How long had Oscar Wilde known he was gay?

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Neil McKenna’s The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde debunks the notaion that Oscar Wilde discovered his passion for “slim gilt souls” after marrying Constance.

The commonly accepted view is that Wilde discovered his homosexuality after he had already been married and produced children, when he was seduced by his young friend Robbie Ross. It is this version popularized in Brian Gilbert’s sympathetic 1997 film, the Oscar-nominated Wilde (starring the openly gay British actor Stephen Fry, in a subtle portrayal, as Wilde). The film was based on Richard Ellmann’s admiring, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography—valuable, but now made outdated in many ways by McKenna’s book.

Wilde’s Second Coming Out


ya! Go gay people!

The truth is something we’ll never really know. In today’s society, Oscar Wilde might have come out from Day One. Times have changed a lot more than many of us even begin to acknowledge. I can recall a teacher in Durham, NC being dismissed for having in his possession a magazine with photos that were not even R rated by today’s standards, that displayed men embracing and holding hands, back in the Sixties. We forget that the tolerance that we know today was not always around.

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