coming from a provincial town I can remember a time when life was less enlightened.
If Ernie was homosexual life was probably a lot easier for him than anyone from a less exalted background.  Having said that, Ernie did enjoy a very happy second marriage and was completely capable of being a father, and a good one in every sense.  All of this is not incompatible with him being either homosexual or bisexual and he would not be the first man of his age to have these inclinations and yet be married with a family.
I can't quite remember where I read this (or it may indeed have been a TV program) but I am pretty sure that Pce Waldemar of Denmark for many years enjoyed a relationship with Pce George of Greece ( I think that it was George) - both married with families.  Do we think that the rest of the family knew and discreetly looked the other way?
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: LisaDavidson on September 06, 2004, 01:14:15 PM
Michelle: as a teen, I can understand how hearing about any kind of adult sexuality can be disgusting to you. I have a 16 year old daughter, so I know this is to be true.

However, my points on this thread have been that there was no way for a gay person to be "out" 100 years ago. Please find some compassion in your heart for this. And, we should not stereotype any people - gay or not - based upon one characteristic - in this case, sexual orientation. I was arguing that we should look at GD Ernst as a whole person - not as just a gay or bisexual person.

It may shock you to know that my husband and I attended a wedding this weekend between two of our dearest friends. It may shock you that we fully recognize and support this marriage, even though there were two grooms involved. It may shock you that many of the posters on this board are gay people - some in relationships, and some not - and are for the most part, really terrific people. I'll leave it at this for now.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Forum Admin on September 06, 2004, 01:39:17 PM
OK, I was leaving this thread alone, but I think a little historical background is needed here.

First, in the Victorian era, there was no concept of "gay" or straight as we know it today. No one would really have ever identified themselves as such, it never would have occurred to them to do so. "Out" as a homosexual was something a Victorian person would not have even understood. The term homosexual did not even exist in 1895.

It was the duty of all men "of a certain social standing" to marry and father children. Now, it was common that many such marriages were simply for the sake of appearances. Husbands had many mistresses (like Edward, Prince of Wales) wives knew, and often had lovers of their own.  Husbands did have male partners too, it simply was the way things were. The "lifelong confirmed bachelor" who lived with a "close friend" was common (look at Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson).  Many many young upper-class men had male lovers and intimate male relationships at University; there was nothing really new or scandalous about the world described by Evelyn Waugh in "Brideshead Revisted". These men simply "grew up" and married. Public overt homosexuality was frowned upon, and illegal in England, but most people simply did not CARE what was done behind closed doors, so long as discreet.  Oscar Wilde was tried in court and public opinion not so much because he was homosexual per se, but because he was quite public about it.

In Germany, male homosexuality was illegal under Article 175 of the Prussian Code (tho not female!).  However, one could only be prosecuted if the police actually caught someone physically in the act.  The German Court was filled with homosexuality, known full well to the Kaiser, starting with his close friend Furst Philippe zu Eulenberg.

Should a possible bisexual or homosexual nature of Grand Duke Ernst be discussed? Yes, as one can not fully understand the nature of the man in order to explore his motivations and feelings. HOWEVER, I agree fully with Greg that the man's achievements must not be colored or judged by this aspect of his life, and far more importantly, one CAN NOT and MUST NOT impose 21st Century beliefs, morality or values on the behavior of someone living in the 19th or early 20th century.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Martyn on September 06, 2004, 01:56:03 PM
Rob, I think that we all agree with what you say.  I think that it is difficult for us to look back with our modern lives and values and for us not to apply those to this particular issue.  I think that we try hard to understand what life was like and is safe to say that we will never be able to grasp it fully.
This is an interesting discussion however; I look forward to reading more views on the subject.


Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm on September 06, 2004, 01:58:57 PM
I'm going to reiterate what I said a few months ago -- people are people, regardless of what century they lived in. Different sexual preferences have always existed. The words "gay" and "bisexual" probably weren't understood in the same context we use them in 1894, but they certainly knew if they were strongly attracted to women or strongly attracted to men or both or didn't care about sex at all. I've seen pictures of same sex couples from that time period who lived together as "husband and wife."

Cultural conditions might be different, but I don't actually see that many differences there either. Whether or not Ernie was gay, it affected his life. I think it's a valid discussion topic along with everything else that was part of his life.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on September 06, 2004, 03:02:55 PM
Quote
Good points Louise and Bookworm.  As someone who is slightly older and coming from a provincial town I can remember a time when life was less enlightened.
If Ernie was homosexual life was probably a lot easier for him than anyone from a less exalted background.  Having said that, Ernie did enjoy a very happy second marriage and was completely capable of being a father, and a good one in every sense.  All of this is not incompatible with him being either homosexual or bisexual and he would not be the first man of his age to have these inclinations and yet be married with a family.
I can't quite remember where I read this (or it may indeed have been a TV program) but I am pretty sure that Pce Waldemar of Denmark for many years enjoyed a relationship with Pce George of Greece ( I think that it was George) - both married with families.  Do we think that the rest of the family knew and discreetly looked the other way?


I think it's almost a historical certainty that Waldemar & George were romantically involved (though I don't know if there was any actual sexual relationship). It's not the homsexual aspect of it that I find disturbing but rather the fact that they were uncle & nephew. Marie Bonaparte (an absolutely fascinating woman who wrote many articles on Freud) who was married to George wrote about it pretty frankly, and pretty non-judgmentally, in many letters. Celia Bertran (?) wrote a great bio of MB which details the relationship. Also, if you look closely a certain photos of Waldemar at his desk, you can see a very recognizable photo of George in  a large frame and very prominently placed. I'll have to dig the bio out--it was fascinating. Since the 2 were pretty open about their feelings, I wonder if the rest of the family knew or chose not to see?
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on September 06, 2004, 03:05:07 PM
Yes, I myself (as I've said before) DON'T care on way or the other whether or not he was gay. I think he was a wonderful, kind, enlightened man regardless. I've just always been curious as to the actual FACT--truth or rumor? I look forward to the new biography which will hopefully shed some more light on his marriages to both Ducky & Onor. Regardless of his sexual preference, those 2 marriages couldn't have been more different.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Michelle on September 06, 2004, 04:06:14 PM
Excuse me, Lisa, and everybody else defending gays, but it was you, Lisa, who actually brought the whole modern aspect of homosexuality into this historical discussion.  The question of Ernst was simply brought up by gdella for more in depth discussion, whether or not it is interesting to all (I'm not downplaying gdella's question,it's obviously sparked passionate responses).  Most responses have been pertaining to the historical quesion at hand--WHERE does Lisa get it that she's one to judge me about my views on gays? Just because I'm only 17, obviously a mere peon in your eyes, doesn't mean that I'm am not "enlightened" yet!!  I should question where YOUR compassion is--or perhaps we should ask your 16 year old daughter ;) :-*!  You put yourself WAY up on a self-righteous pedastal, as well as others here when we were simply trying to discuss the historical character of GD Ernst!
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Louise on September 06, 2004, 04:50:56 PM
Michelle, you seem to miss the point. Yes we are discussing the issue of Ernest's sexuality in respect to his historical role in the Romanov chapter. What you brought to this discussion was your misguided views on gay people. No one here had brought up being "out" in today's society. As a matter of fact, this topic is not about being out today, but about Ernest. It was you that brought up this subject, and it was you that offended not only me, but a few others on the board.

This is not the first time that you have been at the center of controvery on this board and I think we have allowed you some latitude because of your age. That said, if you want to continue studying history, you are going to have to allow yourself to be open minded and accept others opinions and now lifestyles without condemnation and bigotry.

Louise

Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: RobMoshein on September 06, 2004, 04:51:57 PM
Michelle,
I think you need to relax first, and re-read all the previous postings. When you go back and do so, you will see, I hope that Lisa was not attacking you at all, and certainly NOT judging your or putting herself above you or anyone.  Lisa was pointing out that as the mother of a daughter exactly your age, she understands (probably better than you realize) much of what you think and feel. Trust me, I know Lisa personally and she has been a good friend for years. Lisa is a loyal friend in the most honorable sense of the words, and yes, she has MANY gay friends, who she judges for the people that they are and the deeds they do, not by their sexuality.

What I am almost certain Lisa was trying to say is this: Take her example, and judge others by their deeds and achievments, see them as individuals, look past stereotypes of people (gay, straight, hispanic, arab, jew, etc etc etc) and judge the individual as a whole person. Have compassion for others by putting yourself in their shoes for just a moment and take the time to stop and consider "their shoes".

I have gay friends myself, who would take what YOU wrote and characterize you completely for just those words, without even meeting you, and describe you in terms I will not go further to say, but I am certain you would not care to be so characterized. Just take this to heart "Judge others NOT, unless you are willing to be equally judged yourself by them."
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: LisaDavidson on September 06, 2004, 05:43:01 PM
Michelle: You are correct that I have defended gays and so I will continue. Guilty as charged. Rest assured, I will follow up any homophobic post of anyone here with a request for civility, and a request that we accept people as they are. By the way, that would also include you, if you are paying attention.

Did you actually read the post I wrote regarding using modern definitions for 19th century people? I was pointing out something that has bugged Bob and I for years - that it is anachronistic to use modern definitions for these people who lived in the past under a different set of rules. I really fail to see how this is "bringing it up". Discussions need to have a proper context.

I do not see teenagers - including you - as peons. How you are perceiving this must have to do with where you are as a person. I agree with Louise - if you are going to participate on a discussion board with a wide range of people, you need to try to keep an open mind. Allowances have been and are being made for you based on your youth, but this only seems to enrage you further.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Forum Admin on September 06, 2004, 05:50:55 PM
Michelle,
Do you personally KNOW any gay people? Just curious...and think carefully before you answer....
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm on September 06, 2004, 05:53:13 PM
Quote
Excuse me, Lisa, and everybody else defending gays, but it was you, Lisa, who actually brought the whole modern aspect of homosexuality into this historical discussion.  The question of Ernst was simply brought up by gdella for more in depth discussion, whether or not it is interesting to all (I'm not downplaying gdella's question,it's obviously sparked passionate responses).  Most responses have been pertaining to the historical quesion at hand--WHERE does Lisa get it that she's one to judge me about my views on gays? Just because I'm only 17, obviously a mere peon in your eyes, doesn't mean that I'm am not "enlightened" yet!!  I should question where YOUR compassion is--or perhaps we should ask your 16 year old daughter ;) :-*!  You put yourself WAY up on a self-righteous pedastal, as well as others here when we were simply trying to discuss the historical character of GD Ernst!



