This Fourth of July, as you’re munching on hot dogs, launching fireworks and wondering if you took it just a little too far with your flag-themed outfit, take a break to appreciate this collection of gay secrets from the Land of the Free’s history.
From Abraham Lincoln’s bed fellows to marine man-love, there’s plenty in America’s past to make homophobes faint from something other than too much beer this Independence Day.
If you’re interested in learning more about The United States’s queer past, check out LGBT lecturer Michael Bronski’s “Queer History of the United States of America.”
Honest Abe’s Bedfellows
The key truth held to be self-evident in the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal,” was foundational to the political philosophy of Abraham Lincoln. However, although Honest Abe reared four children with his wife, Mary Todd, it’s possible that he was created a bit… more fabulously than most men.
Scholars note that he tended to be a href=”http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9f05e5d61439f93aa35752c0a9639c8b63pagewanted=all” target=”_hplink”remote and unavailable/a toward Todd and other women with whom he had relationships. On the other hand, as psychologist a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Arthur_Tripp” target=”_hplink”C.A. Tripp/a a href=”http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9f05e5d61439f93aa35752c0a9639c8b63pagewanted=all” target=”_hplink”has argued/a, Lincoln’s relations with men have been quite intimate.
At 22, when Lincoln shared a tight bed with Billy Greene, he noted that Lincoln’s “thighs were as perfect as a human being could be.” Later, Lincoln also shared a bed with Joshua Speed, who became a close friend — Lincoln would sign letters to Speed with “Yours Forever.”
Bed-sharing was common enough in raw settlements, but it a href=”http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9f05e5d61439f93aa35752c0a9639c8b63pagewanted=all” target=”_hplink”was also rumored/a that, as a president, Lincoln would let Capt. David Derickson, who led the brigade that guarded Lincoln at the Soldiers’ Home in the District of Columbia, share his bed when Mrs. Lincoln was away.
Well, that’s one way to celebrate independence!
Merriment in Merrimount
In 1624, Thomas Morton and other colonists, including thirty male indentured servants, founded a decidedly non-Puritan colony in present-day Quincy, Massachussets.
As LGBT studies professor, a href=”http://www.dartmouth.edu/~wstudies/faculty/bronski.html” target=”_hplink”Michael Bronski/a, explains in “a href=”http://www.amazon.com/History-United-States-Revisioning-American/product-reviews/0807044393/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_two?ie=UTF8showViewpoints=0filterBy=addTwoStar” target=”_hplink”A Queer History of the United States/a,” they named the colony Merrymount, punning on
This article originally appeared on: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/gay-american-history_n_1648083.html