James Buchanan was born near Mercerburg, Pennsylvania on April 23, 1791. He served as the 15th president of the United States and was the only “life-long bachelor” to serve in that office.
Historian James W. Loewen who has done extensive research into Buchanan’s personal life, and is convinced Buchanan was gay. Loewen is the author of the acclaimed book “Lies Across America,” which examines how historical sites inaccurately portray figures and events in America’s past. “I’m sure that Buchanan was gay,” Loewen said. “There is clear evidence that he was gay. And since I haven’t seen any evidence that he was heterosexual, and I don’t believe he was bisexual.”
According to Loewen, Buchanan shared a residence with William Rufus King, a Democratic senator from Alabama, for several years in Washington, D.C. – King was called “Miss Fancy” by his detractors, making the soon to be President “Mr Fancy.”
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”.
In 1844, when King was appointed minister to France, he wrote Buchanan, “I am selfish enough to hope you will not be able to procure an associate who will cause you to feel no regret at our separation.”
In one letter to a confidante dated May 13, 1844, Buchanan wrote about his life after King moved to Paris to become the American ambassador to France:
“I am now ‘solitary and alone,’ having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.”
Their relationship — though interrupted due to foreign-service obligations — ended only with King’s death in 1853.
Patrick Clarke, the director of Wheatland, Mansion in Lancaster, Pa., where Buchanan spent his later years. said that the staff at Wheatland now takes a neutral stance on Buchanan’s sexual or affectional preference.
“There’s no solid proof that Buchanan was heterosexual, nor is there solid proof that he was homosexual,” Clarke said. “If we ever come up with a smoking gun that proves it one way or the other, I would definitely encourage our staff to share it with the public.”
November 8, 1977 – Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him the first openly gay man to be elected in a major U.S. city. Although he was the most pro-gay politician in the United States at the time, politics and activism were not his early interests; he was neither open about his sexuality nor civically active until he was 40, after his experiences in the counterculture movement of the 1960’s.
Despite being a newcomer to the Castro District, Harvey Milk had shown leadership in the small community. He was starting to be taken seriously as a candidate and decided to run again for supervisor in 1975. He reconsidered his approach and cut his long hair, swore off marijuana, and vowed never to visit another gay bathhouse again. Milk’s campaigning earned the support of the teamsters, firefighters, and construction unions. Castro Camera became the center of activity in the neighborhood.
Milk favored support for small businesses and the growth of neighborhoods. Since 1968, Mayor Alioto had been luring large corporations to the city despite what critics labeled “the Manhattanization of San Francisco”. As blue-collar jobs were replaced by the service industry, Alioto’s weakened political base allowed for new leadership to be voted into office in the city. George Moscone was elected mayor. Moscone had been instrumental in repealing the sodomy law earlier that year in the California State Legislature. He acknowledged Milk’s influence in his election by visiting Milk’s election night headquarters, thanking Milk personally, and offering him a position as a city commissioner. Milk came in seventh place in the election, only one position away from earning a supervisor seat.
Moscone appointed him to the Board of Permit Appeals in 1976, making him the first openly gay city commissioner in the United States. Milk, however, considered seeking a position in the California State Assembly. The district was weighted heavily in his favor, as much of it was based in neighborhoods surrounding Castro Street, where Milk’s sympathizers voted. In the previous race for supervisor, Milk received more votes than the currently seated assemblyman. However, Moscone had made a deal with the assembly speaker that another candidate should run—Art Agnos. Furthermore, by order of the mayor, neither appointed nor elected officials were allowed to run a campaign while performing their duties.
By the time of Milk’s 1975 campaign, he had decided to cut his hair and wear suits. Here, Milk (far right) is campaigning with longshoremen in San Francisco during his 1976 race for the California State Assembly.
Milk spent five weeks on the Board of Permit Appeals before Moscone was forced to fire him when he announced he would run for the California State Assembly. Rick Stokes replaced him. Milk’s firing, and the backroom deal made between Moscone, the assembly speaker, and Agnos, fueled his campaign as he took on the identity of a political underdog.
Milk’s continuing campaign, run from the storefront of Castro Camera, was a study in disorganization. Although the older Irish grandmothers and gay men who volunteered were plentiful and happy to send out mass mailings, Milk’s notes and volunteer lists were kept on scrap papers. Any time the campaign required funds, the money came from the cash register without any consideration for accounting.
Milk spent long hours registering voters and shaking hands at bus stops and movie theater lines. He took whatever opportunity came along to promote himself. He thoroughly enjoyed campaigning, and his success was evident. With the large numbers of volunteers, he had dozens at a time stand along the busy thoroughfare of Market Street as human billboards, holding “Milk for Assembly” signs while commuters drove into the heart of the city to work.
In the end Harvey Milk lost the Assembly seat by fewer than 4,000 votes.
Anita Bryant’s public campaign opposing homosexuality and the multiple challenges to gay rights ordinances across the United States fueled gay politics in San Francisco. Seventeen candidates from the Castro District entered the next race for supervisor; more than half of them were gay. The New York Times ran an exposé on the veritable invasion of gay people into San Francisco, estimating that the city’s gay population was between 100,000 and 200,000 out of a total 750,000.
