Historian Charles Strozier in new book denies Lincoln was gay

Historians in the News
tags: Lincoln, LGBT



Related Link HNN Hot Topic:  Was Lincoln Gay?

There’s something appealing about the notion that Abraham Lincoln was gay. It suits the gender-bending national mood. Gay Lincoln? It would show Donald Trump that a great leader—a true leader—need not be a macho jackass.

Alas, according to Charles Strozier, the psychoanalyst, history professor, and author, Lincoln was straight. But Lincoln was by no means a hyper-straight lady-killer, as some scholars suggest in reaction to the fact that Lincoln shared a bed with his best friend Joshua Speed for nearly four years. 

The title of Strozier’s new book explains its thesis: Your Friend Forever, A Lincoln: The Enduring Friendship of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed.

Strozier’s 1982 study of Honest Abe, Lincoln’s Quest for Union, contained a chapter on the Lincoln-Speed friendship that started not the whispers—but the shouts—that Lincoln was gay.

The loudest voice belonged to Larry Kramer, author, AIDS activist, and founder of Act Up. In his massive novel, The American People: Volume 1, Kramer channels his version of Speed’s voice, recalling Speed’s nights with Lincoln this way: “From the first night we met I held him in my arms, each night for going on four years … He fucked me immediately. And I immediately invited him to live with me.”

Not really, according to Strozier—which doesn’t mean that Lincoln and Speed didn’t share the sort of love between straight men that was sanctioned, even encouraged in the 19th century. ...




comments powered by Disqus