While acceptance of LGBT people may feel like it only hit its stride in recent years (and may still be set back), homosexuality has always been a part of America. Indeed, many of this nation’s Founding Fathers partook in the company of other men, and even some of the straight leaders of the day showed a level of tolerance that ought to make Mike Pence think twice. Here’s a look at some of the nation’s architects from the colonial days to the Civil War who prove LGBT individuals always had a place in the American tapestry.
While the romance didn’t make it into the Broadway show, Alexander Hamilton maintained a relationship for years with fellow revolutionary John Laurens. In letters to Laurens, Hamilton made clear his love. “'Till you bade us Adieu, I hardly knew the value you had taught my heart to set upon you,” Hamilton wrote. The relationship between the men continued until Laurens died in battle in 1782. Hamilton, of course, also held genuine love for his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler, and once had to publicly apologize for an affair with Mary Reynolds, but plenty of documentation about the relationship with Laurens indicates America’s first Treasury secretary was bisexual.