Didn't you say that you didn't want to read about such things because you find them disgusting and sinful? If you're going to study history, you are going to come across many of the same actions that disturb you in 2004. People's emotions and urges are pretty much the same as they were 100 years ago.  Most of the older people on this board were 17 once too. My views have changed a lot in the last 16 years. I think yours probably will too, though admittedly maybe not in the same direction as mine did. I can tell by your writing that you're bright and curious and like to look at different topics. You may be surprised at how different you feel even two years from now, after you've been out of high school for a year. I don't think anyone's said you're a "mere peon" or "unenlightened." They're just saying that you're young.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on September 06, 2004, 07:02:19 PM
OK, I'm sorry I brought this topic up. It was NEVER supposed to get into modern notions of homosexuality, people's views on gays, etc...It was just supposed to ask Did Anyone Know For Sure or is it rumor mistakenly attributed as fact. That's ALL. Everyone has varying degrees of acceptance of homosexuality based on age, religion, class, ethnicity, etc...I myself don't give a rat's behind if someone is gay or not--I have gay relatives and friends. OTOH, I don't want to see this discussion degenerate into name-calling and finger-pointing about who's tolerant and who's not. It's one of those charged issues like religion (where arguments have also broken out) & politics (thank God they're not discussed here!  ;)). I hate to think that it was MY question that starts a big fight. We're such a happy group normally.  :)  
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 06, 2004, 07:23:30 PM
I would not worry about it, GDElla.
I have taken personal offense at a few of the words used here [effiminate?red-blooded male, is there any other kind?and especially CLOSET] However, I have refrained from jumping in as I do not think it worth the effort nor the place for such a "discussion".
AND, that weird frenchman, he calls EVERYONE a cowboy, even me!! It is okay though, as no one pays him much attention, as no one can understand what he is ranting about !
Cheers,
Robert
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on September 06, 2004, 08:40:51 PM
Quote
I would not worry about it, GDElla.
I have taken personal offense at a few of the words used here [effiminate?red-blooded male, is there any other kind?and especially CLOSET] However, I have refrained from jumping in as I do not think it worth the effort nor the place for such a "discussion".
AND, that weird frenchman, he calls EVERYONE a cowboy, even me!! It is okay though, as no one pays him much attention, as no one can understand what he is ranting about !
Cheers,
Robert


Ah, you know the frenchman from another site! He really blew me back--I had no idea what he was talking about!   (And it wasn't due to my bad French!) . He is an odd duck.  That's why I hang out almost exclusively here and why I especially don't want to see bad feelings. Some of the other groups (like that one) have feuds that seem to have gone on for years!
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Louise on September 06, 2004, 08:45:33 PM
GDella, please don't worry about this post. I thought and still think it is very interesting and educational for all. In today's society we take for granted the liberties and freedoms that we have. It is interesting to look back and see how other individuals handled their lives and the effect it had on others. That is why we study history. :D

Louise
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Michelle on September 06, 2004, 08:48:01 PM
Dear Rob,

What difference does it make if I know any gays or not?  And if you really want to know, then yes, I do.  
Have I ever said that I hate anyone who's gay?  I don't think so.  I highly disapprove of their way of life because they are going against the Bible and God.  But I don't HATE them.  

And just out of curiosity, Louise, what other controversies have I been the center of?  Are you talking about me believing AA?  If I'm not mistaken, I thought that SHE was the center of that controversy.  Oh well.  I guess I'm delusional. ::) ::) ::)

And for those of you that think I brought up the modern aspect of this subject, have you completely overlooked Lisa's post where she talks about gay weddings?  I was merely responding that that kind of stuff has no reason whatsoever to be discussed on a historical discussion board, because to some it is inappropriate, and sparks situations just like this.  

Lisa: Why should I pay attention to you if you're just going to insult me by dismissing what I have to say because I'm younger?  And also since you can't handle someone disagreeing with you?  And yes, I did read your posts about the modern definitions bugging you.  And I don't recall that I was bothered by that post.  It's when people such as yourself that start talking about gay weddings, etc which some people (or I guess I'm obviously alone in this) simply don't want to hear about.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 06, 2004, 09:21:02 PM
That's it.
Michelle, if you insist on imposing your religous views, you are abandoning historical objectivity.  And yes, you have illustrated your intolerance elsewhere on this board.
It is historical FACT that gay people have had relationship of various kinds in all eras of history.  And I, like most, prefer GAY as "homosexual" is far too clinical. None of us are lab rats.
It  is pretty well accepted that GD Ernest did have such relationships, how he dealt with them is what is interesting to me. He was no Felix, but neither did he seem to be terribly shamed. I am sure further research may well reveal just that.
It was/is fairly common to destroy a person's papers, diaries, letters, etc if it was felt to expose something distasteful to the family- look what happened to Victorias papers.  So a lot of reading between the lines may prove necessary. The fact remains- gay people did exist and they did have long term, as well as short term relationships. In every social class, in all income brackets.
Now, I was at that previously mentioned gay wedding as well. I do not recall any invitation to hop in bed with them. What was asked, ---love, support, fortitude, caring.
I have been in the same gay male relationship coming on 35 years and not much has changed, the style but not the substance perhaps.
It is attitudes like yours that keep honest historical research & reading suppressed and society at large to progress.
I do not care how old you are, you are displaying ageless bigotry.
Best,
Robert
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: LisaDavidson on September 06, 2004, 09:31:24 PM
Michelle - thank you for explaining what you meant by my bringing in modern issues to this discussion. I must confess it was your homophobic expressions which caused me to defend my dear friends. I'm not sure I would have reacted differently with hindsight.

You have, however, chosen a peculiar place to raise these issues. You are not grasping that your youth is the shield protecting you from the outrage most of us on this forum feel about your homophobia. Please, take it elsewhere.

I am not insulting you by the way. I am being very kind to you. My daughter assures me that I have always been most respectful of her and her views - not all of which I share. However, you do feel hurt by what I have said and that's unfortunate. As I said, perhaps you would prefer to discuss this elsewhere.

You ask why you should listen to what I say, and the reason for that is obvious to all save you. May God grant you more compassion and tolerance toward others.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: rskkiya on September 06, 2004, 09:45:47 PM
Michelle,

  Hello...I just wandered into this very interesting post. Michelle - would you mind if I offered you a wee bit of advice about posting statements that could be misread or misinterprited? It does happen quite a bit here...
  I don't know that we have ever chatted here before and I am not judging you...but when I first came to the AlexanderPalace Web Page - I was very keen to express my opinion--no matter how they might be misunderstood by other posters! In fact I was certain that anyone who questioned my views or my perspectives (no matter how valid their arguements might be) were personally attacking me and the validity of my admitedly often crass notions.
  Please realize that I'm not saying that anything that you have posted is crass or incorrect-- that is a matter of personal opinion. Instead I 'm just offering my own experience as an example for you. I made a lot of good people very angry with me and I may have damaged some possible friendships, all because I was not as thoughtful about my comments as I could have been!
It isn't about age, its about tone. .

Just remember
Not everyone will agree with you.
Not every remark is about you.
And not everyone is posting statements in a sarcastic tone.

Some of your posts appear 'sarcastic" to the casual reader...Do you mean them to be so interpreted?

 Far be it from me to tell you what to write about, but I will vouch that LisaD, GDchessa and Mr Hall are very kind and open hearted people who are not inclined to judge a person due to age. Although I have not always agreed with them about many topics at this thread - I know that they are wonderful people for a good chat.

Peace to you

R.

ps...Most of my closest friends are gay, and I have found them to be the truest and kindest of people- they kindly do not comment on my sex life (dull vanilla hetero  ;)) and I shant comment on theirs.  ;D
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Forum Admin on September 06, 2004, 09:53:38 PM
Michelle,
I ask if you know gay people personally, because, frankly, I wonder if you have the sheer gall to look a friend or person whose work you respect in the face and tell them that YOU have decided for YOURSELF that you are more moral and rightous than they are, and that you deem THEM to be immoral, disgusting and sinners. and THEN to have the sheer hypocrisy to castigate others for treating you the same way. (Which, believe it or not you have done here.)

In the United States, the last I checked, we ALL have freedom of religion. so WHO appointed YOUR religious beliefs Michelle to be better or above others? Do you subscribe to Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Church of England, Protestant, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Orthodox Jewish, Reform Jewish, Hindu, Shinto, Islam (Sunni or Shiite?) Druid, Agnostic??? WHO appointed YOU as the arbiter to decided what behavior is disgusting?

Are YOU Michelle, free of sin? do you respect your elders in all things? do you take the name of God in vain? Ever lied, stolen or cheated someone (Not giving back incorrect change COUNTS)? Have you committed FORNICATION? Do you eat pork or shellfish? ALL abominations and sins before God Michelle, read Leviticus. Personally, I find two 16 year old punk children snogging face in the mall to be the ultimate in disgusting...sorry...so keep your hands off your boyfriend in public.

Frankly, I personally disapprove of those who decide that they are superior to others to the point that they decide for themselves that they MUST deem to other people WHO they can love or spend their lives with.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on September 06, 2004, 11:33:16 PM
Quote
That's it.
Michelle, if you insist on imposing your religous views, you are abandoning historical objectivity.  And yes, you have illustrated your intolerance elsewhere on this board.
It is historical FACT that gay people have had relationship of various kinds in all eras of history.  And I, like most, prefer GAY as "homosexual" is far too clinical. None of us are lab rats.
It  is pretty well accepted that GD Ernest did have such relationships, how he dealt with them is what is interesting to me. He was no Felix, but neither did he seem to be terribly shamed. I am sure further research may well reveal just that.
It was/is fairly common to destroy a person's papers, diaries, letters, etc if it was felt to expose something distasteful to the family- look what happened to Victorias papers.  So a lot of reading between the lines may prove necessary. The fact remains- gay people did exist and they did have long term, as well as short term relationships. In every social class, in all income brackets.
Now, I was at that previously mentioned gay wedding as well. I do not recall any invitation to hop in bed with them. What was asked, ---love, support, fortitude, caring.
I have been in the same gay male relationship coming on 35 years and not much has changed, the style but not the substance perhaps.
It is attitudes like yours that keep honest historical research & reading suppressed and society at large to progress.
I do not care how old you are, you are displaying ageless bigotry.
Best,
Robert


First off (though I'd vowed to stay out of the mess I've created), congrats on the long-term relationship! In this era, that's remarkable, gay or not. Also, I'm all for saying 'gay'-it's much shorter to type.    ;)  And lastly, my father who was a good Methodist Republican stood up at a gay wedding of 2 co-workers back in the early 70s (!!!) because he thought a much bigger 'sin' was their family members turning their backs on their sons and basically disowning them. Now I'm a good Catholic (or I try) and I know what we're taught re: homosexuality (basically hate the sin, love the sinner). I don't consider it a sin and if that turns out to be wrong, well, I'll take my lumps on Judgment Day as I'm sure I'll have PLENTY to answer for on my own. I'll prepare for a nice, cozy stay in purgatory.    ;) On the other hand, I respect the fact that others disagree with this point of view.

