In an article titled, “Where Abraham Lincoln Went to Cry,” by someone named Harold Holzer, published in the June 2012 edition of “American History” magazine, I read this interesting piece of information. And of course I couldn’t stop thinking about it:
On one occasion, when Mary took Tad to Vermont, a messenger knocked on the president’s door and entered the bedroom to find Lincoln and the commander of the Bucktail Brigade sleeping in the same bed. Though not an uncommon arrangement for the time among single men, the incident has elicited attention from several psycho-historians who believe Lincoln might have been gay. One telltale fact amid the speculation: The commander, Captain David Derickson, was twice married and the father of 10 children.
The article is about Lincoln’s summer home in Washington, DC, not about his sexuality. So why this information about Lincoln being in bed with Derickson even had to be added I don’t know. It did nothing to help or hurt an otherwise dull piece that contains nothing that hasn’t already been said millions of times before.
First, I know men did sleep together during this time, especially in the winter to keep from freezing to death, or because of financial circumstances. But the point I’m making isn’t about whether or not men slept together during this time. The point is that the article seems to allege there’s something wrong if Lincoln and his captain were having sex, and that it needs defense. The defense taken with regard to this topic is rampant, and it’s no secret that “they” don’t want anyone to think Lincoln might have been gay or bi-sexual.
Second, that one “telltale fact” about Derickson being twice married and having 10 children means nothing. It is so dumb I had to read it more than once to be sure I hadn’t made a mistake. Evidently, the article seems to be suggesting that because a man has been married and has procreated, he can’t be attracted to other men? This doesn’t take into account the dozens of gay men I know who have been married and have procreated.
If you read some of those silly fringe web sites, where radical conservatives attack President Obama all the time, one of the things they use against him is that he could possibly be gay…or that he had gay experiences. When they do this, it’s automatically a negative thing, to the point of looking at him in a different, substandard way.
And I’m tired of it. When I see it, I’m going to challenge it from now on. I don’t know, or care about, what Lincoln’s sex life was like. The famous men and women who have been tied in with gay experiences had to hide it because of their circumstances during the times in which they lived. But that needs to change.
I love all the wonderful things I see on the Internet about support for the LGBT community, from stopping homophobia to bullying. I think they do a lot of good. But I also think it’s time to take it one step further. It’s time to stop the negative comments and implications that have always been associated with being gay or bi-sexual. And I mean ALL of them. Because if Lincoln had been gay or bi-sexual, and he had been caught in an intimate situation with his captain, it wouldn’t have made him any less of a man or a president than he was. If anything, it might have made him BETTER.