Founder of the Order of Chaeronea in 1897, George Cecil Ives was an early advocate for gay rights. Named after the battle in which the Sacred Band of Thebes was decimated by Philip II of Macedon, the Order was a secret society that promoted what Ives called the “Cause.” With its own rituals, ceremonies, service of initiation, seals, codes and passwords, the Order of Chaeronea became a worldwide organization. The order went so far as to date letters and other materials on the date of the battle (which took place in 338 B.C.) – so the year 1897 would be C2235.
Ives was also one of the co-founders of the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology (later the British Sexological Society) in 1914, along with Edward Carpenter, Magnus Hirschfeld and others. The society promoted the scientific study of sex and a more rational attitude toward sexual conduct – addressing issues such as birth control, abortion, sterilization, venereal diseases and prostitution, as well as homosexuality.
Ives’ papers ended up at the University of Texas at Austin at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. He also has a page on Wikipedia. He published two books of poetry, numerous non-fiction works on both sexuality and penal reform, as well as one novel, The Missing Baronet.
Ives died in 1950 at the age of 82.