Showing posts with label Gay President. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay President. Show all posts

January 20, 2020

A Gay President?



Should Pete Buttigieg be our next president? I don’t know. But here’s what I do know: The simple fact that he’s under consideration shows how much America has changed, and for the better.
Mr. Buttigieg is gay.
That might not seem like such a big deal in this day and age. But until the very recent past, it was simply unimaginable that an out-of-the-closet homosexual would compete for the highest office of the land. So we should all pause a moment and look backward, to see how just how far we have come.
Start with World War II, when the U.S. military issued its first regulation to screen out gay men. It listed three telltale signs of homosexuality: “feminine bodily characteristics,” “effeminacy in dress and manner” and a “patulous rectum.” In case you’re wondering, patulous means “expanded.” And yes, the regulation really said that.
From 1941 to 1945, about 9,000 American servicemen were discharged for being gay. Those suspected of homosexuality were sometimes forced to submit to a “gag test” with a tongue depressor. If you didn’t gag, it was assumed that you performed oral sex on other men.
After the war, 21 states and the District of Columbia enacted so-called “sex psychopath” laws, allowing indefinite detention of homosexuals. And the federal government barred gays from the civil service in 1953, ostensibly on the grounds that they could be blackmailed by Soviet agents.
Across American cities, meanwhile, gays were routinely harassed and beaten by police. That’s what led to New York’s now-famous Stonewall Riot of 1969, which began when cross-dressing patrons at a gay bar refused to go to the bathroom with police officers to “verify” their gender.
Stonewall jump-started the movement for gay rights, which brought more American homosexuals out of the closet. The most prominent was San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, who declared that "every gay person must come out" in a now-famous speech three weeks before he was murdered in 1978.
The AIDS epidemic of the 1980s sparked another round of homophobia, including periodic calls for the quarantine of HIV-positive people. But it brought still more gays into politics and more coverage of gay issues in the mass media, which would help normalize homosexuality for everyone else.
The change was slow. Backtracking on his pledge to end the prohibition on gays in the military, President Bill Clinton substituted the notorious “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that was still in place when Pete Buttigieg entered the U.S. Navy Reserve. And Mr. Clinton also signed into the law the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which said that the federal government wouldn’t recognize same-sex marriages conducted at the state level.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell wasn’t repealed until 2010, under President Barack Obama. Mr. Obama opposed gay marriage when he took office in 2008 but shifted course (or “evolved," in his delicate telling) four years later. The catalyst was a gaffe by none other than Joe Biden, his vice president, who caught the White House unawares by announcing in a TV interview that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage. That sent aides scrambling to clarify that Mr. Biden wasn’t speaking for Mr. Obama until the president himself weighed in on the same side.
In 2015, the Supreme Court struck down state bans on same-sex marriage. And two years later, when Mr. Obama’s second term ended, 64% of Americans supported the right of gays to marry. That was up from 40% in 2009, one of the sharpest attitudinal shifts in American political history.
But that still means that millions of Americans are opposed to gay rights. And not all of them are Republicans, as people on the left sometimes assume. Among African Americans, a critical part of the Democratic coalition, only 51% of voters support same-sex marriage.
And surely that helps explain the almost negligible black support for Mr. Buttigieg, who married a man in 2015. In the key primary state of South Carolina, at least one black participant told a recent focus group that Mr. Buttigieg was “flaunting” his homosexuality. Many of them said he should keep it on the down-low, lest he alienates churchgoers and other conservative voters.
That’s very different advice than what Mr. Buttigieg received from Rev. Al Sharpton, who told him to campaign forthrightly as a gay man and “break down this barrier.” And history suggests that Rev. Sharpton — whose sister is gay — is right. The reason that attitudes about homosexuality changed in the United States is that gay people made themselves heard. And the more the rest of us got to know them, the more tolerant and accepting we became.
So fight on, Mayor Pete, and bring your very cute husband with you. At a moment of national darkness, including the impeachment mess and the conflict with Iran, Mr. Buttigieg’s improbable candidacy provides a small ray of light. It illuminates how far we have traveled, and how much farther we all have to go.
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches education and history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of “The Amateur Hour: A History of College Teaching in America,” which will be published in the fall by Johns Hopkins University Press.

