OK, folks, let’s come back down to Earth, lest we give credence to the old “light in the loafers” expression: President Obama is a lot of things, but he is not the first gay president.
I realize that this was decreed by Newsweek, and far be it from me to take such decrees lightly. I, too, was among those pointing to the president’s great leadership last week, writing that he liberated himself and many others by coming out of the closet on marriage equality. But honestly, the “first gay president” label just doesn’t work, no matter what rhetorical device you employ. And it makes us gays seem silly and starved for validation.
First off, as historian James Loewen noted this week, over a century ago James Buchanan was likely our first gay president, having lived with a man who was arguably our first gay vice president, Rufus King. And evidence suggests that it was a veritable gay era in the White House, as the president who followed Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, was likely our second homosexual president, a reality that was seen as just plain crazy when it was first extensively documented in 2005, but which more and more serious historians are now embracing.
And the playwright and activist Larry Kramer, who was among those pushing academia and media to rethink Lincoln’s sexual orientation, has long been working on a 4,000-page book, The American People, which will be published in two-parts. In it he will drop an even bigger bomb: He says that the father of our country himself, George Washington, was actually our first gay president — or, as he told me on my radio program last year, “a big queen.” I’m sure you can’t wait for the firestorm that one is going to create.
But all that aside, even if you accept Toni Morrison’s premise that Bill Clinton was “the first black president,” which of course Andrew
This article originally appeared on: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/no-president-obama-is-not_b_1524125.html