Mar 5 2012, 7:17am
While a consideration of Tolkien's views on homosexuality is often deemed controversial, it should not be. This thread seeks to explore the topic.
Tolkien's views on homosexuality
First, an assumption must be punctured. It is often assumed that Tolkien, a devout Catholic, likely held conservative views on sexuality. However, there seems to be little evidence to suggest this, and some evidence to suggest that he may have been far more open-minded than many of his contemporaries.
For example, Tolkien once remarked in a letter that he was reading (and enjoying) Mary Renault's "Last of the Wine," which is at its narrative heart about an Athenian man named Alexias, and his male lover, Lysis, during the later stages of the Pelopponesian War. Now while homosexuality, and bi-sexuality, was a popularly accepted lifestyle in the Athens of that time, and so an appropriate subject for such a book, it is interesting that Tolkien found the story compelling. In any event, he clearly did not have his mind closed enough to keep him from enjoying this kind of a tale.
Another piece of evidence is based on something stated elsewhere on TORN, but for which I cannot find the source, which is that Tolkien edited a piece of fiction about a lesbian nurse. Again, if this is substantiated, it would seem to suggest that Tolkien was liberal enough in his consideration of homosexuality that he found value in stories that explored it.
What say you? And does anyone have any other evidence of Tolkien's views on the subject?