Now that I've proven my hypocrisy by straying off-topic myself, as a history major and royalty fan I have to say it makes me ILL every time I think about the papers that are destroyed.    :'(  I know some things are too intimate & private to want to be shared with the whole world, but, ugh, the thought of what Beatrice destroyed of Queen Victoria's I could just cry. QV certainly never shiied away from commenting bluntly on everyone & everything around her and I would LOVE to know some of the more family-oriented (ok, gossip!) information that was consigned to the flames.
Title: Was GDuke Ernst really gay/bisexual? majorly OT!
Post by: pushkina on September 07, 2004, 06:34:20 AM
i'm just going to apologise ahead of time for this one but i just can't contain myself anymore. sorry that i'm going OT and putting my foot in it.


Quote

And just out of curiosity, Louise, what other controversies have I been the center of?  Are you talking about me believing AA?  


i can remember about three on various threads here in the past days, all of which involve lisa d.  maybe you have some sort of hypersensitivity towards her and the things she says.  but what i read of her writings and understand is not what you understand.  and it is annoying.

we all have to give people their props and lisa doesn't deserve the flak.  she is a good historian and she knows of what she speaks.  also, doesn't it say in that bible of yours to respect your elders?  (and if you don't do it it means going against god, the same behavior you disapprove of in gays) we're all trying to respect you as much as you allow.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Martyn on September 07, 2004, 08:48:53 AM
Oh Goodness, what a difference a day makes!  Respect to all of you for defending the freedom to choose one's partner (within the law of course) and congrats to Robert for his long-term commitment (I thought I was doing well after nine years!)
Thanks Ella for the information about Waldemar and George; I probably should have started another topic with that one.  I love Marie Bonaparte as well - such a fascinating family - and what an accomplished a beautiful woman she was.  Can you let me know the definitive title and author of her biog please?
Let's get back to Ernie now.  Michelle you've had your say and we have all been able to make our points (most excellently I have to say) and I think that in the best tradition of tolerance and learning we should maybe refocus on dear Ernie.
Ella, you should be congratulated on starting this discussion as it has raised some good points.  One thing that I am not clear about is how Ernie himself would have viewed his alleged relations with men?  We know of the struggles that KR had with his sexual predilections - do we think that Ernie would have had the same kind of issues?  Would he have had a more pragmatic approach?  I know that we can only speculate about this, as so far no documentary evidence has been produced to support this theory; is it even a legitimate question?
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Michelle on September 07, 2004, 11:00:50 AM
Gdella, I have nothing against you at all.  So don't feel that I'm directing any of this at you :)

Maybe most of my so-called "controversies" are with Lisa D because I have voiced my opinions as she did, and she had come back at me for being a terrible person.  I don't just let people jump all over me just because I have exercised MY freedom of speech about such an issue, which Lisa should never have brought up in the first place!  Why can't we keep our personal moral views out of it?!  WHAT is so HARD about that?!  And second of all, YOU ALL were starting to disrespect ME because of what I had said at first when I explained WHY I didn't want to have to hear people's personal morals, etc.  because it starts fires like this!  So really you are all "hypocrites" as well, as you all say I am.  Infact, you all did it before me!  SO WHAT if I think it's disgusting and amoral?  You're not going to change my opinion and I'm not going to change yours--and I don't expect to.  So please except that and stop crucifying me for exercising MY freedom of speech and opinion!  Lisa introduced the modern aspect of this and I was merely saying how some people come on this board not to hear about personal experiences/morals on gays but to look at all the historical context of this great site.  So why can't you all stop directing negative comments at me which won't get you anywhere because you're NOT going to change my character and beliefs, and how about we get back to the HISTORICAL subject of dear Ernie?
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Louise on September 07, 2004, 11:26:45 AM
Michelle, I will say this again with all due respect. If you are going to continue persuing history as a career, or a hobby; if you are going to study Child Education, then you are going to have to open yourself up to differing opinions, lifestyles, and religions. If you continue to keep a closed, narrow-minded view of the world, wrapped in the bible, it will serve you no good. I'm not saying that believing in the bible is bad. What I'm saying is you will have to consider other venues to allow growth.

If you choose to work with small children, you will find that a child may have two mommies or daddies. You had better be open to recieve the child and the parents with an unbiased attitude. If not, then you have failed the child and eventually yourself.

You will also find in history that there are events that are unpleasant, and horrifing. You have to be open minded again, to put it into historical context. As you mature in life, you will find yourself meeting all kinds of people from the Jewish, Islamic, faiths, etc. You will work with and know atheists and religious converts. You will work with and know gay people, straights, bi's and transexuals. Again. if you do not open yourself to other's opinions, then my young friend you will lose a wonderful opportunity for a wealth of information and an enlightened view of the world.

I truly wish you well, and I harbour no ill feelings towards you. I hope you look upon the past couple days as a learning experience in acceptance of all people, know matter who or what they are.

In keeping with discussing GD Ernie, I wonder what his reaction would have been had his family shunned him for being bi or gay? What would have been the outcome? Yes we know that Ducky had possible ill feelings towards him, but then she was his wife at the time.

What would have been the outcome if the people of Darmstadt had ostrisized Ernie for being either bi or gay? Would the artistic/enlightened era had flourished?

Many questions to ask yourself, Michelle.

Louise

Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Helen on September 07, 2004, 11:55:54 AM
Quote
In keeping with discussing GD Ernie, I wonder what his reaction would have been had his family shunned him for being bi or gay? What would have been the outcome? Yes we know that Ducky had possible ill feelings towards him, but then she was his wife at the time.

What would have been the outcome if the people of Darmstadt had ostrisized Ernie for being either bi or gay? Would the artistic/enlightened era had flourished?

I don't want to get involved in the discussion that has been going on in the past few days, but rather return to the topic of this thread.

It may not have been customary to discuss one's sexual preferences with relatives and friends or to be openly gay, but we do know that Ducky discussed her (and Ernie's) sexual life with Alix when Alix returned from England in the summer of 1894. So, Alix must have had some idea about their sexual problems. I didn't get the impression that she was shocked by anything Ducky told her or that she wanted to shun Ernie, just that she was surprised about Ducky's openness. Apparently, his sexual preferences - whatever they were - were no problem to her.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: LisaDavidson on September 07, 2004, 02:43:35 PM
I believe you are correct about this, Helen. There is every indication Alix knew what was going on and always remained a loving and loyal sister to Ernst.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Janet_W. on September 07, 2004, 03:15:16 PM
What interests me about this subject--as someone who was brought up in White Anglo Saxon Protestant household where matters of ANY sexuality were either ignored or villified--is how Alix, a devout Lutheran and a Victorian by class, family, and the time of her maturation, would react to information of her brother's homosexuality. It has been mentioned in at least a few books about her grandmother that Queen Victoria had difficulty in understanding that such orientation even existed. Whether this is true or not, I know from my own experience--brought up in a constricted family and culture--that it is not easy dealing with sexuality if you've been taught to live in a box of your parents' expectations.

So I do wonder--given that so many books have characterized Alix as being inflexible and opinionated--how the confrontation of her brother's sexuality really played out in her psyche. Something, of course, that we can really never know . . . but, sexuality being such a powerful force in the lives of most (if not all) people, I find it absolutely appropriate to discuss the topic on this website and elsewhere.

Obviously such discussion is going to shock some people, annoy others, and cause many to hurl accusations of sin, morality, and so forth. I remember being moralistic on this subject when I was 14 or 15 years of age--a perfect puppet of my upbringing. But as we grow older, thank goodness, it is our right--and our moral obligation--to develop and draw our own conclusions, which are hopefully thoughtful and humanitarian, rather than taking the easy way out and holding to knee-jerk responses and the supposed safety of ideology. To do the latter, in my opinion, is not just intellectually lazy, but spiritually lazy as well.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm on September 07, 2004, 03:33:23 PM
I have a strong hunch that Alix did NOT know much about Ernie's sexual orientation. It could be that Ducky said something -- maybe as innocent as "We don't have relations as often as I thought married couples should. What's wrong with us?" Alix was a quite proper Victorian young woman and it's hardly the thing that Ernie would discuss with his sister.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Janet_W. on September 07, 2004, 04:44:41 PM
That sounds about right, Bookworm. It may be that Ducky was too embarrassed, confused, and maybe even too frightened to come right out and tell Alix everything.  Saying that her husband was unattentive may have been the extent of it . . . with possibly an additional statement that they hadn't shared a bedroom and/or bed for some time. This might have been the extent of any frankness that Ducky could muster at that time--and perhaps more than enough for Alix to deal with.  

One of the daughters of Victoria's daughter Beatrice was married to a homosexual. In her presumed innocence, she was not aware of the situation--despite the marriage not having been consummated--and was apparently kept further "in the dark" when her husband was caught in the act (by others) and the marriage was dissolved.

I rather think Alix simply felt that Ducky had been the wrong woman for her brother, and that Onore was the right woman. And if she did think this way, to a degree she would have been right.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Reed on September 07, 2004, 04:49:19 PM
This has been an interesting discussion...even though it had gotten off target.  I believe even if Alix knew, she didn't want to deal with it.  Alix never liked anything unpleasant and usually didn't deal with anything that was.  It was easier for her to idealize her brother than face the truth.  After the divorce, it was easier to place blame on others than to again face the real cause.  Ernst was a great patron of the arts, did wonders for their advancement, but unfortunately, couldn't reconcile who he was to what was expected of him in a culture that was unaccepting. I hope that make some sense...and not just muddying the waters.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Ilana on September 07, 2004, 05:00:39 PM
It was actually Lenchen's daughter, Marie Louise, who had married Aribert of Anhalt.  

Even in her memoirs she pretty much says that Aribert couldn't stand the sight of her.

Her Uncle Bertie said something like "Poor Marie Louise, she has returned the same as when she went..."  something like that anyway.

Yeah, Janet... she just didn't have a clue.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on September 07, 2004, 05:25:07 PM
Quote
It was actually Lenchen's daughter, Marie Louise, who had married Aribert of Anhalt.  

Even in her memoirs she pretty much says that Aribert couldn't stand the sight of her.

Her Uncle Bertie said something like "Poor Marie Louise, she has returned the same as when she went..."  something like that anyway.

Yeah, Janet... she just didn't have a clue.


