Achillean, also known as men-loving men (MLM), apollian, chaeronean, or wildean refers to a man or man-aligned individual who is attracted to other men or man-aligned individuals. One may or may not be attracted to other genders as well. This attraction does not need to be exclusive, as the label is used in a way to unify under an umbrella all men who love other men, including gay (vincian ,erosian or uranian) men, bisexual men, pansexual men, queer men, and other m-spec men, promoting solidarity among all of these identities.
The term can be used as a modifier combined with other identities to specify that one prioritizes their attraction to and relationships with other men. It may also be used as an identity on its own and may be particularly useful for individuals who know they are attracted to men but may be uncertain if they are attracted to other genders. It can also be used to describe a relationship between two men.
There are many other terms used to refer to non-exclusive attraction to men, often referring to Ancient Greek and Roman literary figures as well as gay rights activists and artists since the 16th century. These terms include:
- Apollian or Apollonian, in honor of the Ancient Greek and Roman deity Apollo.
- Wildean, in honor of writer Oscar Wilde.
- Chaeronean, based on the Order of Chaeronea was started in 1897 by early gay rights activist George Cecil Ives.
- Hyacean or Hyacique, based on Hyacinthus from Greek mythology.
- Ganymedic, in honor of Ganymede from Greek mythology.
- Patroclean, in honor of Patroclus from Greek mythology.
- Sivanic, in honor of singer and YouTuber Troye Sivan.
- Tomic, in honor of erotic artist Tom of Finland.
- Vincic, in honor of inventor Leonardo da Vinci.
- Vincian, also based on Leonardo da Vinci is occasionally used as another version of achillean, but is also used to refer to gay men (exclusive attraction).
The word achillean has historically been used to describe things relating to the mythological figure Achilles. The first instance of achillean being used in the context of men attracted to men is in 1959 in A.C. Hamilton's scholarly article titled "Spenser's Treatment of Myth":
Guyon subdues these Achillean affections through his own power; but they break out again as Cymochles lapses into lust and Pyrochles burns in the idle lake.
This usage predates the reclamation of the word "gay," previously only a derogatory term for homosexual men, as a synonym for self-identified and proud homosexual by the Gay Liberation Front by ten years.
The resurgence of achillean is likely due to the internet, specifically a post by Tumblr user asculan on June 13, 2016.
The original achillean flag was created by Tumblr user pridenpositivity in 2016. The flag was redesigned by DeviantArt user Pride-Flags on October 5, 2016, which is widely accepted as the current achillean flag.
Both flags have two blue stripes on the top and bottom representing men. In the center is a green carnation. In ancient Rome and 19th century England, green indicated gay affiliations. Victorian men would often pin a green carnation on their lapel, as popularized by author Oscar Wilde. In general, the achillean flag represents joy.
A commonly used alternate flag, with a darker blue stripe and a green stripe with the same symbolism, was created by Reddit user Pacack on September 6, 2019. In general, the achillean flag has been redesigned or tweaked many times since its creation.
The Blue Rose flags were made as alternative flags for achillean for those who don't like that term; the term and flags were designed by Twitter user CatColors sometime before April 30, 2021. The light blue at the top of the flag represents gay men. the sky blue after the light blue represents bisexual and pansexual men, the white/gray represents GNC and non-binary MLM/NBLM, the light violet represents a-spec MLM, and the light purple represents all pronoun/neopronoun and xenogender MLM.
The MLM/NBLM flag by Twitter user R7YGUTZ was designed on September 11, 2020. The dark pink color at the top of the flag represents attraction and beauty, the purple represents MLM of color, the blue represents community and support, the turquoise represents acceptance, the light green represents trans, non-binary, and GNC MLM, the light orange represent peace and warmth, and the darker orange represents love and romance.
The MLM flag by Twitter user infernalgraves was designed on July 1, 2020. The dull blue represents masculinity and pride, the first periwinkle blue represents bravery and inner beauty, the white represents transmasculine, non-binary, and GNC, the second periwinkle blue represents sexuality/romance and a-spec, and the dull pink represents femininity and love.
The MLM/NBLM flag by Twitter user MIGHTYHEGEMOL was designed on August 31, 2020. The light yellow represents GNC and trans men, the yellow represents joy, the green represents nature, the blue represents calmness, the darker blue represents finding peace, and the darkest blue represents healing.
The demiachillean flag was created by wiki user Wemrotung on August 3, 2021. It is the achillean flag in the demi- flag format. The dark grey stripe stands for a-spec attraction. This flag can be used for sexual, romantic, and tertiary attraction.
The word achillean comes from the name of the hero in the Iliad, Achilles, who was romantically involved with another man, Patroclus.
- Tumblr post coining apollian.
- Tumblr post coining wildean.
- Wikipedia entry on the Order of Chaeronea.
- Tumblr post coining chaeronean.
- Tumblr post coining hyacean.
- Archived Tumblr post on new MLM terms.
- Wiktionary entry for achillean (quotation under definition four of achillean (adjective)).
- Wikipedia entry on the year 1969 in gay liberation history.
- Archived Tumblr post announcing the achillean flag.
- DeviantArt post with the current achillean flag.
- Reddit post on an alternate achillean flag.
- "MLM Flags!" Carrd entry on achillean flag variations.
- LGBTQIArchive on Tumblr: Blue rose MLM + Asterian combo for anon
- R7YGUTZ on Twitter: MLM/NBLM Flag Post
- infernalgraves on Twitter: MLM Flag Post
- MIGHTYHEGEMOL on Twitter: MLM Flag Post