Just Mates?: The Reality of Pirate Relationships in the ‘Golden Age’

Pirates are figures that have dominated our media as epitomes of masuline heterosexual behavior and moral debasement.  With research, however, it seems that pirates exhibit just one of these things. Pirate society was actually characterized by homosexual behavior and allowances, along with gender non-comformity. With a social structure for m/m civil unions, and several women who presented masculine behavior in a western society characterized by gender suppression, our buccaneers are not the salty frat boys western society prepares us to believe. 

Reviewing articles from popular websites on the queer history of piracy during its ‘Golden Age’ (as defined by the Western perspective), I accumulated material from their cited sources to verify the alternate narratives they present on pirate society. Recognizing the research of others, I plan to synthesize (and if necessary add-to) their research into a presentation to spread awareness of a way cooler version of history.  Considering queer erasure in the modern media, I hope to provide some comical representation of queer people in a time that actively sought to oppress homosexuality.  


Nikalus Ward, Undergraduate Student
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Presenter

Pronouns: he/him/his

Nikalus Ward is a Sophomore at UNC who is still struggling to pick his major, along with what to wear every morning.  He is currently an Ambassador at the LGBTQ Center, an Executive Assistant in Student Government, part of the leadership team for the Tarheel Navigator Program, and a recovering procrastinator.  Outside of work, he enjoys video games, webcomics, and learning to bake for his future husband, Jake Gyllenhaal. 

Attend this Presentation

Day Two (Tuesday, October 13th, 2020) | Session One (6:00pm - 7:00pm)

Duration: 10 minutes

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