PDA

View Full Version : Abraham Lincoln was gay?


05-18-1999, 08:56 PM
I've read in a few places now that there is some evidence to prove that Abraham Lincoln was gay. While I'm perfectly willing to accept that theory, I'm wondering what that evidence is supposed to be.

------------------
Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

05-18-1999, 09:06 PM
Well, you gotta help us a little here. What are your sources? Having "read [something] in a few places" doesn't give us much to work from...

05-18-1999, 11:01 PM
I think you can safely file this story away with the "Mary Todd was really a man" rumor.

Wait a minute!

05-18-1999, 11:11 PM
(laughing at above)

No, actually I've heard the same myself. I think there are two new biographies out that make such a claim. It was on the news a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn't paying much attention. There was something about evidence of a gay relationship - not that there's anything wrong with that.

05-18-1999, 11:20 PM
I overheard the same claim on TV, but can't remember the source.

------------------
Contestant #3

05-18-1999, 11:26 PM
You know...maybe we should ask the Chairman of the board of the Rational Examination Association of Lincoln Land (REALL), our own David Bloomberg (alias Dave B). www.reall.org

I think that somebody else ought to e-mail the question though because he's kinda pissed at me right now!

Most Sincerely,

------------------
Contestant #3

05-19-1999, 01:12 AM
From the history books I've read, being married to Mary Todd would be enough to turn you gay.

------------------
"I wept because I had no shoes, then I met a man with no feet. So I took his shoes" - Dave Barry

05-19-1999, 02:41 AM
According to the gay folklore I've heard, it was Lincoln's predecessor James Buchanan who was gay. This is based on pretty tenuous evidence; Buchanan never married and he was a close friend of another man who never married.

I've never heard any claims that Lincoln was gay. He was after all married and the father of four children.

05-19-1999, 08:47 AM
I've read in a few places now that there is some evidence to prove that Abraham Lincoln was gay. While I'm perfectly willing to accept that theory, I'm wondering what that evidence is supposed to be.

The "evidence" is this: for several years, as he was building his law practice, Lincoln shared a bed with another man (I don't recall the name -- either his partner or a friend of his).

Now, whereas in 1999, this would certainly be suspicious, in the 19th century frontier, when beds were expensive and scarce, it is meaningless. If you needed a place to stay, your friend would only have one bed to offer.
It was quite common for two men to use the same bed merely as a place to sleep and nothing more.

So the fact proves nothing, and the other facts of his life would indicate otherwise.

I've often maintained that the hardest thing to understand is that people in the past thought differently from us. This is just another example.




------------------
www.sff.net/people/rothman (http://www.sff.net/people/rothman)

05-19-1999, 04:39 PM
Being in Springfield, IL (where Lincoln spent most of his adult life and is buried), we've been a bit more exposed to this claim than perhaps most have. The most recent claim came in an article in Salon (online) magazine. A reporter at the State Journal-Register here in town looked into it a bit and wrote the following two articles: http://www.sj-r.com/news/99/05/16/b.htm and http://www.sj-r.com/news/99/05/16/c.htm .

Basically, this guy claims to have a mysterious diary that proves Lincoln was gay. Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with that claim (among them that he isn't showing the supposed diary to anybody), all of which are discussed in those articles.

All in all, I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock in the claim.

------------------
"It's a very dangerous thing to believe in nonsense." -- James Randi

05-20-1999, 01:35 AM
DrFidelius is right, I should have had more details than "I read somewhere". I looked up my source and found the following (from the Washington Post):

Two upcoming biographies will make the claim that President Abraham Lincoln was gay. Sex researcher C.A. Tripp, author of "The Homosexual Matrix," and Larry Kramer, founder of ACT-UP and the Gay Men's Health Crisis, reportedly will present evidence that Lincoln had a lengthy and passionate affair with his best male friend, Joshua Speed. According to the New York Post, Kramer claims to have found a diary written by Speed that was hidden under the floorboards of a building that once housed Speed's general store. The diary allegedly reveals details of the affair, although no one has been allowed to see it.

Kramer said such evidence has been around for many years but ignored by historians.

Neither book will be ready for publication in the near future.

Of course, being married and the father of four children is not proof of heterosexuality.

