(1694 - 1778) France
Writer and philosopher
Pen name of François Marie Arouet, born in Paris, son of a notary. He adopted his pseudonym in 1718.
Voltaire was twice imprisoned in the Bastille and three times exiled from Paris between 1716 and 1726 for libellous political verse. Perhaps best known for his moral tale Candide, and for Letters on England, Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire is a celebrated philosopher, poet, and historian.
In religion a Deist, he devoted himself to crushing the spirit of intolerance.
Allegedly a friend persuaded Voltaire to try with him sex. Voltaire accepted, nevertheless, when this friend asked about trying gay sex with him a second time, Voltaire is said to have remarked,
"Once a philosopher, twice a sodomite!"
Voltaire is also thought to have had a love-hate relationship with Frederick the Great.
According to Roger Peyrefitte, he has proofs that Frederick II of Prussia sodomized Voltaire, and that it wasn't a rape, as the philosopher "was game". Some critics refuse Peyrefitte's story.
Voltaire, on the other hand, frequented, and was close friend with many homosexuals during his life; he wrote that sodomy, when not accompanied by violence, should not be illegal.
The great French author, one of the leading figures of the Enlightenment, acknowledged to friends that when he attended Catholic college in Paris,
"those damned Jesuits buggered me to such a degree that I shall never get over it as long as I live".
Later, he wrote explicitly passionate poems to both Frederick the Great and the noted English homosexual Lord John Hervey, leading some biographers to speculate that he may have been actively bisexual.
Source: Rutledge, L. The Gay Book of Lists. Alyson, 2003 edition, p. 86