Milk’s most successful opponent was the quiet and thoughtful lawyer Rick Stokes, who was backed by the Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club. Stokes had been open about his homosexuality long before Milk had, and had experienced more severe treatment, once hospitalized and forced to endure electroshock therapy to ‘cure’ him. Milk, however, was more expressive about the role of gay people and their issues in San Francisco politics. Stokes was quoted saying, “I’m just a businessman who happens to be gay,” and expressed the view that any normal person could also be homosexual. Milk’s contrasting populist philosophy was relayed to The New York Times: “We don’t want sympathetic liberals, we want gays to represent gays … I represent the gay street people—the 14-year-old runaway from San Antonio. We have to make up for hundreds of years of persecution. We have to give hope to that poor runaway kid from San Antonio. They go to the bars because churches are hostile. They need hope! They need a piece of the pie!”
On election day, November 8, 1977, he won by 30% against sixteen other candidates, and after his victory became apparent, he arrived on Castro Street on the back of his campaign manager’s motorcycle—escorted by Sheriff Richard Hongisto—to what a newspaper story described as a “tumultuous and moving welcome”.
Since the race for the California State Assembly, Milk had been receiving increasingly violent death threats. Concerned that his raised profile marked him as a target for assassination, he recorded on tape his thoughts, and whom he wanted to succeed him if he were killed, adding: “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door”.
On August 8, 1983 Bobbi Campbell, and his partner Bobby Hilliard, became the faces of the deadly plague called AIDS that was decimating the gay community with a cover story in Newsweek magazine.
For those who don’t remember or know Bobbi Campbell he was originally from Seattle, WA and became the first person living with AIDS to come out publicly after he became the 16th person to be diagnosed with it in San Francisco.
Bobbi became known as the “KS Poster Boy” appearing with his partner on the above cover of Newsweek on August 8, 1983 and wrote a column for the San Francisco Sentinel from January 1982 describing his experiences. Campbell, who was also a registered nurse, joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at the time of the health crisis in early 1982; in his “sister” persona as Sister Florence Nightmare, he co-authored the first San Francisco safer-sex manual, “Play Fair!”, which was written in plain sex-positive language, offering practical advice and adding an element of humour.
In 1983, Campbell and Dan Turner, who had been diagnosed in February 1982, founded the People With AIDS Self-Empowerment Movement or PWA Movement that believes that those living with HIV/AIDS have the human rights to “take charge of their own life, illness, and care, and to minimize dependence on others”.
In January of 1984, when Dan White, the assassin of gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone was due to be paroled, Campbell and Hilliard stood outside Soledad State Prison. White was being transported to Los Angeles for fear of retributive attacks, Campbell stood in front of the media carrying a sign that read “Dan White’s homophobia is more deadly than AIDS,” bringing further national attention to the health crisis.
On July 15, 1984, Bobbi Campbell gave one of his last speeches at the National March for Lesbian and Gay Rights at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco (see video below). Campbell told the crowd that he had hugged his boyfriend on the cover of Newsweek, , “to show Middle America that gay love is beautiful,” He held 15 seconds of silence for the 2,000 who had died of AIDS at that point “and [for] those who will die before this is over,” He then laid-out a series of concerns for politicians to address — including increased funding for both research and support services and a warning of the potential for discrimination with the advent of a test for HTLV-3 (now known as HIV) — and appealing to all candidates in the upcoming elections to meet with people with AIDS.
Two weeks later, Campbell appeared on CBS Evening News in a live satellite interview with Dan Rather. While the rumors and fear of AIDS had reached a mainstream audience, the facts had not, so Campbell was placed in a glass booth, with technicians refusing to come near him to wire up microphones for the interview.
At noon on August 15, 1984, exactly a month after his DNC speech and after 2 days on life support in intensive care, Bobbi Campbell died at San Francisco General Hospital. His parents and his partner Bobby Hilliard were by his side. Bobbi Campbell was 32 years old and had lived for over 3½ years with what was by then called AIDS
His partner Bobby Hilliard would succumb to the deadly disease not long afterwards.
It is almost impossible in this day and age to imagine the full extent of the fear, prejudice and misinformation that surrounded the disease in the early years and those who were infected. Even well into the late 1990’s and even sometimes today phobia against people with AIDS runs rampant, along with misinformation about how AIDS is transmitted and threats of criminalization against them.
In the 1980’s, televangelist and fear mongers like Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham and others were spewing the belief that AIDS was “God’s punishment” against homosexuality. People with AIDS faced ostracism from family and friends, discrimination in housing and employment. At one point even funeral directors refused to bury the bodies of those who died from the disease. And to make matters wasn’t until 1985 that then President of the United States Ronald Reagan would mention the word AIDS, let alone do anything to stop the disease and by this time thousands of gay Americans had already died.
Both Bobbi Campbell and Bobby Hilliard should be remembered forever as what they are. True heroes of the gay community.
