Honest Abe Was Gay
BY Charles Kaiser
April 28 2009 12:00 AM ET
Was Lincoln gay? That
has been a public question for only a couple of decades, even
though the proof that his closest emotional attachments were
always with men has been available to every historian who has
written about him during the last century and a half. But in
the venerable tradition of malting all great men robustly
heterosexual, almost every biographer of the great emancipator
has ignored, suppressed, or distorted the abundant evidence
that Lincoln was at the very least bisexual.
C.A. Tripp, a
psychologist and sex therapist who had been one of Alfred
Kinsey's assistants, spent the last 10 years of his life
sifting through the vast Lincoln archive to redress the
balance. Tripp died in 2003, just after completing this
manuscript. The result is rambling , sometimes infuriating, but
always fascinating book that, as (heterosexual) historian
Michael B. Chesson writes in an afterword,
proves "at the
very least, that in his orientation Lincoln was not exclusively
The debate begins with
Lincoln's relationship with Joshua Speed, the storekeeper
with whom the future president shared a bed for four years.
Straight historians have always dismissed this as serious
evidence of anything, because so many men shared beds with each
other in the 19th century--and Lincoln couldn't afford the
$17 needed to secure his own single bed when he moved to
Springfield, Ill., on April 15, 1837.
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