7 Politicians Who've Faced Gay Rumors

02/17/2014 09:24 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Throughout the course of American history, those involved in our country's political sphere have consistently faced rumors, speculation and scrutiny about their sexuality.

From Abraham Lincoln to our current president, queer rumors have become a regular part of the experience of being a politician. Though there may be no way for us to ever know if any of these rumors hold any truth -- and what it means to be queer in 2014 may not have even existed as a concept during the lifetime of some of these figures -- it is worth considering how many leaders, if not the ones listed below, may have been queer and what it would have meant for our society if they had come out.

In honor of President's Day, check out this list of some of our most prominent political figures to face queer rumors throughout the course of our country's history.

  • Abraham Lincoln
    via WikiCommons
    The 16th president of the United States has long been rumored to have been gay. Numerous historians point to his rocky marriage with Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as the fact that he had very close relationships with several men, including Joshua Speed, who shared his bed for four years. In the New York Times book review of The Intimate World Of Abraham Lincoln by C.A. Tripp, Richard Brookhiser writes: In 1831, when he was 22, Lincoln moved to New Salem, an Illinois frontier town, where he met Billy Greene. Greene coached Lincoln in grammar and shared a narrow bed with him. ''When one turned over the other had to do likewise,'' Greene told Herndon. Bed-sharing was common enough in raw settlements, but Greene also had vivid memories of Lincoln's physique: 'His thighs were as perfect as a human being could be.' Everyone saw that Lincoln was tall and strong, but this seems rather gushing.
  • Richard Nixon
    UPI White House reporter Don Fulsom, who penned the new memoir Nixon's Darkest Secrets, suggested a "homosexual nature" in the relationship between the former U.S. president and his best friend Bebe Rebozo, the president's alleged mob bagman who was at Nixon's side when he died. According to U.S. News & World Report, Fulsom cites several examples of the two men holding hands, sometimes in public, along with cuddling and awkward swimming pool games.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
    The "First Lady to the World" has long been rumored to have been bisexual or a lesbian. According to Lillian Faderman, author of To Believe in Women, Roosevelt had a long term relationship with journalist Lorena Hickok. The two shared a series of intimate love letters. "Funny, everything I do my thoughts fly to you," Roosevelt reportedly wrote."Never are you out of my heart."
  • Barack Obama
    BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images
    Several different individuals have claimed that President Barack Obama has had relationships with men and that he was involved in the gay community in his younger days. Last November, a woman that claimed to have been a classmate of Obama came out with a story that Obama was not only active within the gay community during his time in Hawaii, but also a heavy cocaine user. Other allegations include a gossip columnist turned Tea Party author in 2012 alleging that the president had been part of Chicago's gay bar and bathhouse scene.
  • Hilary Clinton
    Sean Gardner via Getty Images
    Historically anti-gay pundit Bryan Fischer made comments on his radio show last September that Hilary Clinton could be "our first lesbian president." He based his claims on an interview with Bill Clinton's alleged ex-mistress, Gennifer Flowers, in which she claimed that during their alleged affair Bill Clinton had told her that Hillary was bisexual.
  • J. Edgar Hoover
    Historians have for years speculated about the sexuality of the first FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, with some suggesting he was gay and enjoyed cross-dressing, the Daily Mail noted. "He was a man of mystery," director Clint Eastwood told ABC last fall. "He might have been [gay]. I am agnostic about it. I don't really know and nobody really knew."
  • James Buchanan
    Many consider the 15th president of the United States to be our first gay president. Historian James W. Loewen wrote about Buchanan's alleged homosexuality in his book Lies Across America. In it he stated, "I'm sure that Buchanan was gay," and pointed to Buchanan's relationship with William Rufus King, a senator from Alabama. The Washington Blade added: Loewen said contemporary records indicate the two men were inseparable, and wags would refer to them as "the Siamese twins." Loewen also said Buchanan was "fairly open" about his relationship with King, causing some colleagues to view the men as a couple. For example, Aaron Brown, a prominent Democrat, writing to Mrs. James K. Polk, referred to King as Buchanan's "better half," "his wife" and "Aunt Fancy ... rigged out in her best clothes."
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