------------------
Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

05-20-1999, 01:44 AM
Honest Abe gay? I dunno.. I do know he was Jewish. He was, after all, shot in the Temple. (rimshot)

05-20-1999, 08:22 AM
I doubt Abe was gay, but Nickrz might be right about Abe being at least part Jewish:

-Abraham is a biblical name from the old testament.
-He freed the black slaves, like Moses freed the Jewish slaves in Egypt.
-His facial appearance looked kind of Jewish.

05-20-1999, 10:27 AM
Cheese? That was a joke, son.
(Sure tipoff: rimshot).
I know, that Confucius thing still has your mind reeling.

05-20-1999, 03:15 PM
Well... I watched a special about Lincoln a while back, and it was on the History channel so it must be true! Anyhoo, according to this show, Lincoln may not have been Jewish but he denied the divinity of Christ and despised the New Testatment (although he quoted it when he said that line about a house divided against itself, etc.), and wrote and distributed pamphlets on the subject. But during his campaign, he was told to cool it, because the (newly-formed Republican) party was afraid they'd lose the Christian voters.

------------------
"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it," Jack Handy

05-20-1999, 03:23 PM
Back on the topic at hand (sort of, anyway), the History Channel program didn't mention any stories of Lincoln being gay, but did relate several instances of him visiting female prostitutes. Why would a homosexual pay money to sleep with a woman? I think the program even suggested that Speed set Lincoln up with some of the women. Wouldn't Speed have been miffed by his lover asking where he could get a woman? I don't buy it.

------------------
"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it," Jack Handy

05-20-1999, 03:25 PM
I mean, I don't buy that he was gay, not that he visited prostitutes. Cuz I do buy that. Ah, nevermind.

------------------
"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it," Jack Handy

05-20-1999, 03:33 PM
Of course, being married and the father of four children is not proof of heterosexuality.

What would you accept as proof that Lincoln was a heterosexual? A video of him having sex with Pamela Anderson?

05-20-1999, 04:06 PM
I've not heard anyone here speculate that he might have been bisexual, you know, a switch hitter...could explain things...

------------------
Contestant #3

05-20-1999, 04:30 PM
Contestant #3 said:I've not heard anyone here speculate that he might have been bisexual, you know, a switch hitter...could explain things...
Explain what things? There is nothing to explain until the person making these claims comes forward with the evidence he supposedly has. We really shouldn't be trying to explain something until we're sure there is something to explain.

------------------
"It's a very dangerous thing to believe in nonsense." -- James Randi

05-20-1999, 04:46 PM
As a historian, I get a little tired of these post-mortem diagnoses of people's psychological or medical state. There is NO evidence that Lincoln was gay. Even if this diary does exist it still needs to pass muster as to authenticity and the credibility of the diary's writer. Even if we do come across evidence for a gay Lincoln, how does this in anyway help us understand what motivated his world-changing actions? Is this revelation supposed to vindicate the gay community in someway? How? It was a major breakthrough for Catholic-Americans when Kennedy was elected because people voted for him despite his religion. Nobody in the 1860 electorate suspected Lincoln was gay.

It is rare that I ever use these words in response to historical detail, but along with the identity of Shakespere, all I can say is "Who cares?"

05-20-1999, 05:15 PM
It is rare that I ever use these words in response to historical detail, but along with the identity of Shakespere, all I can say is "Who cares?"

Tabloid writers care cuz dead people can't sue.

------------------
"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it," Jack Handy

05-20-1999, 05:38 PM
David B:

Geesh, why the irritation? He (Lincoln)was/is a public figure and not exempt from
close inspection or even speculation concerning his personal life.

Besides, haven't you noticed that in our society perception IS reality? Someone opened that can of worms, it got national coverage and now (to mix metaphors) you can't put the genie back into the bottle.

This will be hashed and rehashed for quite some time. Since noone can catch him engaged in a same-sex act, there will be those that will deny that he could have been a bisexual or homosexual no matter what documentation or testimony comes to the surface (your beloved REALL organiztion comes to mind).

We will never know for sure, but be assured that it will be reality to some that he was a homosexual.

Frankly, I don't care what or who he did in the bedroom, just like I don't judge Clinton by his sexual habits. The measure of this man (Lincoln) was his work as a politician and that is well documented.

Besides, don't act so freaked out about it...in these highly politically correct times someone might mistake your reaction as being "homophobia" and as Chairman of the Board of REALL (Rational Examination Association of Lincoln Land) you don't want to alienate (I love that word!) potential customers of your newsletter.

