4. Federico Gonzaga and Pietro Aretino
An out bisexual in an age of sodomy law enforcement, the poet Pietro Aretino declared himself a “sodomite from birth,” according to researcher Rictor Norton. Letters from longtime associate Federico Gonzaga reveal a complicated relationship between the two. A brother to a cardinal, Gonzaga seemed less able to openly reveal his own sexuality but would serve as a gay pimp finding escorts for Aretino. He does reveal, though, a personal affection as well. “Truly I love you so much that I love you more than the others, and the fruits of your splendid intellect have so impressed you upon my memory,” Gonzaga wrote.