Honest Abe Was Gay

Honest, Abe was gay ... or at least bisexual, according to a convincing mass of evidence presented in a just-published book by late Kinsey researcher C.A. Tripp.

BY Charles Kaiser

April 28 2009 12:00 AM ET

But Tripp provides
ample evidence of an intimate relationship between the two men.
As soon as Lincoln revealed his poverty, Speed invited him to
be his bed·mate.

Tripp calls this
invitation "immediately warm, embracing, and open-ended,
more geared to desire than to accommodation" and points
out that while bed-sharing by two men was not unusual, when it
was protracted or not explained by circumstance," it
"bordered on impropriety," in the words of another
Lincoln historian.

The future president
also suffered a severe depression three weeks after Speed moved
out on him at the beginning of 1841. Other historians have
attributed this despondncy to Lincoln's temporary breakup
with his future wife, but Tripp argues convincingly that
Lincoln's words sound much more like those of a lover
spurned than those of someone who has just chosen to end a
relationship.

"I am now the most
miserable man living," Lincoln wrote three weeks after
Speed was gone. "Whether I shall ever be better I cannot
tell.... To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be
better, it appears to me." Lincoln's letters to Speed
were also the only ones that almost always ended "Yours
forever" (a phrase Lincoln never used with his wife), and
two of Lincoln's secretaries wrote in a biography that
"Speed was the only--as he was certainly the
last--intimate friend that Lincoln ever had."

Other historians
naturally concluded that the subsequent marriages of Lincoln
and Speed were enough to prove their heterosexuality. But Tripp
suggests that Lincoln's letters to Speed regarding
Speed's marriage show something else altogether. In
response to Speed's first letter after his wedding night,
Lincoln writes back, "I opened the latter [letter] with
intense anxiety and trepidation; so much, that although it
turned out better than I expected, I have hardly yet, at the
distance of ten hours, become calm." Before the wedding
Lincoln had written Speed, "But you say you reasoned
yourself into [courting your wife]. What do you mean by that?
Was it not that you found yourself unable to reason yourself
out of it? Did you think ... of courting her the first time you
saw or heard of her? What had reason to do with it at that
early stage.... I shall be so anxious about you that I want you
to write me every mail."

 

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