Sincerely,

------------------
Contestant #3

05-20-1999, 06:50 PM
Why the irritation? Maybe it's the ease with which you take up silly ideas and proceed as if they were true. No one has done more than suggest that Lincoln was gay - it's a rumor, it's gossip, it's tabloid news.

Sorry, gay community, but I do think it's a silly notion. It seems highly coincidental that this supposed diary turned up in the hands of someone who is a gay activist.

05-20-1999, 07:41 PM
Assemayo,

Washington Post and Network News...tabloid?

Heck, why attack me? It wasn't me that broke the story on a national level!

Heck, it wasn't even me that started this thread!

You best get used to this type of thing...this is America...if you haven't noticed, our free and open culture has led to this and it's here to stay (reference genie/bottle comment). We don't exactly revere and protect authority figures today as if you hadn't noticed this changing over the past 20 years...

I don't know that you can fairly draw conclusions by virtue of the proclivity of the people purporting to have the evidence. Seems like that's just as bad as what you are complaining about.

Guess we will just have to wait to see when the book is released, but even then, as I've mentioned in my previous post, some people won't believe any evidence short of themeslves being an eyewitness to the act.

BTW, I'm not homosexual (not that there's anything WRONG with that!),

------------------
Contestant #3

05-21-1999, 09:16 AM
Nickrz:
Cheese? That was a joke, son. (Sure tipoff: rimshot). I know, that Confucius thing still has your mind reeling.

Don't worry, I got the temple-rimshot joke, despite my Confucius confusion. Now what's the topic...was Confucius gay? I heard he may have had an affair with Socrates.

05-21-1999, 09:26 AM
Contestant #3 said:Geesh, why the irritation?
I wouldn't exactly call that irritation. All I said was:Explain what things? There is nothing to explain until the person making these claims comes forward with the evidence he supposedly has. We really shouldn't be trying to explain something until we're sure there is something to explain.
These are statements of fact. I'll admit that it does occasionally get irritating when people do this (try to explain things where there really isn't anything to explain), but in this case I think you're just reading more into it because you expect me to get irritated with you.

He (Lincoln)was/is a public figure and not exempt from close inspection or even speculation concerning his personal life.
As usual, you reply with a straw man. I never said, nor indicated in any way, that he should be exempt from inspection. I just said there is no good evidence for the claims this guy is making, and until he provides such evidence, it's silly to try to "explain" something.

Besides, haven't you noticed that in our society perception IS reality?
No. Some may believe that is so, but reality is independent of what people believe.

This will be hashed and rehashed for quite some time. Since noone can catch him engaged in a same-sex act, there will be those that will deny that he could have been a bisexual or homosexual no matter what documentation or testimony comes to the surface (your beloved REALL organiztion comes to mind).
First, REALL would have nothing to do with this since it is a historical, not scientific, matter. But beyond that and your attack (another typical ploy of yours), it's silly to even speculate on what would happen if evidence was given because it simply has not been. If the evidence is provided and then people don't believe it, you might have an argument. Until that point, you only have your petty attacks.

Besides, don't act so freaked out about it...
Your imagination is in serious overdrive. Nowhere have I acted "freaked" about anything. In this thread, I posted the location of a couple related articles and pointed out that it is silly to try to explain something when there is not evidence for there being a "thing" to explain.

in these highly politically correct times someone might mistake your reaction as being "homophobia" and as Chairman of the Board of REALL (Rational Examination Association of Lincoln Land) you don't want to alienate (I love that word!) potential customers of your newsletter.
Another ridiculous attack. How quaint. Of course, the only people who would even possibly "think" what I said had anything to do with homophobia are so devoid of intelligence as to probably be unable to lick the envelope to send in membership dues anyway.

------------------
"It's a very dangerous thing to believe in nonsense." -- James Randi

05-21-1999, 02:42 PM
>What would you accept as proof that Lincoln
>was a heterosexual? A video of him having
>sex with Pamela Anderson?

No, I would consider that more of a proof of the possibility of time travel, which would be a lot more exciting topic than the (alleged) homosexuality of A.L.

What I meant was that many homosexuals have married and had children in the attempt to live a "normal" life.

