兔神 The Rabbit God

I wanted to start off my blog by looking back in history at the various mythological views on homosexuality from the various ethnic groups that make up the American dynamic. I have always had an interest in Asian mythology and I was surprised to find a story that had a God that dealt specifically with homosexual men.

The story goes about a man named Hu Tianbao, who fell in love with an imperial inspector of the Fujian province. Hu Tianbao was caught peeping on the inspector and, after confession of his affections for the inspector, was put to death by beating. One month after his death Hu Tianbao appeared before a man from his home town in a dream. Hu Tianbao said that the officials of the Underworld, understanding that his crime was out of love, decided to fight the injustice of his death by appointing him the God and guardian of homosexual affections.

The result of this was for the man to build a shrine for Hu Tianbao. The popularity of the God in the Fujian grew to the point that, in later Qing, the “cult” of Hu Tianbao was targeted for extermination. An interesting note in, during imperial China, rabbits were associated with homosexuality. That is why Hu Tianbao is called the Rabbit God.

I thought this story was pretty interesting because it offers a unique perspective on homosexuality you don’t often associate with a culture that tends to emphasize the masculine and masculinity. I also thought it was interesting that a man who was demonized and eventually killed because of his affections was later vilified by the Powers That Be and ascended to Godhood simply because they understood that he loved someone.

Image of the shrine to the Rabbit God

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