07/02/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
President James Buchanan and Vice President William King were often referred to as “Buchanan and wife”. President Andrew Jackson once referred to King as “Miss Nancy.” The likelihood that President Buchanan was America’s first gay President has been speculated upon for some time now. Speculation about whether a public figure is lesbian or gay is not a new phenomenon, but certainly one that has run rampant of late due to a number of reasons. One of those is the usual attempt to attack a woman or a man as being outside the gender norms of society. If a woman is too masculine or a guy too feminine, then they are seen as being wrong or weak. One of those ways is to attack them for being lesbian or gay since it is the stereotype- though not the reality- that masculine women and effeminate men are automatically homosexual.
There were rumors that Hilary Clinton was actually lesbian at one point. Representative Mark Kirk has been under fire for his sexuality; though, in his case, it appears to have far more basis in reality than for others since he has been seen crawling gay bars in DC.
Senator Lindsey Graham is hitting out at rumors that he is gay. He recently told the New York Times “I know it’s really gonna upset a lot of gay men– I’m sure hundreds of ‘em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge– but I ain’t available. I ain’t gay. Sorry.” Ok, Senator, we’ll take your word for it just like all the other men who have claimed not to be gay but later turned out to be gay. Given that Graham has never been married and his dating history is unknown, it becomes impossible to counter the allegations of homosexuality for Graham. He also denied having a clandestine affair with Ricky Martin.
Not long ago, a South Carolina Tea Partier said at a rally that Graham was afraid that the Democrats would expose his identity as a gay man. The reality is that most Dems would have though ‘oh, that’s nice’, and walked away. The reality is that outing someone is not likely to produce much of any kind of shock unless they are Mark Foley or Larry Craig and are caught up scandals. Most Democrats are not going to out someone for political leverage. Most politicians have more than enough dirt on them to not bother with something as trivial as exposing someone’s sexuality. This is not the era where someone’s sexuality being exposed would kill their career, even in the South.
Of course, that has not stopped many on the Right or within the blogosphere. Rush Limbaugh has attacked Graham as Lindsey Grahmnesty and Glenn Beck has called him Obama Lite for his willingness to reach out to find common ground with the Democrats. Some on the blogosphere have referred to him as “Miss Lindsey” due to his lack of marriages and his apparently feminine mannerisms. He should probably be glad that he is not being called Lindsey Lohan-Graham.
From Elena Kagan’s rather masculine looks and butch mannerisms, to Lindsey Graham’s rather feminine mannerisms and lack of marital status, the world has always been abuzz with speculation about the sexuality of public officials even when there has never been any actual evidence of them being anything other than straight. Still, unfortunately for Graham, far too many men who have been speculated as being gay have turned out to be gay.