OK, that makes sense. I was about to ask about the confusion as Beatrice had one daughter (Ena) and Alfonso XIII was definitely a skirt-chaser. Yes, it was a shame about ML-she was an interesting woman who should've had a chance at a real marriage. At least Ernie & KR, regardless of where their orientation lay, were true husbands/fathers to their families and seem to have achieved great happiness. Aribert always struck me as a lout. And then to just unceremoniously give her the boot! I love QV just saying 'send my granddaughter home to me'. I don't know about Ducky confiding to Alix--it just strikes me as odd. Firstly, the 2 were never close. Secondly, you'd think that Alix would take Ernie's side in anything. Lastly, Alix was a virgin for God's sake--you weren't even supposed to discuss your wedding night back then. How much could Alix have been aware of then unless on that trip VMH gave her an earful. (Alix certainly seemed to enjoy that side of her marriage). I still can't imagine broaching such a delicate subject with an unmarried girl. I would've approached VMH if I were Ducky. And while it might've been unsatisfactory, they must've had relations somewhat frequently, I'd think. Ernie was well-aware of the need for a son and Ducky was pregnant a total of 3 times, I believe (Elizabeth, miscarriage, stillborn son) in less than 7 years of marriage. How enjoyable they were I wouldn't even hazard a guess. I think EL would've stood a better chance of acceptance in the more liberal climate of Darmstadt than in the Berlin court, but, as has been pointed out, there were several close associates of the Kaiser who were pretty well-known to be gay. The people of Darmstadt had such an affection for his family and they'd given so much.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Janet_W. on September 07, 2004, 05:31:36 PM
Oops! Thank you, Ilana, you're absolutely right . . . it was indeed Marie Louise, one of the daughters of Prince and Princess (a.k.a. Helena, a.k.a. Lenchen) Christian.

Her autobiography, if I recall correctly  :-/ is My Six Reigns, and is very enjoyable.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Janet_W. on September 07, 2004, 05:47:54 PM
Here goes my faulty memory again  :P but I seem to remember reading that while Alix and Nicky were corresponding, prior to their marriage, Alix informed Nicky (or maybe I should say implied) that she knew a lot more than most young women her age, and that very little shocked her.

This may have been true, although there was probably no little bravado in her statement. All the same, I think it unlikely that Ducky would have gone so far as to have told Alix, in detail, the nature of her marriage's failure.  As Grandduchessella points out, the fact that Alix was as yet unmarried would have required Ducky to have used particular "delicacy" in relaying anything to Alix along these lines. And I'm sure Ducky knew that to convey anything as seemingly "impossible" as relations between two men would have resulted in monumental disbelief from her sister-in-law.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Michelle on September 07, 2004, 06:09:42 PM
Quote
Michelle, I will say this again with all due respect. If you are going to continue persuing history as a career, or a hobby; if you are going to study Child Education, then you are going to have to open yourself up to differing opinions, lifestyles, and religions. If you continue to keep a closed, narrow-minded view of the world, wrapped in the bible, it will serve you no good. I'm not saying that believing in the bible is bad. What I'm saying is you will have to consider other venues to allow growth.

If you choose to work with small children, you will find that a child may have two mommies or daddies. You had better be open to recieve the child and the parents with an unbiased attitude. If not, then you have failed the child and eventually yourself.

You will also find in history that there are events that are unpleasant, and horrifing. You have to be open minded again, to put it into historical context. As you mature in life, you will find yourself meeting all kinds of people from the Jewish, Islamic, faiths, etc. You will work with and know atheists and religious converts. You will work with and know gay people, straights, bi's and transexuals. Again. if you do not open yourself to other's opinions, then my young friend you will lose a wonderful opportunity for a wealth of information and an enlightened view of the world.

I truly wish you well, and I harbour no ill feelings towards you. I hope you look upon the past couple days as a learning experience in acceptance of all people, know matter who or what they are.

In keeping with discussing GD Ernie, I wonder what his reaction would have been had his family shunned him for being bi or gay? What would have been the outcome? Yes we know that Ducky had possible ill feelings towards him, but then she was his wife at the time.

What would have been the outcome if the people of Darmstadt had ostrisized Ernie for being either bi or gay? Would the artistic/enlightened era had flourished?

Many questions to ask yourself, Michelle.

Louise



Sorry about not reducing the quote size. :(  I have no doubt that Ernie was a great guy.  I don't know a whole lot about him, but I don't hold it against him that he was gay.  I just don't like it when people flaunt it, because there's no need.  I have the same view of straight people flaunting it.  Just save it for your own home because some people don't care to see it--there's no reason.  I'm glad that you don't hold it against me, Louise, that I have different views than you and everyone else on this board.  I'm obviously a black sheep. ::)  Your previous post was I'm sure meant in the nicest way, and I appreciate that. :)  I believe the Bible IS the enlightened way, but no one else here does, and I except that.  I'm just sick of arguing.  It's not good for this board or it's users.  I know I've been having high blood pressure the past few days (or at least I'm assuming LOL), and no doubt I'm sure some of you have also been that angry.  And that's definitely not healthy.  

I hope no one takes this post as another comeback or what have you, because it's not.  I simply want peace.  :)
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: JM on September 07, 2004, 06:21:09 PM
I like the Bible! It was actually very enlightening, maybe even revolutionary, when it first went on sale. Jesus actually talked to women. :o

I must add that it remains enlightening. :)
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: rskkiya on September 07, 2004, 07:32:29 PM
Please -- lets stay on topic!

Ernst, not religion


R.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: masha on September 07, 2004, 09:36:41 PM
To pick up on Janet's comment about Alix knowing more at a young age than most girls - I suspect that she and her sisters may have been aware of more than meets the eye - especailly Ella, when she mentions to Ernie in one of her letters to him (I beleive well after GD Sergei's death when she was already a nun) that he, her brother was several rungs higher on the ladder of redemption than she. As when ever she got up a few notches she was soon too fall back down to the bottom again.
I recall reading that passage a few times over the years with curiosity to the underlying reason for such a statement....well, perhaps I'm reading too much into it by thinking that Ernie had been successfully fighting off temptation - in whatever form - with his marriage to Onor.

Masha
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on September 07, 2004, 11:08:13 PM
Hm, that's interesting (the letter Ella wrote). I don't think that Alix and her sisters were aware of too much of 'that' side of life when they were young girls, but as grown women--especially those living (like Ella did) amongst St Petersburg society-would probably have their eyes opened pretty quickly. I think if Alice had lived they probably would've been less sheltered than other girls their age, but I don't image QV encouraged Louis to delve too much into intimate matters with his daughters. Re: Ella's quote about redemption--could she just have been speaking of her own (real or perceived) failures? She was awfully devout and as she looked over her life, probably felt she had much to atone for--her treatment of Marie & Dmitri, her love of jewels and other 'shallow' behavior in her younger years, flightiness, any perceived failing in her relationship with her husband or family...etc. Maybe she felt that Ernie was climbing the ladder faster because of his involvement with bettering the lives of Hessians every day through charitable & artistic endeavors, whereas she had to make up for years of 'neglect'. Plus, he had been a successful father to 3 children who loved him, where she had failed in raising Dmitri & Marie; had succeeded at marriage the 2nd time whereas she'd had a troubled marriage; maybe felt he was a better sibling than she? All just speculation of course.  ;)  I find the letter very interesting.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Martyn on September 08, 2004, 04:36:27 AM
Fascinating points.  I don't really buy the idea of Ducky confiding too deeply in Alix for all the reasons previously stated.
As married women, I think that they probably did have an idea of what did happen between the sexes (same or otherwise)
We may possibly be  making too much of Ernie's (alleged) sexual activities.  I asked the question earlier as to what we think his attitude might have been towards any suggested same sex activity.  I would hazrd a guess that his approach would be purely recreational and possibly several steps down in importance from any encounters with local ladies.  Just a thought (probably a daft one).......
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm85715836758701 on September 08, 2004, 08:16:12 AM
Maybe Ernie thought of himself as a typical man who slept with the ladies -- "I married twice. I fathered children!" but also occasionally indulged in his quirk with the stable lads. Maybe for him the one didn't have anything to do with the other?

It's hard to say what Alix knew or didn't know. If she knew anything about Ernie's life, I'd say it was later and she may have been the type to blame Ducky for not reforming him. If she'd been a good woman, Ernie wouldn't need to indulge himself with men!

I think Ella may have known something of Ernie's life, particularly after she lived with Sergei, who some also said was gay. I thought Felix Youssopov's account of his conversation with Ella, who was quite close to him growing up, was interesting.

To paraphrase from the conversation in Greg King's book about Youssopov, she said she knew more about Felix's life than he thought she did and that knowledge actually encouraged her, because someone with the capacity for such wicked things was also capable of great good. At that point Felix made a habit of cross-dressing and going about town, probably had affairs with young men and spent money wildly on frivolous things.

Ella told him that she regarded physical sins as less serious in nature than sins of the soul -- not loving others, not caring for others, rejecting God. This is, in some ways, reminiscent of the creed preached by the Old Believers of the Russian Orthodox Church and even to what Rasputin believed. Ella had an interesting approach to religion, a real blend of east and west. I can only guess that her brother and husband both had some impact on her belief system as well. And she did turn Felix into a do-gooder. He continued to be a real sinner, but he ALSO gave and gave and gave, even when he didn't have much to give after the Revolution.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Helen on September 08, 2004, 11:38:48 AM
Quote
It's hard to say what Alix knew or didn't know. If she knew anything about Ernie's life, I'd say it was later and she may have been the type to blame Ducky for not reforming him. If she'd been a good woman, Ernie wouldn't need to indulge himself with men!
Bookworm, I know from earlier threads on this board that Ernie and Alix can hardly do any good in your eyes. Could you please give us conclusive evidence that Alix blamed Ducky for Ernie's said homosexuality?! If you can't, please try not to malign them by nasty insinuations. None of us has known Alix or Ernie in person. You don't really know "the type of woman" Alix was - or "the type of man" Ernie was - so please treat them with proper respect.  
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 08, 2004, 12:39:54 PM
Well now, it was and is quite common to blame the wife for the husband's strying- gay or hetero straying. It is totally wrong to do so, I believe, but it does happenFor obvious reasons, I am curious about is what sort of relationships [gay, that is] Ernst did have? Nothing long term it would seem, no one taken under his patronage [unlike Luwig II of Bavaria for example].  No staff, aides or otherwise court figures.
It would seem to me his interest was pretty typical as "just a good time" and not to be taken too terribly seriously, as has been described in various ways here.
Early photographs of obviuos male bonding are fairly easy to find, I have several volumes of them myself. But, all the editors and commentators take pains to note that the photographs DO NOT neccessarily imply a sexual relationship, it was simply very coomon for men to have a closer bond with their male friends than hteir own wives. One can see it even today, particularly in men's somewhat obbsessive interest in sports- where homosexuality is still quite taboo [but of course exists anyway].
So, who were Ernst "lads"?  
I have always been a bit sceptical about a "stable boy in the palace bedroom " story, that would an unlikely rendezvous, just asking to be discovered. In the stable perhps....but not in the palace.
As has been clearly demonstrated in todays royal carry-ons, such behavior is still quite common, and a lot remains hidden, in spite of what does  leak out, if that is a proper way of describing  "shouting it from the rooftops" [media].  
We will most likely never know the truth about all this, it not the material for love poems or even nasty widespread gossip.
Ernest's reputation can be done no harm, his achievements, like Ludwigs overshadow any small "scandal".
Cheers,
Robert
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm85715836758701 on September 08, 2004, 02:26:12 PM
Quote
Bookworm, I know from earlier threads on this board that Ernie and Alix can hardly do any good in your eyes. Could you please give us conclusive evidence that Alix blamed Ducky for Ernie's said homosexuality?! If you can't, please try not to malign them by nasty insinuations. None of us has known Alix or Ernie in person. You don't really know "the type of woman" Alix was - or "the type of man" Ernie was - so please treat them with proper respect.  



