For the research paper project, I think that it would be incredibly interesting to examine the representation of LGBTQ+ figures in Ancient Egyptian society and religion. Most of the literature in this category concerns only homosexuality in Ancient Egypt, although there are also some interesting sources describing gender diversity, particularly in the context of deities in Ancient Egyptian religion. In doing some research to see if there was enough relevant literature published that I could base this paper around, I found a great deal of writings on presentations of masculinity and femininity within Ancient Egyptian art and historical documents that can give additional context into how large a role gender played in Ancient Egyptian society. There is also a large amount of literature devoted to more general opinions on sex and sexuality within Ancient Egypt that can give additional depth to discussions of how queer acts and relationships were viewed within this particular society. One especially comprehensive source that I linked to for this blog post is Deborah Sweeney’s 2011 writings on sex and gender in the UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. In the abstract, Sweeney writes the following: “Masculinity, femininity, and possible other (intersexual) genders in ancient Egypt were expressed in, and simultaneously shaped by, many different contexts, such as material culture, artistic representation, burial equipment, texts, and the use of space. Ideally, gender should be investigated in combination with other factors, such as social standing, ethnicity, and/or age, focusing on specific periods, places, professions, and/or social settings to avoid over-generalization.” This point of avoiding over-generalization is important, and for this reason I think it would be advantageous to limit the discussion in this paper to strictly Ancient Egypt instead of following a longer historical thread in the same geographical area. While focusing on Ancient Egypt, however, I do think it critical that this discussion focus not just on members of Ancient Egyptian society, but also on their deities. In Ancient Egyptian creation stories, Atum, the first deity (also referred to as Atem, Tem or Temu), was said to be both male and female. Atum created Shu and Tefnut through asexual reproduction , and not until several generations later are representations of archetypal males and females represented (in this case in the form of Isis and Osiris). There are also many examples in Ancient Egyptian religion of individuals whose physical characteristics are not in line with binary interpretations of sex and gender, and even a representation in the Book of the Dead of the goddess Mut portrayed with traditionally male secondary sex characteristics. In an archaeological example of LGBTQ+ figures in Ancient Egypt, the tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep’s 5th Dynasty tomb in Saqqara depicts iconography “similar to that of a married couple–iconography that has been variously interpreted as that of a same-sex couple.” (Sweeney, 2011) Both Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were married to women during their lives, and both had children, and are sometimes used as potential evidence that bisexuality was accepted in Ancient Egypt, though the degree to which queer acts and relationships were accepted in Ancient Egypt is made more complex given the very different ways they are documented by different historians. The amount of (often contradictory) literature on this subject is fascinating; there are many LGBTQ+ figures in Ancient Egyptian society and religion that I had never heard of before, and I would like to explore their stories more through this research paper.