August 13, 2004

America's First Gay President The outted and outgoing governor of New Jersey is by no means America's first, or highest-ranking, or most controversial gay politician.  That honor very likely belongs to President James Buchanan and his probable paramour, former Vice President Rufus King.  Somewhat scholarly discussion of the Buchanan controversy here here and here
  • If this is true, wow what in interesting historical item.
  • The same year he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1812 Once inside the bar, he ordered a Cosmo.
  • *yawn* ring me when the post says America's First Not-a-Rich-White-Guy-President.
  • Once inside the bar, he ordered a Cosmo. In case anyone was wondering, it seems that it is possible to shoot potstickers out your nose.
  • Do you suppose people might have known he might be gay when he was elected? And, maybe didn't care? I suppose that's too much to hope for.
  • Would now be a bad time to make a "head of state" joke?
  • So, we're doing the "this thread is dead" thing this early? LarryC has a pretty good resume (check his profile) and there are some issues here which could lead to interesting conversation and actually getting a little education. Though I think it's too late for that now. If you're bored with the topic, why don't you just not comment? There are lots of really dead threads out there where you can prove how witty you are.
  • I am struck by the few quotes of their correspondence. "I am selfish enough to hope you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation," is touching (if wordy), whether evidence of a homosocial/sexual bond or not. "I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them," feels even more suggestive in context. Maybe people used "woo" in the unromantic sense more often back then, but he's talking about seeking out someone to live/spend time with, not persuading them on some point of foreign policy.
  • I am yet surprised that people in any day and age (at least in America) make such a big deal out of gayness. If you're gay, it's a matter of individual liberty, which our Constitution enshrines and our culture prizes; if you're straight, it's both none of your business and out of your sexual jurisdiction. While the idea of male homosexuality has some, ah, painful connotations for straight men, unless you're new to prison (something that most of us can quite easily control) those connotations pretty much remain in the realm of not-gonna-happen. After all, no one in the history of the world has ever been accidentally buttf**ked.
  • And, of course, nobody in the history of the world has been accidentally raped.
  • PS -- I'm dead, thingfish!
  • I'm inclined to beleive this is at least a reasonable claim, since it's found in a book by James Loewen. I've used Loewen's _Lies My Teacher Told Me_ many times in my Freshman-level classes, and it's a great (though repetitive) book, especially since it gets people thinking about the political uses of history. I haven't read the book this claim is based on, though... maybe I should...
  • Apologies to path: this is an excellent post with potential for some very interesting discussion. Also interesting, although the evidence seems pretty weak to me: Was Lincoln Gay?.
  • Dr. Z - my school marm persona took over again. Sorry.
  • Wow, Dr. Zira, that article totally convinced me... ... that Lincoln was NOT gay.
  • What I find convincing about the Buchanan controversy is both his own writings and the fact that opponents like Andrew Jackson called him gay. If it wasn't a bigger deal at the time that is because the early 19th century, before the Victorian era, was a much looser time in terms of sexual morality and forgiving one's past. Richard Johnson, Martiv Van Buren's VP, lived openly for years with his mulatta slave and mistress Julia Chinn and sported her around Washington with their children in tow. His opponents liked to call him "The Great Amalgamator of the Races," and it was an issue, but he still served as Congressman, Senator, and VP. Sam Houston abandoned his wife and the governership of Tennessee in 1829 and moved west to pursue full time drinking among the Cherokees, where he took on a native wife. But he later became President of Texas, then a senator and governor. So why don't more people today know about our gay president? I think that noone wants to claim him. As a pro-slavery president who dithered away his term as the union fell apart (he ranks near the bottom of every historians rating of the presidents) he makes a poor hero for today's gay rights activists. And the neo-Confederates, who might be expected to admire his presidency, well, they don't much cotton to homosexuals.