Author Topic: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?  (Read 57551 times)

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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #45 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.

rskkiya

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #46 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
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rskkiya »

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #47 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.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #48 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.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by grandduchessella »
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pushkina

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Was GDuke Ernst really gay/bisexual? majorly OT!
« Reply #49 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.

Offline Martyn

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #50 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?
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Michelle

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #51 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?

Louise

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #52 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


Offline Helen

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #53 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.
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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #54 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.

Janet_W.

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #55 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.

bookworm

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #56 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.

Janet_W.

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #57 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.

Reed

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #58 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.

Offline Ilana

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Re: Was Grand Duke Ernst really gay/bisexual?
« Reply #59 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.
So long and thanks for all the fish