I don't think that it's inappropriate speculation at all based on what is known about these people.

  A. Various bios state that Ducky was Alix's least favorite cousin, that she didn't like Ducky, etc.
  B. Various bios -- and family letters -- said that Alix was appalled at the divorce between Ernie and Ducky and she opposed the marriage of Cyril to Ducky. She didn't want her brother's ex-wife to become a Russian Grand Duchess.
  C. Alix did love her brother and would naturally take his side.
 D. It was the Victorian era. Look at the attitudes of Alix's grandmother, who largely raised her, and about and towards women in that era. I don't think it would be at all unusual for a woman of that class and upbringing to believe that it was a wife's job to make a good man out of her husband. Whether or not she knew anything about Ernie's sexual preferences (if they existed) is unknown. If she did, I think it was in the vaguest possible sense, but I think she would have taken Ernie's side and put the lion's share of the blame on Ducky. Note that I didn't say this was fact -- just that I think she might have reacted this way, based on bios, letters and stories I have read about her. It probably wasn't an unusual response in that era. It wouldn't make her evil -- just a woman of her time.
  E. I don't recall saying anywhere that Ernie and Alix could do no right. I do think they delayed too long in notiifying Ducky that Elizabeth was ill. I have said elsewhere that I see them as people with flaws and virtues, like anyone else. They certainly both had admirable qualities.
   Please don't put words in my mouth.
 
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Helen on September 09, 2004, 01:02:00 AM
Bookworm, I don't put words in your mouth. It's just that, to me, you come across as a person who is rather negative about Ernie and Alix and quite willing to interpret their behaviour in a negative way, whereas you appear to be far less willing to do the same when it comes to Ducky and her behaviour. Alix may not have liked Ducky very much and she may have been appalled by this divorce, but that may have been for reasons you and I know nothing about (sanctity of marriage?). She may have had reasons for not wanting Ducky to marry Cyril that had nothing to do with her blaming Ducky for not "reforming" Ernie. We simply don't know her private thoughts. Than why suggest that she may have blamed Ducky? You may not mean it to sound negative, but it does to me. And that may be because, based on the bios, letters and stories I have read, I have a different impression of Alix. I tend to think that Alix was not the type of woman who would have blamed Ducky.

By the way, the fact that a lot of her contemporaries would have blamed "the wife" doesn't mean that Alix did. Attitudes and opinions differ. The attitude of a majority is just that, the attitude of a majority, not the attitude of every single person in a group or class. I think the heated discussion on contemporary attitudes towards homosexuality in this thread is a fine example of that. It clearly shows that one should be very careful with extrapolating "common" attitudes to individuals.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: bookworm85715836758701 on September 09, 2004, 09:11:00 AM
And I read the same bios and journals and accounts of her behavior elsewhere and think that's her most likely response. Alix comes across as a very rigid individual, one who wanted control of her family and her friendships. She created her own vision of the world and ignored evidence to the contrary. She was straight-laced, moral, treated people who disagreed with her with contempt, whether it was government officials or her own sister Elizabeth.

Some of her judgements were accurate; her love for her family and friends was real. I think history conspired against her. She was shy, but she wasn't given a real chance to make a place for herself at court before she was Tsarina. Alexei's hemophila was a great blow. The political situation was volatile. But Alix's own faults sometimes aggravated the situation. Yes, I do think I can add up her personality as described by contemporary witnesses, her own letters and journal entries, and come to the conclusion that she would have blamed Ducky for the breakup of the marriage.

By the way, Ducky also had her faults similar to her cousin's -- intolerance, arrogance, rigidity, unwillingness to forgive, flightiness in her younger years. She was not a good grand duchess of Hesse. She was probably not always a very good mother to Elizabeth. But she was 17 when she married and apparently confronted with a husband who was completely incompatible with her. That husband didn't notify her in time for her to see her daughter on her death bed.

I sympathize with both of them.

And I'll reiterate that I said nowhere that Alix and Ernie were not capable of doing right as well as wrong.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Helen on September 09, 2004, 01:23:21 PM
We have probably read more or less the same books, bios and letters, yet we clearly come to different conclusions about Alix's character. My opinion about her character is certainly much milder than yours. There is a lot I would like to say about your characterisations of Alix and Ducky, but this is clearly not the right thread to go into a full consideration of your descriptions. So again, let's agree to disagree.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Eurohistory on September 14, 2004, 01:16:36 AM
Quote

Sorry about not reducing the quote size. :(  I have no doubt that Ernie was a great guy.  I don't know a whole lot about him, but I don't hold it against him that he was gay.  I just don't like it when people flaunt it, because there's no need.  I have the same view of straight people flaunting it.  Just save it for your own home because some people don't care to see it--there's no reason.  I'm glad that you don't hold it against me, Louise, that I have different views than you and everyone else on this board.  I'm obviously a black sheep. ::)  Your previous post was I'm sure meant in the nicest way, and I appreciate that. :)  I believe the Bible IS the enlightened way, but no one else here does, and I except that.  I'm just sick of arguing.  It's not good for this board or it's users.  I know I've been having high blood pressure the past few days (or at least I'm assuming LOL), and no doubt I'm sure some of you have also been that angry.  And that's definitely not healthy.  

I hope no one takes this post as another comeback or what have you, because it's not.  I simply want peace.  :)


If you are going to blindly believe my dear Michelle "everything" said in the Bible...girl are you in for a lot of grief.

I seem to remember that the good book says something about not judging people, it is a sin I also believe, yet in your enthusiastic youthfulness you have done so with quite great carelessness.

The Bible also says that if you wear clothes made from mixed textiles, this is an abomination...meaning that if you wear some cotton/wool blends for example, you will be headed directly to the biblical frying pan.

Eating a ham sandwich is a sin...

Eating steak and shellfish together gets you condemned as well...

Lusting after the cute guy who sits across from you in class...you guessed it...is a sin as well...gossiping is also a big no-no, judging (again) is also a big NO-NO...

And the list goes on...and on...and on...

Before one states a condemnation of someone else, one should realize that this is judgemental and therefore a sin.  If you are going to base your opinion on what the Good Book says, you have to take it all, not just pick and choose like so many "good" Christians tend to do, just so they can go about feeling better about themselves.

If the Good Book gives you such great guidance and comfort, then perhaps you should read The Book of Ruth(1:16-17) as well as the Book of Samuel (18:1-5; 20:16-17).

I am one of the grooms whose wedding Ilana, Lisa and Bobby Hall rejoiced in and I will not, under any circumstance will I stand quietly by while a child who should know better, goes about passing judgement on me.

In utter disbelief at the bigotry so blatantly demonstrated by some,

Arturo Beéche >:(
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: pushkina on September 14, 2004, 06:32:32 AM
the correct term in hebrew for these kinds of offenses is aveira.  there are 35 of them i think.  an aveira is punsihable by death, i think by stoning (as many moral majority/xtian rightwingers like to remind gay people).

and arturo, you are absolutely right, mixing meat and milk, eating swine and shellfish, mixing linen and wool, cotton and silk, all fall into this category, as do other sexual crimes, such as adultery and ALL sexual expression for women and girls outside of wedlock.

this is exacltly then the dilemma of reformed vs. orthodox jews: how to live within g-d's laws and live within modern society? our social norms have changed: the orthodox say the Law hasn't changed and we must still do as written in the text; the reformed say, some of these laws are really stupid (cotton and wool to be banned?!) and how can we make accomodations.  as this refers to romanovs, it is interesting that poboenetsov (sp? sorry off the top of my head!) didn't trust the modernist, reformed jews who tried to live within the russian social norms, even as he didnt' trust the traditional orthodox jews who were unwilling to make any accomodations at all.

the upshot of that is that you can't pick and choose amongst your biblical texts and which laws are g-d's invioble, never changing laws.  either they all are (and drop that cheeseburger! that cotton blend suit, that silk/linen sweater and don't even LOOK at a guy to whom you arent' married: the biblically mandated punishment [it is stated in the text] is stoning to death) and prepare to accept the consequences when YOU break one of the laws or learn to be flexible and understand that the literal text is not always the only (or best) way to organize your life.

mazal tov arturo.  i hope that you both have a long life of joy and happiness in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. and i say that as a native californian, exiled to the lovely sydney, australia.  do go to the hunan restaurant (the one outside of chinatown that used to be a car dealership) and have a banquet and think of me, bereft of proper szechuan food!
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Adele on September 14, 2004, 06:34:42 AM
I know I'm going to get blasted for being 'off topic', but I agree with the previous writer's comments.

I'd also like to add that when talking about the 'Bible', it's important to go to the original languages; in Hebrew (or so I'm told by my Rabbi friends) the word 'sin' is a very loose translation of the actual Hebrew word, which actually translates into: 'missing the mark'.  

How many times all of us have 'missed the mark'?  If we accept this as the translation, then it's more than a little difficult to be self-righteous and point our finger at anyone else.

I was in a 20 year relationship with another woman; It was the most beautiful relationship of my life; we worked tirelessly, together to help others who were less fortunate than ourselves.  I believe this is the real purpose of any religion, isn't it?  To HELP others.  To teach others (especially the young) that  in the end, Compassion is the only  Way, no matter what:  Even in the darkness and the whirling winds.

Now, onto Grand Duke Ernst:  There are many heterosexual people, even today, who have on-going homosexual experiences yet who consider themselves 'straight'.  From what little I know about the GD, I get the feeling that this was the case.  

Sexuality is a very complex thing---and so is denial, yes?  So was he 'really gay/bisexual'?  Not if presented in that particular framework.

