Bash Makes the Historical Hysterical

Bash in NYC

Historical Homos, the new series streaming now on Dekkoo, began as a coffee table book by Bash, a New Yorker, and his sister, Lucy Hendra.  It later morphed into social media with its popular Instagram page.

When the siblings began their search for a production company to turn Historical Homos into the series it is now, they were connected with Zachary Quinto who happened to be working on a similar project called Pride and Prejudice with Donal Brophy and Emrhys Cooper.  The group decided to combine both projects into one, hosted by Bash and Donal.

We spoke with Bash as the premiere party for Historical Homos, held last week in NYC at Club Cumming.

Donal Brophy, Zachary Quinto and Bash at the Historical Homos premiere party at Club Cumming

Were you schooled in NYC? 

Bash:  I was!  I went to the Bronx High School of Science where, ironically, I cemented my love of history.  I then double majored in History and Classics at Columbia, where I was able to become a real scholar of Ancient Greek.

How did you become so obsessed with these great queers of yesteryear?

I became obsessed with these stories because they are just too damn delicious! My obsession is primarily with the stories, but then also with translating them into a contemporary idiom. The second episode of our show focuses on a French transgender spy and soldier from the Enlightenment – who publicly transitioned her gender 250 years ago. Long before the word “trans” even existed! Not everyone cares as much about the Enlightenment or its transgender spies as I do. But if I can tell the story of the Chevalier d’Eon with humor and modern references, then people start to feel some of my passion for the characters, their exploits, and what they might mean for the queer community today.

Do you agree with the adage: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”?

My AP Euro teacher would scoff, and so do I. There’s a much better line in Cicero, which says something like: those who don’t know history are doomed to remain children forever. In the case of queer history, LGBTQ+ people are even more responsible for knowing our past. We turn to history to teach us how far we’ve come and to prove how natural and universal it is for any society to challenge heteronormative sexualities and gender binaries.

Because being queer is nothing new, right?

There’s an idea latent in much of Western society that all this queer stuff is modern invention, which on the one hand makes LGBTQ+ people feel special – “we’ve come so far and we’ve made so much progress” – and on the other helps bigots stick to their prejudiced belief that there’s something new, and therefore unnatural, about us. Both viewpoints are inaccurate and must be challenged. The prejudice that LGBT and Q identities are “new” is simply ignorant of the facts. When you see the full range of queer history from gay samurais to medieval trans people to nonbinary Roman emperors, you start to see how untenable that prejudice is.

In 200 years, when some future historian is digging for information on the ancient scholar known as Bash, what juicy gay tidbits will they uncover?

I hope they discover this image of me as the living St Sebastian.

Bash as St Sebastian

Ben Nelson

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