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25 December 2009

Domingos Rodrigues (1595 – 1621) dancer.

Domingos, son of a black female slave and a white father, was raised in Lisbon. He was sometimes called Rocha, the name of his owner.

He made a living as a dancer, and was known as Domingos of the Dance. The dances were known as those of the fanchonos, sometimes the dances of the woman, as the participants were cross-dressed.

In 1621 he was arrested by the Holy Inquisition. Two priests, two married men, two lay bachelors and a free mulatto gave evidence of sex with Domingos from when he was 15. They testified that he was notoriously feminine in manner, and usually but not always the passive partner in sex. Domingos did not confess.

He was passed to the secular authorities, and strangled and burnt at an Auto da Fé in Lisbon.

There is no record of what happened to his sexual partners, nor whether his owner was compensated or accused.

*The Portuguese word fanchono is cognate with the Italian finocchio.
  • David Higgs. “Lisbon”. In David Higgs (ed). Queer Sites: Gay Urban Histories Since 1600. London: Routledge, 1999: 116-7.

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