On this day May 7: Hey Vlad, Tchaikovsky was gay!

Tchaikovsky May 7

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin recently decried the ‘cancellation’ of Russian culture. Yet, his own regime relentlessly erases history as in the ridiculous heterosexualising of Russian national treasure, the gay composer Tchaikovsky born May 7, 1840.

On lists of the greatest classical composers, Tchaikovsky usually ranks among the dozen or so that trail Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. But his intensely emotional compositions gift him a greater name recognition than many of the others.

Perhaps his 1812 Overture ensures that. It has everything: booming cannons, clanging church bells and a brass fanfare that builds to a frenetic fanfare frequently chosen as an accompaniment to fireworks displays. I admit some partiality to it. Perhaps, my inner warmonger shining through.

There is little doubt regarding the composer’s sexuality. In fact, none. Tchaikovsky was gay. Although for a long time uncomfortable with his sexuality, Tchaikovsky recognised it. He wrote of his loves and lusts in his diary and in letters to male lovers. He was most frank in correspondence with younger brother Modeste, also gay.

Modeste later wrote, “I became a confidante in all his amorous escapades.”

The composer did once marry during a period of emotional turmoil. But he told his poor bride she could expect nothing more than friendship from him. The marriage lasted two months.

Soviet Russia

Long before Putin’s ‘Gay Pornography Law’, the communist leadership of Soviet Russia contrived to heterosexualise Tchaikovsky. Horrified at the thought of a gay national hero, the Soviets censored passages of the composer’s writing that indicated he was gay.

Russian regimes tend to react like fathers who perceive their sons’ sexuality as a reflection on their own masculinity.

Poor fragile darlings. Even today, Vladimir Putin seems to worry that if one Russian man bottoms, the Russian Bear becomes someone’s bitch.

So censors cut various passages from published letters. Like one in which Tchaikovsky wrote of encountering a ‘youth of stunning beauty’.

The besotted composer was apparently beardless.

“After our walk, I offered him some money, which was refused. He does it for the love of art and adores men with beards.”

Oh well. You can’t have everything. But at least in Tchaikovsky’s case he could go home and write a cracking symphony.

1812 Overture

Nazi book burnings, May 7 <— On this day —> May 8, Henry Dunant

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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1 Comment

  1. Wendell Risevear
    9 May 2022

    Hilter also repressed Gays and made then wear the pink triangle. However when you visit his army training camps you see massive carved statues of naked men, walls of them by the football fields and massive mosaic walls of them in the swimming pools. I have observed a strong correlation between internalized homophobia, lack of self acceptance and acting out with bullying, bashing, murder and oppression. Shakespere said “ me think he protesteth too much”. I wonder if Putin accepts himself?

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