December 15, 2019

If Anyone Says Pete Buttigieg is Not Gay Enough That Person is A Trumpie and Believes Trump's Been Faithful

When I was in college in the middle of the 00s, a fabulous drag queen called Aurora threw equally fabulous parties called Mardi-do Mondays. The whos-who of campus gay and lesbian life turned out for the campiest shindig in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The parties were a lot of fun, but because I led a busy life with early classes — and Aurora’s apartment was clear across town, making getting home safely a challenge — I was an infrequent visitor. Instead, my social calendar was filled with fraternity parties and sorority formals. I was often the only (openly) gay man in the room, but I loved my life, and my friends loved me.

I never felt guilty about living in a predominantly straight world because, well, the world is predominantly, if regrettably, straight. Apparently, though, this ruffled some feathers at Aurora’s. On what would become my last Mardi-do Monday, I was cornered by a catty little man with a black and blond ombre (hey, it was the 00s) who informed me that I clearly didn’t care about the gay community — despite the fact that for two years I was the president of our college gay/straight alliance — because I existed in the world of Greek life, which was too heteronormative and homophobic.

It was the most hurtful thing another gay person has ever said to me, and I’m counting that time my boyfriend called me fat.

I heard Cruella de Twink’s voice in my head as I read Shannon Keating’s recent essay for Buzzfeed, in which she laments that Pete Buttigieg represents insufficiently radical gayness. It comes months after the New Republic pulled an article by Dale Peck in which he seemed to argue that Buttigieg wasn’t gay enough to be the first gay president — as though there’s some litmus test beyond being same-sex attracted.

Both Keating and Peck seem frustrated that mainstream LGBT rights organizations focused so much on marriage equality and employment discrimination, which they view as being boringly heteronormative and assimilationist. These aren’t, to them, sufficiently radical policies. They pigeonhole Mayor Pete similarly, painting him as a sell-out for professing his Christian faith, marrying a small-town boy, and settling down. 

It is exhausting to the point of tedium. Coming out in a place like South Bend, Indiana — or where I live in eastern Tennessee — can still be a radical act, even for a cornfed white guy like Mayor Pete. It’s no cakewalk being gay in rural America, something that is often forgotten by those living in the big blue dots that are our major cities. Having spent seven years living in Chicago before moving back to the south last year, I know how easy it is to forget that much of the country doesn’t live — and doesn’t want to live — the same lifestyle as you.

The thing is, many (if not most) gay people are boring and want to live in the real world, which means living in a largely straight world. They want white picket fences, and nuclear families, and monogamy. They spend their time not sniffing poppers at a Fire Island orgy but praying in a flyover state church. They don’t see their rights deriving from these institutions, as Keating argued, but from the Constitution. Many (but not all!) have politics that are moderate. Some even — Quelle surprise! — are capitalists who like their insurance. In short, many gay people either are or want to be, like Mayor Pete.   

This notion that the first openly gay candidate for president is insufficiently gay is homophobic. It pretends that if you’re not a polyamorous self-identifying “queer” who lives in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles (or, to put it bluntly, a stereotype) that you’re not doing homosexuality right — as though there’s ever been a right way to do it. These coastal “queers” — a term I and many other gay men bristle at — roll their eyes at their country cousins, thinking “oh, how droll” when we celebrate marriage equality and, yes, Pete Buttigieg.

It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of marriage equality was a pipe dream. I remember having conversations with fellow millennial activists in 2006 in which we thought our grandchildren would achieve it, not us. When I came out in 2001, the notion of a gay couple being at the threshold of the White House was unfathomable. With all the progress we’ve made, it’s easy to forget just how important and historic and, yes, radical Mayor Pete’s run is.

I don’t know whatever happened to that emo twink. Perhaps he got a job, got married, settled down, and is raising a couple dogs-as-children of his own. What I do know is a generation of young gay and lesbian people are going to gaze at Pete and Chasten Buttigieg on TV and see a loving, stable gay couple and think that they can have that kind of marriage, too. They’re going to see Pete in debates, and possibly in a victory speech, and think they too can be president. If that’s not radical, I don’t know what is

December 6, 2019

Is The Nation Ready to Make This Gay Boy The Next President of The United States

 Is This The Next Gay President of The United States?

Mr. Frank is the author of “Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America.”

As Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., has surged to a top position in Iowa polls in the Democratic presidential primary, media reports have emerged warning that his sexuality may yet derail his White House bid. A recent national Politico/Morning Consult poll found that a plurality of voters, 45 percent, think the country is not ready for an openly gay president, with only 40 percent saying it’s ready. Consultants have chimed in to say the mayor may be less electable than coastal elites realize because he’s gay.

Ordinary voters are quoted saying they — or their “devout Christian” mother — “would never vote for a gay.” And the Buttigieg campaign’s own focus groups recently found that many undecided black voters in South Carolina regard the candidate’s sexual orientation as a “barrier” to winning their votes.

But the power of polls to predict behavior around social issues and disfavored groups has always been poor, and what we know about people’s attitudes and actions when it comes to L.G.B.T. concerns tells a cautionary tale about how to interpret claims by voters that they won’t support an openly gay candidate for president.

Pollsters have long known about the poor predictive power of asking respondents how they would treat members of an unfavored minority group, especially in politically polarized climates. In the 1930s, following a period, like today, of growing anti-immigrant sentiment, the Stanford researcher Richard LaPierre crisscrossed the country with a Chinese couple, visiting hundreds of hotels and restaurants. Nearly all of them welcomed the group as patrons.
But when he contacted the establishments months later asking them if they would serve Chinese people, over 90 percent said they would not. In an ensuing article, “Attitudes vs. Actions,” LaPiere concluded that polls about social attitudes often reflect how respondents feel rather than how they’ll actually behave.

Subsequent research has repeatedly confirmed this gulf between what people say they will do and what they actually do when it comes to the treatment of certain groups. In the 1970s, surveys suggested that military officers would resign if women were admitted to the service academies. Those who opposed the change used the data to fight women’s inclusion, warning that the military would suffer a fatal blow. But when women were admitted anyway, virtually no one left as a result.
The same argument surfaced a generation later to oppose L.G.B.T. military service. In 2008, a Military Times survey noted that 24 percent of service members said they would not want to serve alongside a gay or lesbian troops. Citing the poll, opponents of inclusive service warned of a mass exodus that could swell to half a million troops if President Barack Obama insisted on overturning a ban. Some said the policy change could “break the all-volunteer force.”

Yet after the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy ended in 2011, nothing of the kind took place. A study written by a panel of service academy professors the next year found that “retention was unaffected” by the reversal of the policy. “There was no mass exodus of military members as a result of the repeal, and there were only two verifiable resignations linked to the policy change, both military chaplains,” the report said.

An equally relevant example of the gap between attitudes and behavior comes from President Obama’s politically risky decision to back same-sex marriage six months before the 2012 election. A Gallup poll conducted just after the announcement suggested that a quarter of voters were less likely to support the president in November because of his support for marriage equality. While it’s impossible to know how many, if any, of those voters actually declined to vote for Mr. Obama because of his position, he handily won re-election. 

Of course, as the first African-American to be elected president, he once faced the same questions Mr. Buttigieg does now about whether voters who express reluctance to support a minority candidate will ultimately match their voting behavior to their words. Although Mr. Obama likely lost some votes because of his race, his two-term presidency offers yet another data point that many will not.

While the “Attitudes vs. Actions” discrepancy suggests that voters tend to overstate the likelihood that they’ll penalize minority candidates, there is also evidence of the opposite effect: “Social desirability bias” — the tendency of respondents to tell pollsters what they think they’re supposed to say instead of what they really believe — as well as the presence of unconscious bias threatens to skew polling results toward more minority-friendly responses.

This was seen when pollsters failed to capture the full extent of Mr. Trump’s support because they concluded, some of his voters were reluctant to voice support for a candidate seen as bigoted. That is, they wanted pollsters to believe they were more enlightened than they were.

These conflicting polling phenomena complicate predictions of how voters will respond when faced with a minority candidate. The “Attitudes vs. Actions” discrepancy is a reminder that many people use surveys not to signal behavior they’ll actually engage in but to express their values and even their biases about members of unfamiliar or disfavored groups, especially when they feel those values may be under threat. After all, it’s not every day that a professional surveyor, with the implicit promise to make your voice count, asks you to share your views about something that you don’t always have the chance to discuss honestly.

