College was also the first time I had regular access to the internet, and shortly after my introduction to Catullus I found the works of Sappho, a well known Greek poet from the Isle of Lesbos. One of my favorites of her poems is "Please". Another is this untitled one.
I don't remember which particular poems we translated in that class, though if I recall correctly some of the more ribald ones were included. Nor do I remember precisely when I found the works of Sappho. What I do remember, what still resonates now, is that startling realization that different sexual orientations had been around for a really long time. This was startling for a girl who went through her teenage years in the rural south, surrounded by the philosophies that would result in DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
A set of ancient poems opened my mind and heart to a set of possibilities I had been terrified to even contemplate. I started to accept that my differences were not defects, as I had been taught. Being different wasn't a bad thing, and didn't make me the devil incarnate. Those parts of me that were different weren't broken, and didn't need to be fixed. It is amazing what a little bit of poetry can do.
This has been a fabulous week and I thank all the wonderful people who hosted and all those who have participated in the comments. We've had some truly great posts and some amazing poetry to enjoy.