In his book on Irish gay history, Terrible Queer Creatures, Brian Lacey presents some evidence that Patrick may have had a long term intimate relationship with a man: St. Patrick himself may have had a relationship tinged with homoeroticism. Tirechan, a late seventh century cleric who wrote about St. Patrick, tells the story of a man Patrick visited and converted to Christianity, who had a son to whom Patrick took a strong liking. Tirechan wrote that “he gave him the name Benignus, because he took Patrick’s feet between his hands and would not sleep with his father and mother, but wept unless he would be allowed to sleep with Patrick.” Patrick baptized the boy and made him his close lifelong companion, so much so that Benignus succeeded Patrick as bishop of Armagh. This is a rather tenuous basis for a claim that Patrick was gay, but there is more from his youth. He was originally brought to Ireland as a Roman slave – and they were freely used for sexual purposes. Later, he escaped, but returned to undertake the evangelizing of Ireland that he’s famed for. To pay his way back, there is a claim that he worked as a prostitute.

Terrible Queer Creatures

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