Attitudes and intentions don’t correlate neatly with behavior. And headlines that over-read what such polls mean can become a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy, making some candidates seem less electable than they are. This is a good reason to support the candidate you think is best rather than the one you think others may prefer. Voters should decide at the polls, not in the polls, who wins high office.

November 20, 2019

America is Had The First of Many-A Gay President Would Only Dignify Who We Should Be

"If you can say Pete B. won't be better than Donald T., You are a homophobe 101%"

Image result for pete Buttigieg, president


New York (AFP) - As young Democrat, Pete Buttigieg emerges as a genuine contender in the 2020 White House race, his rise poses the question of whether America is ready for an openly gay president.
When Buttigieg announced in January that he was considering a presidential run, few had heard of the 37-year-old outside the small Indiana city of South Bend where he is mayor.
Today, he is in the small pack leading the Democratic race, regularly appearing on the campaign trail with husband Chasten Buttigieg -- a junior high school teacher who now stands to become the first-ever US first gentleman.
"Mayor Pete" -- as he likes to be known -- has drawn a surge of fundraising, and over the weekend topped a poll in Iowa, which votes first in the Democratic nominating contest.
The latest national polls put the Afghanistan veteran fourth behind a trio of septuagenarians vastly more experienced than he is: fellow centrist former vice president Joe Biden, and the progressive senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Buttigieg claims to have revived South Bend, an industrial city of 100,000 residents and wants to end the "horror show" that he says is the presidency of Donald Trump.
While Buttigieg does not dwell on his sexual orientation, he has spoken candidly about his decision to come out four years ago, and his engagement in 2017 to Chasten -- with whom he hopes to start a family, perhaps even in the White House.
Unlike Europe where half a dozen countries have elected gay leaders since 2009, the barrier to LGBT presidential candidates, as well as women, remains unbroken in the United States.
Barack Obama, the first black man elected president in 2008, was preceded in the White House by 43 white males, none openly gay.
But in recent years and especially since the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, "the landscape for LGBTQ candidates has shifted dramatically," said Annise Parker, president of the Victory Fund, an organization that supports gay candidates in the United States.
"When I was elected I was the first and only LGBT mayor in the top 100 (cities)," recalls Parker, who was mayor of Houston from 2010 to 2016.
"Now we have three (as well as) two governors, two US senators. The number of out politicians at the highest level is increasing very rapidly," she added.
The first openly gay presidential candidate was Fred Karger, who sought the Republican nomination in 2012, although his candidacy never took off.
- 'Integrity' -
On its website, Victory Fund regularly updates a map of elected LBGTQ officials in the United States: the number currently stands at 762 across all levels of government and all states except South Dakota and Mississippi.
Recent national polls have suggested voters are more open to LGBTQ candidates.
In May, a Gallup poll found 76 percent of respondents said they would vote for a gay candidate, three times more than in 1978.
Among Democrats, who are often more concerned with minority rights, the share rose to 83 percent.
John Della Volpe, who studies voter behavior at the Harvard Institute of Politics, said most of the 2020 electorate, especially young voters, do not care about sexual orientation.
"The attributes that voters are looking for are integrity, vision, authenticity, life experience," he told AFP. "The stakes are just too high to even focus on age, race, gender, sexual identity."
In terms of integrity and authenticity, being openly gay is a "strength," Volpe believes, adding that Buttigieg's story about being "a young person struggling with their identity" rings true.
But reluctance remains.
A poll released last month found that 45 percent of those questioned thought America was not, or probably not ready for a gay president.
Interviews conducted in July with a sample of black Democratic voters in North Carolina found some were uncomfortable with Buttigieg's sexual orientation, according to a campaign team memo leaked to the media.
Most, however, were able to overcome their reservations after hearing him speak in calm and measured tones and once he had reminded them he is a practicing Christian, the memo added.
In a hyper-polarized country where Democrats want the best candidate to unseat Trump, fears that Buttigieg's sexual orientation could be a handicap may work against him.
T.J. Thran, 25, told AFP this month at a Buttigieg rally in New Hampshire he worries the candidate's sexuality might turn off some working-class voters.
But LGBTQ activists say even if he doesn't win the candidacy, his run will leave a lasting legacy.
"He is already breaking barriers," said Parker.
"What he has been doing very well is showing how completely American he is and how completely transparent he is about his relationship with his husband.
"That is changing the landscape for everybody else who will be running after him," she added.

