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1 min

Gay of the day: Elagabalus

Elagabalus was a Roman emperor from 218 to 222 and had a penchant for dressing up as a woman and prostituting himself. 

Eddie Murphy is a big fan.

Elagabalus is one of the most controversial emperors in history: for his five marriages (to at least one man), his longstanding romance with his male slave/chariot driver; dressing up as a woman and soliciting himself in taverns and brothels; and offering vast sums of money to several physicians to give him female genitalia. It is widely believed in modern times that Elagabalus was the first and only transgender ruler of Rome.

After his death (long story short: there was a revolt, and he lost his head), he was the victim of a propaganda campaign where his eccentricities were exploited and often exaggerated. The most famous example of this is seen in a 1888 painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, The Roses of Heliogabalus, which depicts Elagabalus hosting a dinner party and smothering his guests to death with flowers.

What a way to go. 

For being more tragic than a drag queen wearing Birkenstocks, Elagabalus is our gay of the day!