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British classicist Mary Beard: don’t assume I’m 100% heterosexual

EXCLUSIVE: ‘I don’t think – at my age especially – it is ever a good idea to imagine that one has a single sexuality’

British classicist Mary Beard: don’t assume I’m 100% heterosexual
BBC | YouTube
Professor Mary Beard

Acclaimed British academic and classicist, Mary Beard, has told Gay Star News that she objects to people assuming she is ‘an old het lady’.

Her comments come after she got into something of a Twitter storm with a feminist commentator online.

Beard is Professor of Classics at England’s Cambridge University and Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement. She has presented several TV shows on history and is a regular guest on Question Time and commentator for news broadcasts.

Beard has previously said that she doesn’t agree with people imposing 21st century notions of sexuality on historical figures, pointing out that different cultures in history have had different views on sex, sexuality and romance.

She calls such attempts ‘crass’.

Twitter attacks

This led one Twitter user to criticize her for believing ‘in [ancient Greek author) Homer but not #Homosexuals’. The user concerned wrote a long blog post criticizing Beard as a ‘Het female’ who wants to ignore the historical evidence that gay men and lesbians have existed throughout history.

‘Oh for crying out loud,’ responded Beard, before going on to thank those who expressed support for her view and saying, ‘it never seems to cross their mind that I might not be 100% straight either! I’m too old I guess!’

Beard was born in 1955.

She then tweeted that if anyone considered her the ‘worst enemy of the lesbian community’ then they are ‘damn lucky’.

Many lesbians tweeted supportive messages, saying that they appreciated Beard’s work, which has often explored feminist themes, and commentary.

https://twitter.com/kate_priest/status/892042580896231425

‘I really objected to them assuming I was an old het lady’

GSN reached out to Beard for further comment. She emailed to say that she was currently now on a writing retreat and trying to keep her head down, but that, ‘I don’t think (at my age especially!) it is ever a good idea to imagine that one has a single sexuality… certainly not over 45 more or less adult years! I really objected to them assuming I was an old het lady.’


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