For Memorial Day, a Look at Bisexuals in the Military

84f3595c8d54d193bbaa3cb9f3181671Throughout history, there were military men who were known to be bisexual—many of them great soldiers. The history of bisexuality in the military has come increasingly out of the closet too, especially now that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has finally ended.

In ancient Greece the Spartans were the most feared warriors and they were trained to fight to the death. They were fighting alongside their loyal bisexual partners. The Roman empire accepted and tolerated a wide spectrum of sexuality, especially in their armed forces, and Julius Caesar was perhaps the most famous openly bisexual leader. And, until the 19th Century,  Japan’s warrior class, the samurai, practiced ritualized bisexuality as part of unit cohesion and accountability.

Here is a comprehensive list of bisexual military leaders with links to stories about their bisexual histories.

* Alexander the Great, Greek conqueror. He was known to travel with both his wife and his male lover, the great General Hephaistion, as they conquered the most powerful empire of its time.

CLIFF-OFFICAL-ARMY-PHOTO-2* Cliff Arnesen, U.S. Army. The first out bisexual military person to speak at U.S. Congressional hearings.

Paul Barresi, U.S. Marine. Married with three children, he directed and starred in gay and bisexual porn and is famous for outing John Travolta in 1990.

* Vernon Berg III, U.S. Navy. At 24, this Ensign came out as bisexual and fought his dismissal from the Navy. He is the son of a Navy chaplain, an Annapolis graduate, and dated the daughter of the academy’s superintendent.

* Napoleon Bonaparte, French commander. He is known to have conceived an illegitimate daughter, and fancied his male servants. Also, there’s speculation that nobleman Chevalier de Sainte Croix might have been his lover.

* Julius Caesar, Roman emperor. The famed military leader married, and famously bedded other men’s wives.  Nimomedes of Bithynia was is most famous male loverHe was known as “Every woman’s husband and every man’s wife.” 

* Crazy Horse, native American warrior. The Native American war hero not only sired children, he married a winkte, which is a gay or bisexual man who dresses as a woman and is honored as a spiritual leader.

* David Donovan, U.S. Army. The military retaliated for Donovan’s open declaration of his bisexuality in 2000. Then, the government tried to get money returned for the cost of his education. The case helped reflect the ridiculousness of the U.S. military’s anti-LGBT policies.

king-edward-ii-2-sized* Edward II, British king. He had a few wives and several children, but also had lovers in Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser.

* E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia. Some biographers call the great traveler a celibate bisexual, yet he showed open attractions to both men and women during his conquests.

* Trajan, Roman consul. He married nobel woman Pompeia Plotina and had lovers including actor Pylades, dancer Apolaustus and others.

* Corporal Ezekiel Wilkinson, Australian Special Forces. At 29, the bisexual soldier was involved in a strange scandal involving topless barmaids and inappropriate peptide use. Ultimately, his case fought discrimination in the Australian military.

* Pu Yi, Emperor of China. Widely believed by historians to be bisexual, he did have an “official” wife, the Emperess Wan Rong, but never had any children. 


Above is a former military guy who was ousted because he was identified as bisexual, who is giving his testimony at a college campus.

Do you know of any other bisexual soldiers or military people? Tell us in the Facebook page.



Mike Szymanski
Mike Szymanski has written about bisexual issues since 1989 and has one of the longest-running regular bisexual columns as the National Bisexuality Examiner. He came out as bisexual in a cover story of Genre magazine, which resulted in more than 50 television appearances, including Ricki Lake, Phil Donahue Show and 20/20. Szymanski won the Lambda Literary Award in 2007 for co-authoring an informative humor book “The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways.” Write him at [email protected]