------------------
Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

05-21-1999, 02:47 PM
>Even if we do come across evidence for a
>gay Lincoln, how does this in anyway help
>us understand what motivated his world-
>changing actions? Is this revelation
>supposed to vindicate the gay community in
>someway? How?

I don't know how this would "vindicate" the gay community, but homophobia is still alive and well in many countries (e.g. the USA) and having a role model that was homosexual could inspire some people not to feel "inferior".

I visited a message board discussing Abe. The topic of his "alleged" homosexuality was mentioned, and several postings were indignant that people were trying to "besmirch" his memory. Implying that it would be shameful for Abraham Lincoln to be gay?

------------------
Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

05-21-1999, 03:16 PM
ALL movies/videotapes showing Abraham Lincoln having sex with Pamela Anderson should be immediately forwarded to MC for further study.

05-21-1999, 03:28 PM
JRK said:

I don't know how this would "vindicate" the gay community, but homophobia is still alive and well in many countries (e.g. the USA) and having a role model that was homosexual could inspire some people not to feel "inferior".

Do gays with inferioity complexes really feel that their ranks are so incapable of greatness that their additude will be changed by such a revelation? If Lincoln is proven to have been gay (and I doubt there's any evidence of this) what sort of example is that? You can only be a great man if you put on the trappings of heterosexuality? Is there supposed to be some connection between political capability and sexual preference?

I find this topic interesting because it is indicative of a disturbing new movement in historical research (see my comments in the "What did Mozart have?" thread), but as to the significance of whether Lincoln was gay or not: There isn't any!

05-21-1999, 04:08 PM
[quote]Do gays with inferioity complexes really feel that their ranks are so incapable of greatness that their additude will be changed by such a revelation? [/quote}

There's always a tendency to list historical figures of your own ethnic group, so it's not really any different for homosexuals. The problem with homosexuals, though, is that it isn't always as obvious as race or religion. The problem with the lists is that they are made up by people whose agenda is to make them as long as possible, so they add names on the flimsiest of evidence.

There have been many famous men who were gay, and you can find some good role models among them, if you want. The mention of Lincoln, especially on less than flimsy evidence (Can you say "Hitler Diaries"?) is mere sensationalism and a desire to shock people. A lot of gay-bashers are patriotic and revere Lincoln (without really understanding him); to reveal Lincoln was gay would shake them to the core.

------------------
www.sff.net/people/rothman (http://www.sff.net/people/rothman)

05-24-1999, 09:03 PM
I very seriously doubt that Lincoln was gay. If he was and the historical evidence that Larry Kramer is brandishing turns out to be correct, great. If not, Kramer has something to answer for.

To me, the more interesting claim is the one that Gore Vidal made. He says, and he sources it from William Herndon's diary, that Lincoln caught syphilis from a prostitute as a young man and that he later infected Mary Todd and, therefore, their children. Vidal's evidence, besides Herndon's diary, is that three of the Lincoln children died young and that Mary Todd's dementia was caused by advanced stages of syphilis, as was supposedly demonstrated by her doctors.

I want to see a lot more proof of Vidal's theory before I believe it, but it seems much more credible than theories of Lincoln's supposed homosexuality.

05-24-1999, 09:14 PM
Considering that many gays have engaged in heterosexual intercourse and raised families, it is certainly possible that Lincoln was gay. I am inclined to disbelieve it in the absense of evidence to the contrary. But if that evidence were to surface, it would not change my opinion that Lincoln was the greatest President in American history.

As long as we're on this subject, could Larry Kramer have been off by one? I have heard of speculation that James Buchanan, Lincoln's immediate predecessor and the only bachelor President, may have been a homosexual? Has anyone seen any evidence?

------------------
"Interested in fashion, Harmonica?"
"There were three dusters like these waiting for a train.
Inside the dusters were three men. Inside the men were
three bullets..."
--Once Upon A Time In The West

05-25-1999, 09:19 AM
I have heard of speculation that James Buchanan, Lincoln's immediate predecessor and the only bachelor President, may have been a homosexual? Has anyone seen any evidence?

The main "evidence" seems to be the fact he never married. That proves nothing. People had different attitudes toward sex in those days; remaining a bachelor meant nothing.