Warm regards,
Adele



Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: pushkina on September 14, 2004, 06:42:28 AM
oh, and michelle?  anger is a VERY healthy emotion.  it saves people's lives.  it is gets them going.  it is how one uses (or misuses) anger that is how it can make one sick.  all i know is that when the day comes that i can no longer get angry, i will be sure that i am not much longer for this world and will begin to prepare accordingly.

oh, and just so you know: i too believe that the lessons taught in the hebrew bible are Truth. so you are not alone here on this board. but i also beleive that i have a responsibility to myself, my family and my generation to learn and do and to go to the deepest heart of it.  that is where the healing lies, healing for me and the universe.

healing needs many tools; just as doctors use shock to solve some problems, anger is the emotional shock treatment.  don't be afraid of it.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchess_ella on September 14, 2004, 08:51:46 AM
Oh no, I thought we had finally steered this back to the original topic.   :-/  I thought a truce had been declared and an agreement to get back to the question of the HISTORICAL fact (or rumor) of Ernst's sexual preference and it's impact on both his marriages. This discussion could go on forever (even longer than Marie Vladimirovna!  ;) ) but people's views aren't going to change and most people who hold strong enough views have already posted what they feel about the subject--including myself. Can we please move on--I hate the bad & hurt feelings that this engenders amongs our happy little group.  :(
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Eurohistory on September 14, 2004, 09:09:08 AM
As long as bigotted statements are made with impunity and are ignored phobias shall continue to drench us with bad feeling.  Comments like these should have never been made, particularly by someone who lacks the knowledge and experience to to carry out this discussion in a logical manner, at least.  Pandora's box is tempting to open, but it always unleashes much chagrin...sadly.

However, I cannot remain quiet when confronted with bigotry and the use of a book that is plentiful of contradictions.  Hollier than though posturings should not be even part of our discussions, however, they have been in this discussion.

Arturo Beéche
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Eurohistory on September 14, 2004, 09:14:24 AM
Quote
I know I'm going to get blasted for being 'off topic', but I agree with the previous writer's comments.

I'd also like to add that when talking about the 'Bible', it's important to go to the original languages; in Hebrew (or so I'm told by my Rabbi friends) the word 'sin' is a very loose translation of the actual Hebrew word, which actually translates into: 'missing the mark'.  

How many times all of us have 'missed the mark'?  If we accept this as the translation, then it's more than a little difficult to be self-righteous and point our finger at anyone else.

I was in a 20 year relationship with another woman; It was the most beautiful relationship of my life; we worked tirelessly, together to help others who were less fortunate than ourselves.  I believe this is the real purpose of any religion, isn't it?  To HELP others.  To teach others (especially the young) that  in the end, Compassion is the only  Way, no matter what:  Even in the darkness and the whirling winds.

Now, onto Grand Duke Ernst:  There are many heterosexual people, even today, who have on-going homosexual experiences yet who consider themselves 'straight'.  From what little I know about the GD, I get the feeling that this was the case.  

Sexuality is a very complex thing---and so is denial, yes?  So was he 'really gay/bisexual'?  Not if presented in that particular framework.

Warm regards,
Adele


Dear Adelle,

My hesitation about this is that we have never had any proof of Ernst Ludwig's alleged dalliances.  Back in the day it was common for gay men to head to Capri, a nice retreat off the Italian coast.  EL never did. The identity of a single one of his companions had escaped us.  His diary, as far as I know, makes no mention of any homosexual feelings, like that of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich did.

What we do have is the word of an embittered ex-wife and a mother-in-law who lost no time in spreading rumors about his character and personality, perhaps in an effort to hide the fact that the ex-wife had plenty of failings herself and began her relationship with her second husband while still married to the first one.

Arturo Beéche
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchess_ella on September 14, 2004, 09:22:04 AM
Quote
As long as bigotted statements are made with impunity and are ignored phobias shall continue to drench us with bad feeling.  Comments like these should have never been made, particularly by someone who lacks the knowledge and experience to to carry out this discussion in a logical manner, at least.  Pandora's box is tempting to open, but it always unleashes much chagrin...sadly.

However, I cannot remain quiet when confronted with bigotry and the use of a book that is plentiful of contradictions.  Hollier than though posturings should not be even part of our discussions, however, they have been in this discussion.

Arturo Beéche


I understand your feelings Art--and you have more reason to feel affronted than many. My only point was that MUCH chastisement had already been levelled and no one was posting any bigotry anymore--probably it ended while you were gone so it may be new to you. The comments were no longer being made and we'd gotten back to the original topic. Already there've been a few responses back to the issue of homophobia, biblical teachings, etc...I think you'd be pleased if you read some of the responses and realized that suitable punishment had been meted out and I don't think that any new comments will be made.  I was hoping (and thought) that the 'Pandora's box' had been slammed shut.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Eurohistory on September 14, 2004, 09:25:53 AM
Quote

I understand your feelings Art--and you have more reason to feel affronted than many. My only point was that MUCH chastisement had already been levelled and no one was posting any bigotry anymore--probably it ended while you were gone so it may be new to you. The comments were no longer being made and we'd gotten back to the original topic. Already there've been a few responses back to the issue of homophobia, biblical teachings, etc...I think you'd be pleased if you read some of the responses and realized that suitable punishment had been meted out and I don't think that any new comments will be made.  I was hoping (and thought) that the 'Pandora's box' had been slammed shut.


Good!

Arturo Beéche
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchess_ella on September 14, 2004, 09:28:47 AM
Quote

Dear Adelle,

My hesitation about this is that we have never had any proof of Ernst Ludwig's alleged dalliances.  Back in the day it was common for gay men to head to Capri, a nice retreat off the Italian coast.  EL never did. The identity of a single one of his companions had escaped us.  His diary, as far as I know, makes no mention of any homosexual feelings, like that of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich did.

What we do have is the word of an embittered ex-wife and a mother-in-law who lost no time in spreading rumors about his character and personality, perhaps in an effort to hide the fact that the ex-wife had plenty of failings herself and began her relationship with her second husband while still married to the first one.

Arturo Beéche


Now THIS is the meat of what I was trying to get when I started the thread. Tracking down evidence and sorting truth/rumor so that an accurate historical picture could emerge no matter what the outcome. As many catty biographies that were floating around about various royalties (and AF--his sister and EF--his aunt were certainly targets of very scurrilous attacks), I've just always wondered where any independent corroboration was. All seems to trace back to Ducky (the infamous 'stable boy' anecdote) and Marie Sr. Could that just been a story that was too juicy not to  pass on? I mean there were some major league gossips out there, yet that seems to be the one story everyone comments on and draws most conclusions from that he preferred men. Maybe he just didn't like Ducky!  ;) Or if he didn't have inclinations in that direction, maybe he was just too well-liked and kind for people (other than the aforementioned bitter relatives) to write down anything or pass on stories. Ileana's bio is often quoted but her aunt's marriage was long over by the time she was on the scene. If it was 'known' that that's the reason Ducky's marriage broke up, maybe she would naturally go to her for advice on her own situation and Ducky would've had no choice but to 'counsel' her. I don't know--I'm in a very speculative mood to keep my mind off Ivan. (I wish I knew where exactly that wretched hurricane was making landfall! )
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Greg_King on September 14, 2004, 09:29:54 AM
Arturo-

Actually, one of the first things Ernie did when his divorce from Ducky was final WAS to go to Capri-he stayed, of course, with Friedrich Krupp at his infamous refuge, and was in fact there when the police booted Krupp out of the country for homosexual activities.  Thereafter Ernie's name was frequently linked to various reports of these activities, and to other incidents followed by certain observers and the police (homosexuality being illegal in the German Empire).

As I've said elsewhere, the evidence does not all rest with a single accusation related by Ducky to Ileana; there are other letters, files kept by private detectives, etc., that we've seen and reviewed for our biography of the Grand Duke.  While no one may be able to say for 100% certainty, the weight of evidence in this case is certainly much more than the word of either Ducky or her mother.

Greg King
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Eurohistory on September 14, 2004, 09:59:48 AM
Quote
Arturo-

Actually, one of the first things Ernie did when his divorce from Ducky was final WAS to go to Capri-he stayed, of course, with Friedrich Krupp at his infamous refuge, and was in fact there when the police booted Krupp out of the country for homosexual activities.  Thereafter Ernie's name was frequently linked to various reports of these activities, and to other incidents followed by certain observers and the police (homosexuality being illegal in the German Empire).

As I've said elsewhere, the evidence does not all rest with a single accusation related by Ducky to Ileana; there are other letters, files kept by private detectives, etc., that we've seen and reviewed for our biography of the Grand Duke.  While no one may be able to say for 100% certainty, the weight of evidence in this case is certainly much more than the word of either Ducky or her mother.

Greg King


Dear Greg,

I look forward to reading what you two have to say about this.  Manfred Knodt's excellent bio of EL, as far as I have read does not touch upon this subject.

Arturo Beéche
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 14, 2004, 10:05:15 AM
Thank you, Greg.
This is exactly what I was hoping for. Information away from that old gossip! I thought someone had told me that Ernst's name was in other references  about homosexual behavior at the time, but as it was in German, I never persued it.  As I mentioned before, the stable boy in the palace does not ring quite correct,  [in the stable, maybe] and so was hoping something more substantial would come up in your research. By the way, it is great you doing all the research, and then all I have to do is buy the book !
Best,
Robert
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Guest on September 14, 2004, 11:15:53 AM
Quote
and arturo, you are absolutely right, mixing meat and milk, eating swine and shellfish, mixing linen and wool, cotton and silk, all fall into this category, as do other sexual crimes, such as adultery and ALL sexual expression for women and girls outside of wedlock.


what about how it's okay to beat your wife with a stick no bigger around than your thumb, that's in there too. It's also a sin for a girl to cut her hair, better let it grow down to your knees. While I am a believer, I think maybe a lot of stuff in the Bible is not exactly all God's word but a history of the culture, lifestyle, ways and beliefs of a time thousands of years in the past? ??? (hopes not to be stoned or go to hell for posting this)
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Janet_W. on September 14, 2004, 02:05:49 PM
Since this is a topic about Grand Duke Ernst's sexuality, my own opinion is that it's absolutely correct to discuss sexuality as it was perceived at that time as well as it is perceived today.

And again speaking for myself, with regards to the matter of Ernie and Ducky's marital breakup I am reluctant to take a side. Both were wronged by this marriage. Neither, it seems, understood the matter of homosexuality (or any kind of sexuality) before they married. Neither seemed to adequately communicate with the other. But this is not unsual. Many couples these days still have difficulty in adequately communicating the smallest of matters, let alone concerns about sexuality.

Just from what I've read, I do not think I would have particularly liked Ducky. On the other hand, consider that women through the ages have been devastated by the moral shock of a husband's infidelity and the economic consequences if abandonment results. (And yes, sometimes men have been the wronged party, but until recently women were legally and socially very much at the mercy of men.)  Imagine, then, how devastating to realize your husband has not only been unfaithful . . . but with someone of the opposite sex, which--to your way of thinking--is against everything you understand and hold to be "right." For this reason I cannot condemn Ducky.  Having a husband who did not have sexual interest in her must have been frustrating, to say the very least. And then, what a humiliation factor. No wonder she jumped into an adulterous affiar with Kyril. Given the same circumstances, I certainly would have done so.

Also, while that "stable boy in the palace" may not sound quite right, consider too that where there's a will, there's a way, and anything is possible. Anyone remember a Merchant/Ivory film from 15+ years ago called Maurice?  In that film the groundskeeper climbs up into the landowner's room by way of either a tree or a trellis . . . which one, I'm sorry to say that I don't remember!

Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchess_ella on September 14, 2004, 02:12:21 PM
Greg--
That is so interesting! That is what I was hoping for when I started the topic. I had never heard of any other independent corroboration. It sounds like you have great references and makes me want to read the book even more now. But private investigators?? Who hired them--was Ducky going to put the squeeze on Ernie, were the Russians worried about 'embarrassing' disclosures about the Tsar's brother-in-law?, the Kaiser about a reigning Duke? All very mysterious....
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: jehan on September 14, 2004, 03:08:25 PM
Quote

what about how it's okay to beat your wife with a stick no bigger around than your thumb, that's in there too. It's also a sin for a girl to cut her hair, better let it grow down to your knees. While I am a believer, I think maybe a lot of stuff in the Bible is not exactly all God's word but a history of the culture, lifestyle, ways and beliefs of a time thousands of years in the past? ??? (hopes not to be stoned or go to hell for posting this)


Uhh, I don't think that the "rule of thumb" is in the Bible- can you provide a chapter and verse?    However, I do agree with the rest of what you have to say  in principle.  :)

And I am looking forward to Greg King's book.  It will be good to have a well-researched book on a very interesting man.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 14, 2004, 03:40:25 PM
Yes, of course "where there is a will there is a way". I do not doubt that it COULD have happened, just that the "surpise" element seems odd. Palaces normally have servants about at all hours,  it would be difficult not to hear someone coming or not be forewarned. The simple everyday protocol would have made it unlikely, in my thoughts.
As for spying, well, it seems everyone was [and still are] spying on each other, all over Europe  and beyond. What is amazing is that so much has survived ! Wars, civil unrest, revolution and all that paper is still around. Anyone who has done research, like a lot of people on this very board, will know that if you dig long enough and follow every clue, hint, trail, whatever, you will find something eventually. The actual discretion is determining whether it is true or not !
Cheers,
Robert
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Greg_King on September 14, 2004, 08:55:38 PM
A few things:

Arturo-Knodt did leave out a great deal of information from his book, including stories concerning not only the Grand Duke's alleged homosexualty but also stories about his alleged affairs with several actresses who were said to have borne him children.  We know this from two people close to him, including one man whose authority on the Hessians is without parallel.  The point is-both assertions have to be investigated.

Also-I agree with what you say-without going any further it is very clear that Ducky was actively engaged in an affair with Kirill while married to Ernie.

Bobby-I think what Ducky said needs to be clarified.  She told Ileana and others that she found Ernie in bed with a member of the palace staff; she did not, as I recall, say it was a stable boy.  That seems to derive from another part of her statement: "No boy was safe,” she later complained, “from the stable hands to the kitchen help.  He slept quite openly with them all.”

Greg King
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Annie on September 14, 2004, 09:36:35 PM
Quote
A few things:
 "No boy was safe,” she later complained, “from the stable hands to the kitchen help.  He slept quite openly with them all.”

Greg King


Hate to be nosey  :-/ but was there anything between him and Felix Y? If he liked young boys, and well you obviously know the stories on Felix. In his memoirs Felix mentioned how much fun and full of imagination Ernst was and that he enjoyed spending time with him. So, anything to that?

While Felix never admitted to his sexuality, he does allude to it a lot with comments like 'my double life' and 'my scandalous past.' I heard that in France at the time Lost Splendor was written, homosexuality was against the law and punishable by hard labor busting rocks in the Pyrannes mountains, so no wonder!
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: pushkina on September 14, 2004, 10:48:49 PM
Quote

Uhh, I don't think that the "rule of thumb" is in the Bible- can you provide a chapter and verse?    However, I do agree with the rest of what you have to say  in principle.  :)


the rule of thumb is not there but one of my favorites is that one MUST kill one's rebellious son.  i'll send you the references privately if you like.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchess_ella on September 14, 2004, 11:34:05 PM
Quote

the rule of thumb is not there but one of my favorites is that one MUST kill one's rebellious son.  i'll send you the references privately if you like.


Not to go too far off-topic--again, but....When I was taking my pre-law classes one of them, criminal law, discussed this 'rule'. Under common law (since women were chattel and basically worthless) you could beat your wife but ONLY with a stick no thicker than the length of your thumb. Nice, hm? Hope since people were smaller then their thumbs were too. That's where the phrase comes from anyhow.  Ironically, you could get serious jail (or even hanged) for beating your horse. Shows where our place was!  >:( Of course when hubby gets my bookstore and ebay bills he sometimes wishes that law was still in effect.  ;)
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Michelle on September 20, 2004, 06:10:13 PM
Quote

If you are going to blindly believe my dear Michelle "everything" said in the Bible...girl are you in for a lot of grief.

I seem to remember that the good book says something about not judging people, it is a sin I also believe, yet in your enthusiastic youthfulness you have done so with quite great carelessness.

The Bible also says that if you wear clothes made from mixed textiles, this is an abomination...meaning that if you wear some cotton/wool blends for example, you will be headed directly to the biblical frying pan.

Eating a ham sandwich is a sin...

Eating steak and shellfish together gets you condemned as well...

Lusting after the cute guy who sits across from you in class...you guessed it...is a sin as well...gossiping is also a big no-no, judging (again) is also a big NO-NO...

And the list goes on...and on...and on...

Before one states a condemnation of someone else, one should realize that this is judgemental and therefore a sin.  If you are going to base your opinion on what the Good Book says, you have to take it all, not just pick and choose like so many "good" Christians tend to do, just so they can go about feeling better about themselves.

If the Good Book gives you such great guidance and comfort, then perhaps you should read The Book of Ruth(1:16-17) as well as the Book of Samuel (18:1-5; 20:16-17).

I am one of the grooms whose wedding Ilana, Lisa and Bobby Hall rejoiced in and I will not, under any circumstance will I stand quietly by while a child who should know better, goes about passing judgement on me.

In utter disbelief at the bigotry so blatantly demonstrated by some,

Arturo Beéche >:(



Art, are you completely BLIND?!!!  You look absolutely RIDICULOUS quoting my post that had absolutely NO "bigotry" in your words, and then blasting me when I was trying to call peace!!!!!!!!!!!!! >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:
And I would like to thank gdella for pointing out to you that the inflammatory remarks had ended.  And I'll have you know that I will not stand by and let someone like you  condemn me for not liking your alternative way of life!!!  As I and others on this board have already stated, no one ( and that includes you deary ;) :-*) won't change my opinion or I anyone else's!!  You put it upon yourself to look childish by replying to my peaceful statement and reopening this crap!!!!  So GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  >:( >:( >:( >:(
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Dashkova on September 20, 2004, 06:19:21 PM
Quote

If you are going to blindly believe my dear Michelle "everything" said in the Bible...girl are you in for a lot of grief.

I seem to remember that the good book says something about not judging people, it is a sin I also believe, yet in your enthusiastic youthfulness you have done so with quite great carelessness.

The Bible also says that if you wear clothes made from mixed textiles, this is an abomination...meaning that if you wear some cotton/wool blends for example, you will be headed directly to the biblical frying pan.

Eating a ham sandwich is a sin...

Eating steak and shellfish together gets you condemned as well...

Lusting after the cute guy who sits across from you in class...you guessed it...is a sin as well...gossiping is also a big no-no, judging (again) is also a big NO-NO...

And the list goes on...and on...and on...

Before one states a condemnation of someone else, one should realize that this is judgemental and therefore a sin.  If you are going to base your opinion on what the Good Book says, you have to take it all, not just pick and choose like so many "good" Christians tend to do, just so they can go about feeling better about themselves.

If the Good Book gives you such great guidance and comfort, then perhaps you should read The Book of Ruth(1:16-17) as well as the Book of Samuel (18:1-5; 20:16-17).

I am one of the grooms whose wedding Ilana, Lisa and Bobby Hall rejoiced in and I will not, under any circumstance will I stand quietly by while a child who should know better, goes about passing judgement on me.

In utter disbelief at the bigotry so blatantly demonstrated by some,

Arturo Beéche >:(


I agree with Mr. Beeche, and would only add that Paul/Saul of Tarsus (who wrote most of the New Testament) was adamant that the self-righteous (which is just another word for judgmental) would not enter the kingdom of God.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 20, 2004, 06:58:56 PM
I do not feel that Arturo is the one looking ridiculous.
And, I agree with Dashkova, rather than argue with "pinafores in a snit".
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Michelle on September 20, 2004, 08:56:01 PM
Robert-- Art most certainly DID look QUITE ridiculous.  He had NO BUSINESS bringing up the long-ended argument again.  He looked simply foolish when he used my truce post to quote and then crucify me.  Art obviously doesn't want this crap to end--he just wants to continue to shove his own way of life which I don't care for, to put it politely, down my throat--even when I had ended the argument and done the mature thing to call peace!!!!! >:( >:( >:(  It seems that the only reason you all think that I'm such a terrible person and a bigot is because I disagree with you on this controversial subject.  Now isn't THAT pretty childish?!  As mature adults, I would think that you all would EXPECT someone to disagree with you.  You really ought to handle it in some other fashion rather than slandering others calling them "bigots," and dismissing them by saying that they most likely have the mind of a child.  I really see no logic in Art's out of the blue outburst toward me, his reaction being of all posts, the one where I called a truce.  It's sad that a wonderful discussion forum like this that allows people like all of us who all have a great interest in the Romanovs(and their descendants) is now tainted with this idiotic blather.   >:( >:( >:(
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 20, 2004, 09:23:57 PM
Michelle, as you addressed me personally;
YOU are the one who entered a topic that you would obviously find objectionable.
You are the one who expressed moral outrage & judgement towards others.
This was met with resounding rebuttal.
YOU continued to rant & rave about YOUR percieved "rights".
YOU respond with yet more rants to Arturo's post, which had been made some time before.
Peace ? Truce? Stupid, foolish ridiculous blather.
Enough said.
Robert

Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Louise on September 20, 2004, 10:15:00 PM
So sorry Michelle. You are a bigot and you are in the mind frame of a child having a temper tantrum. You brought up the subject of homopobia, and unfortunately for you, you have to live with the consquences of your words.

As long as you continue to condemn gay people and the gay people on this board, and our lifestyles (I'm home from work sitting in front of a computer, snacking on junk--such a decadent lifestyle, while my wife is watching mindless TV--again decadent) you can expect more of the same.

Not only have your remarks shown a total lack of respect for some of the posters on this board, you show a lack of respect for Art, who is one of the foremost historians in his field. I include Robert in your lack of respect, because he has been nothing but a gentleman to most on the board and extremely helpful and insightful on many areas of Russian history.

Once again, let me remind you. If you intend on studying the art of history, then you had better open up that narrow mind of yours and allow differing opinions and thoughts to enter into it. You are allowed your opinions on gay people, and we are allowed to defend ourselves.

