Traveling to the GLBT office was quite the experience for me. I had never been there, but have always been interested in visiting the center, especially since the pop-up museum came into town. While walking around and looking at the different exhibits, a lot of things caught my eye, but once I spotted the book about the sexuality of Abraham Lincoln, I was done for. I have briefly overheard people talking about the book and its contents, and I have been curious ever since. So I quickly grabbed the book and settled down in a corner of the library.

The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, written by C.A. Tripp, obviously, analyzes and provides hard evidence to the theory that Lincoln had sexual relationships with men throughout his life. Although I had time to only read the intro of Tripp’s book, there was a quote in there that really struck my fancy. “The fact is that 19th century Americans simply did not give as much attention to sex as we do today. Sex did not define an existence…” In other words, people just were not concerned whom Abraham Lincoln was sharing the bed with. Why someone would want to know now whom he was sleeping around with is beyond me, but I sure do love reading about it.

 Sure, people weren’t interested back then about whom Abraham was sleeping with, but it was a whole different story for Bill Clinton. Even though Clinton was not accused of having sexual relationships with men, the underlying fact here is that the curiosity of society has grown immensely. And how about the form of punishment for their sinful acts? Both men had women in their lives, which, in my opinion, make the fact that they had supplemental sexual relationships even worse. Even though I haven’t read too deeply into Lincoln’s intimate world, I would assume that if the society were to find out that his punishment wouldn’t be too harsh, but that’s just my opinion/hypothesis. But in Clinton’s case, he was close to being impeached. Both situations of Clinton and Lincoln were quite different in many ways, but you be the judge.

This growing persistence and curiosity of society in the subject of sex reminded me of the Gayle Rubin article that we read in class a couple of weeks ago. Her discussion of the “phallacy of misplaced sex” is very relevant when talking about the differences of both Clinton and Abraham’s attention from society. When Lincoln was President, the “phallacy of misplaced sex” was obviously not too predominant in the minds of the nation. But this phallacy began to grow as the subject of sex began to run free in the minds of people and throughout society.

 Even though I wasn’t able to read more of Tripp’s book, I may find myself making a trip over to the GLBT office to check the book out some more. I never thought that I would be so interested in the secret sex life of a President, but sometimes I surprise myself. Not only has this caught my attention, but it has caught the attention of thousands of people as well. As a closing note, I offer you a short clip of a play adapted from Lincoln’s gay sex life titled, “Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party.”

 -Aubrey Merrell

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