LGBT civil servants and service members were systematically fired or forced to resign due to their sexual orientation or gender identity over the past seven decades, and a proposed bill is seeking to have the federal government issue an official apology acknowledging its past discriminatory policies.
The bill, introduced Thursday by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., says the federal government “discriminated against and terminated hundreds of thousands” of LGBTQ people who served in the armed forces, the foreign service and the federal civil service for decades, “causing untold harm to those individuals professionally, financially, socially, and medically, among other harms.”
Kaine and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the country’s first openly gay U.S. senator, led the introduction of the resolution. The document is co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), among others.
Donald Trump said a New York law enabling Congress to ask for his state tax returns no longer applies because he isn’t president.
The law, known as the Trust Act, allows the state to share the president’s tax information with a congressional committee that asks for it. Trump sued the House and Ways and Means Committee to block it from requesting information.
“While the Trust Act is not the clearest statute, the best reading is that it does not apply to former presidents,”Trump’s lawyers wrote.
Trump’s previous argument was that Congress couldn’t ask for his tax information because he was President.
Axios is reporting that sources close to them are saying that President-elect Joe Biden is considering a ambassadorship to China for Pete Buttigieg instead of a much deserved cabinet position.
Axios also reports that initial conversations over leading the Department of Veterans Affairs didn’t firm up, while Buttigieg’s name is still mentioned among those under consideration for other domestic posts, including Transportation or Commerce. But its being said that finding a Cabinet post for Buttigieg has been a challenge for Biden because he has been focused on nominating women and people of color to high-level posts which is creating a concern among many that Buttigieg could be left out of the Biden administration’s starting lineup altogether.
Buttigieg was the first openly gay Democratic Presidential candidate winning the most delegates in the Iowa caucuses earlier this year before dropping out to consolidate moderates’ support around Biden who he campaigned for tirelessly up until the November election.
IF Buttigieg does go to China, he would be following in the footsteps of former president George HW Bush, who was appointed to the liaison office in Beijing by the Ford administration in 1974, before the two countries had established formal diplomatic ties
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will begin naming members of his Cabinet this week. But so far of all the names which have been thrown around one has been conspicuously missing. That of Pete Buttigieg who ran a historic campaign as an openly gay man and dropped out of the race to help support Biden my campaigning fiercely for him across the country and even on FOX News.
So far sources close to Biden say Anthony Blinken a longtime Biden confidant who served as No. 2 at the State Department and as deputy national security adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration, in which Biden served as vice president will be named Secretary of State.
Jack Sullivan who served as Biden’s national security adviser during the Obama administration is rumored to be announced as Biden’s National Security Advisor.
One post that Pete himself expressed interest in is the job of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. But media outlets reported Sunday, citing Democratic sources close to Biden that Linda Thomas-Greenfield – Thomas-Greenfield a black woman who served as Obama’s top diplomat on Africa from 2013 to 2017 is the front-runner for the position.
On Saturday, Politico published a story naming front-runners for each cabinet post, based on “dozens of conversations with Biden aides, his close allies, lobbyists and Hill staff.” The article names Buttigieg as Biden’s most likely nominee for Secretary of Veteran Affairs a position established in 1988 one of the most minor cabinet position. But even this is still not a sure thing.
After all that Pete Buttigieg did for Joe Biden will he be given a minor position in his cabinet or will be left in the dust a victim of the Democratic party?
These notorious Republican Senators are all on the record in the past for holding up any Supreme Court nominations in an election year when it behooved their party. The American people must must be reminded of their past words and they must be held to them.
2016, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas): “It has been 80 years since a Supreme Court vacancy was nominated and confirmed in an election year. There is a long tradition that you don’t do this in an election year.”
2018, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election.”
2016, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): “I don’t think we should be moving on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term – I would say that if it was a Republican president.”
2016, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.): “The very balance of our nation’s highest court is in serious jeopardy. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will do everything in my power to encourage the president and Senate leadership not to start this process until we hear from the American people.”
2016, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): “A lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics. The American people shouldn’t be denied a voice.”
2016, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.): “The campaign is already under way. It is essential to the institution of the Senate and to the very health of our republic to not launch our nation into a partisan, divisive confirmation battle during the very same time the American people are casting their ballots to elect our next president.”
2016, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.): “In this election year, the American people will have an opportunity to have their say in the future direction of our country. For this reason, I believe the vacancy left open by Justice Antonin Scalia should not be filled until there is a new president.”
2016, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.): “The Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until we have a new president.”
2016, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Col.): “I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision.”
2016, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio): “I believe the best thing for the country is to trust the American people to weigh in on who should make a lifetime appointment that could reshape the Supreme Court for generations. This wouldn’t be unusual. It is common practice for the Senate to stop acting on lifetime appointments during the last year of a presidential term, and it’s been nearly 80 years since any president was permitted to immediately fill a vacancy that arose in a presidential election year.”
2016, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.): “I strongly agree that the American people should decide the future direction of the Supreme Court by their votes for president and the majority party in the U.S. Senate.”
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” – Mitch McConnell, March 2016.
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