Louise



Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on September 20, 2004, 11:05:38 PM
Oh no, not again!  :( I'm beginning to really regret starting this post--it's just degenerating again. I don't want to see ANYone personally attacked. There are a wide variety of opinions on this board. While I personally come down in favor of gay rights (my father-in-law coming out late in life to my hubby), I also don't want to see Michelle vilified for her beliefs. Art inadvertantly 're-opened' the argument when he returned from Cancun, not knowing that all was seemingly resolved. When I pointed that out he said 'good' , dropped it and that was the end & we went back to happily discussing the HISTORICAL merits of the basis of the rumor/fact of GDE. I don't know if Michelle didn't see that post before she responded to his initial e-mail but it's caused another flare-up. Obviously feelings on this run very high and very deep. NO ONE on either side is going to change their opinions so can't someone be the one to let it go--I know it's hard when each side feels their lifestyle and beliefs are being attacked and, since names are attacked, feel that the attacks are deeply personal (and trust me, I'm usually the LAST person to want to let an argument go until I've been proven right, been vindicated and properly apologized to--just ask hubby  ;)). I just ask because I'm really feeling just so comforted by the newsgroup after the hurricane and I hate to see our happy family upset with one another. :) I'm sure Bob (my husband) is going to faint from shock if he sees me as 'peacemaker' so maybe do it for that if no other reason--one doesn't get to see a big, tough military officer faint very often.  ;)
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: rjt on September 20, 2004, 11:41:52 PM
Y'all get a grip. Michelle is a child. She will learn in her own good time that the Bible is not the be-all, end-all she has been programmed to believe it is. When she does, and that has opened her eyes to the reality of today's world, she will have that great "Aha" moment we all had.

Let it be known that I am not defending her in the least bit. As a gay man, I am horrified by her comments and beliefs. But they are hers and I will defend her right to express them to my death. This is America. I would suggest, however, that she stop frequenting this thread if it disgusts her so much.

For the sake of peace and dialogue on this board, however, I would like to respectfully submit that if any one person (and this is not directed solely at you, Michelle) is causing discord, perhaps they should be banned from the site. It has happened occasionally at another board I frequent, and always to the great relief of its members.

Now to the GD. I have reservations about people continually refering to him as homosexual. Having obviously fathered children and played husband and father, would that not classify him (in today's lingo) as bisexual at best? Just a thought.

Peace
Rob
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: grandduchessella on September 21, 2004, 12:01:06 AM
Quote
Y'all get a grip. Michelle is a child. She will learn in her own good time that the Bible is not the be-all, end-all she has been programmed to believe it is. When she does, and that has opened her eyes to the reality of today's world, she will have that great "Aha" moment we all had.

Let it be known that I am not defending her in the least bit. As a gay man, I am horrified by her comments and beliefs. But they are hers and I will defend her right to express them to my death. This is America. I would suggest, however, that she stop frequenting this thread if it disgusts her so much.

For the sake of peace and dialogue on this board, however, I would like to respectfully submit that if any one person (and this is not directed solely at you, Michelle) is causing discord, perhaps they should be banned from the site. It has happened occasionally at another board I frequent, and always to the great relief of its members.

Now to the GD. I have reservations about people continually refering to him as homosexual. Having obviously fathered children and played husband and father, would that not classify him (in today's lingo) as bisexual at best? Just a thought.

Peace
Rob


It may in today's lingo. I don't know about the time. (And Robert respectfully asked us to say 'gay' which I support as it's much shorter to type.  ;) ). As the only son/heir wouldn't he have to marry & father children? He was a dutiful, responsibly ruler. I think he probably was more bi-sexual since he seemed very content with Onor and even wanted his marriage to VM to work out until it was just unbearable for both. Or, like many gay men just learned to either stuff their urgings away for periods of time (ala KR) and have a 'normal' life or perhaps never married. Ernie married just a few years after his divorce so I think for whatever reason he wanted/needed to be married. As I mentioned above, my father-in-law married and fathered children (thank God!) before divorcing my MIL when hubby was 16 (but not fessing up until Bob was in his late 20s and only when he directly asked him). He is definitely GAY no bisexuality there--he's been with his partner since the marriage broke up . It was just the norm to marry & have kids up until the last few years really so it's really hard to use it as a barometer of anything I think. It is interesting that men about whose sexuality much is speculated like EL & KR, they married 'soft', mothering, nurturing women (Onor & Mavra).
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: rjt on September 21, 2004, 12:09:32 AM
Quote

It may in today's lingo. I don't know about the time. (And Robert respectfully asked us to say 'gay' which I support as it's much shorter to type.  ;) ). As the only son/heir wouldn't he have to marry & father children? He was a dutiful, responsibly ruler. I think he probably was more bi-sexual since he seemed very content with Onor and even wanted his marriage to VM to work out until it was just unbearable for both. Or, like many gay men just learned to either stuff their urgings away for periods of time (ala KR) and have a 'normal' life or perhaps never married. Ernie married just a few years after his divorce so I think for whatever reason he wanted/needed to be married. As I mentioned above, my father-in-law married and fathered children (thank God!) before divorcing my MIL when hubby was 16 (but not fessing up until Bob was in his late 20s and only when he directly asked him). He is definitely GAY no bisexuality there--he's been with his partner since the marriage broke up . It was just the norm to marry & have kids up until the last few years really so it's really hard to use it as a barometer of anything I think. It is interesting that men about whose sexuality much is speculated like EL & KR, they married 'soft', mothering, nurturing women (Onor & Mavra).


You're right, of course, about the request to use 'gay.' I, too, hate the clinicalness of the H word.  :P

I hope there will be some insight into the GD's mind in the forthcoming (hint, hint) book by our esteemed compatriots.

BTW, I think I love you, grandduchessella! ;) I would be most interested in hearing your husband's story, as the adult son of a gay man (see! I used the G word!!). That is one POV I've been intrigued by. (Right, Off-topic...sorry.)
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Michelle on September 21, 2004, 10:53:11 AM
Quote
So sorry Michelle. You are a bigot and you are in the mind frame of a child having a temper tantrum. You brought up the subject of homopobia, and unfortunately for you, you have to live with the consquences of your words.

As long as you continue to condemn gay people and the gay people on this board, and our lifestyles (I'm home from work sitting in front of a computer, snacking on junk--such a decadent lifestyle, while my wife is watching mindless TV--again decadent) you can expect more of the same.

 Not only have your remarks shown a total lack of respect for some of the posters on this board, you show a lack of respect for Art, who is one of the foremost historians in his field. I include Robert in your lack of respect, because he has been nothing but a gentleman to most on the board and extremely helpful and insightful on many areas of Russian history.

Once again, let me remind you. If you intend on studying the art of history, then you had better open up that narrow mind of yours and allow differing opinions and thoughts to enter into it. You are allowed your opinions on gay people, and we are allowed to defend ourselves.

Louise





Okay, Louise.  So, if I'm defending myself after a totally uncalled for reopening of this argument, that's a "temper tantrum?"  Why do you people feel it's necessary to tell everyone about your personal sexual lives?  I DON'T CARE IF YOU'RE GAY, JUST STOP FLAUNTING IT!!!!!  Not everyone is interested in what others prefer in the bedroom!  I really wish you all would take that into serious condsideration.  

However, I'd like to thank gdella for trying to be the peacemaker.  Ella, don't feel at all ashamed for starting this topic. :)  It was NEVER, I'm sure, meant to turn into this really really REALLY dumb--to put it lightly--discussion, if you even want to call it that.  

And Robert, you mean that my truce was stupid?  So you want to keep flinging the mud?  Art was the one who ranted and raved as a reaction to my peaceful post.  And I still can't figure out why he felt there was more that needed to be said--just getting back from Cancun doesn't matter.  How did he feel threatened by me calling an end to this?  I can understand that historical figures' lives need to be examined thoroughly, and that their sexual preferences are legitimate topics.  But what reason is there to involve our own personal lives?  When I first posted on this particular thread, THAT was the gist of my post!  And it was in response to Lisa's assertations that she had gone to a gay wedding, blah blah blah.  It didn't have anything to do with the HISTORICAL topic at hand.  And Lisa, I'm not attacking you or anything, I'm just explaining why I posted on this thread.  

rjt--So basically what you're saying is that anyone who holds the Bible and God/Jesus in high authority you just dismiss as being "programmed" to believe that?  Hasn't it ever ocurred to you and others that maybe people like me see the world and all it's corruptness, and who believe in God and have our own innate morals will make up our minds ourselves and are most certainly not "programmed?"

And Louise, just to ease your dire worries that I'll be going into the history world, I'm not.  But even if I did, I wouldn't care to look back on historical figures and examine their "gayness."  It's when people start flaunting their sexuality on me that I get angry.  What's the point?  As a historian, I'd be only concerned with the long passed figure of the discussion at hand.  And no matter how much a gay person would flaunt it on me,  I will never change my opinion--and it's not because I'm "programmed" that way--it's because I, ME, MYSELF, NOT UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF OTHERS, don't like it!  Please just accept that.
Title: Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
Post by: Forum Admin on September 21, 2004, 11:11:23 AM
OK,
I'm back.  >:(
First, everyone to a corner and chill a minute. I am locking this thread for two days to give "all y'all" (in the Texas vernacular) a "time out."

Michelle: I want you do do something for me, very seriously. Go back and read this entire thread three times. First time, everytime you see the words "gay/homosexual" insert the word "Jew". Second time insert the word "Black/Negro/African American (whichever is most PC for you). THEN go back and read it a third time.

I encourage everyone else to do the same. NOW, in a discussion, legitimately historical by all accounts, it is quite appropriate for someone similarly situated to bring their personal experience to the discussion.
For example: I am Jewish, my grandparents lived under Nicholas II in Poland. My family's experiences and my personal experiences ARE quite reasonably expected to come up in a discussion of Russian Jewry under the Imperial Regime, right?
Am I "Flaunting" my "Jewishness"?

As someone wrote me earlier on this subject "If I mention that I am married and have children, that necessarily implies that I am heterosexual and have sex, but am I flaunting my bedroom habits in anyone elses face?" Merely saying one is gay divulges no different information.

Both sides have to relax a little bit. Trust me, I applaud Robert, Art, Louise, et al for publicly even admitting their lifestyle. Many gay/lesbian people will not do that. But, try to remember, we MUST keep this as civil and to the point as possible. Believe me, I have lost my cool in the past, in another forum, and frankly, it was not appropriate for anyone involved on either side. Fortunately, everyone calmed down, and in the long run, cooler heads prevailed, and all parties now are friends and bygones are just that.
I hope we all take some time to just get back on track.
Any problems, comments or questions on this subject are to come directly to me privately in the next two day.
Fair enough?
FA