05-25-1999, 06:22 PM
The rumors of Lincoln's "homosexuality" serves no one but late night talk show joke writers. Did J. Edgar Hoover's cross-dressing enlighten anyone's attitudes? I'm not saying the topic shouldn't be broached but jeez, is there any evidence? At all?

Now James Madison, I always thought he was kinda "swishy" what with the wigs and all.

Markxxx
08-30-1999, 03:57 AM
Aby Baby was so ugly he had to marry a crazy women to get laid.

The fact that Buchanan never got married does state something in that back in the 1860's pressures to marry were enormous. But of course it proves nothing.

Lissa
08-30-1999, 06:41 PM
I assume that the "crazy lady" is Mary Lincoln? Mary Lincoln was not crazy. Yes, she was found insane by a panel of judges, but many women found inconvenient by their families suffered the same fate. Her son had interest in getting his mother out of the way, and she was found insane on shoddy, heresay evidence, such as shopping sprees and weeping. She could not even speak at her own trial in her defense.

After her release, she wrote to a friend that
she would never forgive her son for the evil that he had done to her.

tracer
08-30-1999, 09:32 PM
Much as I hate to admit this, I kinda agree with Contestant #3's sentiment on one very minor nitpicky issue:

Sure, the evidence for Lincoln having an affair with a man is about as flimsy as the evidence for the Loch Ness monster. I agree with that. But when I hear people making arguments like "Mary Todd must have been his Beard", or "He couldn't have been intimate with a man because he visited prostitutes", I just wanna scream, "GAH! Haven't you ever heard of bisexuality?! Oooh, imagine that, a person who likes to have sex with men AND with women!"

Purely homosexual and purely heterosexual are NOT the only two options.

------------------
I'm not flying fast, just orbiting low.

drhess
03-24-2004, 10:34 AM
How's this for reviving an old thread? I tried to find other threads on the subject, but the word gay is three letters and the search engine requires four. So if there are other links on this topic that answer this questions, please let me know.

Question: did the books that were to come out on Lincoln that claimed evidence of his homosexuality/bisexuality ever come out? How were they received?

Otto
03-24-2004, 11:09 AM
I imagine this thread will end up closed based on age, but before that happens, here (http://archive.salon.com/books/it/1999/04/30/lincoln/) is one of the early articles discussing author Larry Kramer's contention that he has evidence of Lincoln's homosexuality. The book remains unfinished to date.

I suppose I ought to note that it's difficult to assign constructs like "homsoexual" and "heterosexual" to historical figures if for no other reason than the constructs themselves are of relatively recent vintage.

Otto
03-24-2004, 11:16 AM
Oh, and here (http://www.galha.org/glh/224/tripp.html) is the obit for CA Tripp, who was also supposedly working on a book outing Lincoln. It was suppsoedly completed in 2003 but according to Amazon hasn't been published (although searching for it on Amazon is a, well, trip; searching by author's last name turns up Tripp's book The Homosexual Matrix followed immediately by a book called Molly's Surprise).

Genghis Bob
03-24-2004, 11:19 AM
Honest Abe gay? I dunno.. I do know he was Jewish. He was, after all, shot in the Temple. (rimshot)


Huh? What? What? Did somebody call my name? Huh? Oh. . . zzzzzzz

drhess
03-24-2004, 11:20 AM
Oh, and here (http://www.galha.org/glh/224/tripp.html) is the obit for CA Tripp, who was also supposedly working on a book outing Lincoln. It was suppsoedly completed in 2003 but according to Amazon hasn't been published (although searching for it on Amazon is a, well, trip; searching by author's last name turns up Tripp's book The Homosexual Matrix followed immediately by a book called Molly's Surprise).

Thanks. I hope threads don't get closed based on age.

Any hints as to the content of Tripp's book? I'm not too excited about Kramer's book. He writes a good play, but I'm not sure about him as a historian.

Regarding saying linoln was gay: I agree that "gay" implies a certain cultural existence not open to people in many times, even to many now. So I guess the question is just: did Lincoln have sex with a man, men, or have a male lover?

Otto
03-24-2004, 04:38 PM
Heh. I'm amused that you question Kramer as a historian but laud his plays when his major plays are roman a clefs.

Threads older than three months that get revived tend to get closed. See the Forum FAQ for more information. If it's been several years since the last post to a thread, you're probably better off starting a new thread.

There's something about the contents of Tripp's book in the Kramer story I linked to.