01-06-1854

Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

English fictional detective, born; What!? SHERLOCK HOLMES? Why include the famous, hawk-nosed detective, a figment of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fertile imagination, when today is also the birthday of the very real KING RICHARD II (b: 1367), whom even the staid Encyclopedia Britannica called “tall, handsome, and effeminate”?

Why? Because Sherlock, whom his creator almost named “Sherinford,” is simply more interesting. And, besides, almost anyone who has read Shakespeare knows about Richard, whereas almost no one realizes that Sherlock Holmes was Gay. He was, of course, the first consulting detective, a vocation he followed for 23 years. In January 1881, he was looking for someone to share his new digs at 221B Baker Street, and there being no personal ads in the Village Voice or The Advocate (remember those?) in those days, a friend introduced him to Dr. John H. Watson.

Before agreeing to share the flat, the two men, immediately attracted to one another, listed their respective character deficiencies. Holmes admitted to smoking a smelly pipe, although he didn’t mention that he was a frequent user of cocaine. Watson owned up to a peculiar habit of leaving his bed at odd hours of the night. “I have another set of vices,” he admitted, but, then, so did Sherlock.

The two became friends and roommates for the rest of their lives. For the sordid details of the famous marriage of true minds that followed, read Rex Stout’s astonishing “Watson Was Woman,” in which the famous creator of Nero Wolfe (himself hardly a paragon of butch studliness) reveals that Watson and Holmes were the most extraordinary Gay team in sleuthing history.