May 1, 2019

Peter Buttigieg Builds His Campaign With Gay Donors Setting The Foundation


Pete Buttigieg now rarely goes more than a few days between private events hosted by prominent gay donors The New York Times

Barely two months ago, when Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., was rating no higher than 1 or 2 percent in national polls, he had a well-worn punch line he used as he pitched himself in living rooms and conference rooms where many of the guests were, like him, young, male and gay.

“I’m not asking for monogamy,” he would say.

It was fine to give money to the bigger names in the race like Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker or former Representative Beto O’Rourke. He asked only that they save some for his historic candidacy, too.

Now, Mr. Buttigieg is looking for commitment.

After vaulting into the top tier of presidential candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination — going from “adorable” to “plausible,” in his own words — Mr. Buttigieg is building on the fly a nationwide network of donors that is anchored by many wealthy and well-connected figures in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political circles.

From more intimate cocktail parties on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where the composer Stephen Sondheim appeared in March, to larger events, like a planned June gala at the Beverly Hills home of the television producer Ryan Murphy, the L.G.B.T. donor base is helping push Mr. Buttigieg from the margins of the presidential contest into the same moneyed circles that raised millions of dollars for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. 

Top L.G.B.T. donors face no shortage of loyal allies among the 20 Democratic candidates. But Mr. Buttigieg’s candidacy has struck an especially powerful chord with many of them. Though many said they believed they would see a gay man or lesbian become a serious contender for the White House one day, most of them had never considered it beyond the abstract. Mr. Buttigieg’s ascent has made a sudden and unexpected reality of something they thought was still years away, if not decades. 

Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, Ind., has gained surprising early visibility in the 2020 presidential race. Also known as “Mayor Pete,” he is vying to become the first openly gay president.CreditCreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times
“There is absolutely no way to be cavalier about this candidacy — it is extraordinary,” said the television producer Richie Jackson, who with his husband, the Broadway producer Jordan Roth, hosted a fund-raiser for Mr. Buttigieg at their New York City home this month.

The L.G.B.T. support provided Mr. Buttigieg a crucial early financial foothold before his candidacy began to surge after a CNN town-hall-style event in March, and now is poised to power a campaign staffing up nationally and in the early-primary states. His rise has threatened the donor allegiances that other candidates, led by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., have established over many years in the L.G.B.T. world.

The flood of money does not come without risk. Though Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign announced last week that it would no longer accept contributions from federal lobbyists, and also said it was refunding $30,250 from lobbyists who had already donated, many of his gay donors have ties to the kinds of elite businesses that could tarnish his image as the embodiment of small-town, Midwestern America. 

Mr. Buttigieg’s sexual orientation is not central to how he has sold himself to the voting public — as a veteran, a Rhodes scholar and a government executive with the thoughtfulness and temperament needed to bridge the country’s bitter partisan divide.

But his sexuality became a much larger part of his political identity after he spoke this month to the Victory Fund, a group that supports L.G.B.T. candidates. In that speech, he described his struggle with coming out of the closet and challenged Vice President Mike Pence, an opponent of gay rights.

And his husband, Chasten, known for his prolific Twitter commentary, has become such a draw on the campaign trail that Mr. Buttigieg sometimes says he is “better known as the husband of Chasten Buttigieg.”

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know. 

Now he rarely goes more than a few days between private events hosted by prominent gay donors. Through mid-May, he has nearly two dozen fund-raisers planned, including one in New York hosted by Andy Cohen, the Bravo host, and Michael Stipe, the former lead singer of R.E.M.

“Pete is committed to standing with fellow members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community as the struggle for equality continues,” the Buttigieg campaign said in a statement. “He is grateful for the support he’s received.”

On Tuesday, he was in the Boston area for back-to-back fund-raisers with other prominent L.G.B.T. guests. The first featured Mr. Buttigieg in conversation with Brandon Victor Dixon, the Broadway actor who confronted Mr. Pence from the stage of “Hamilton.” The second was being hosted by Bryan Rafanelli and Mark Walsh, longtime confidants of the Clintons. 

Brad Lippitz, a real estate broker, is already organizing a second fund-raising event for Mr. Buttigieg because the first he was part of was such a success. Mr. Lippitz said he had had every intention of staying neutral in the primary — until he and his husband heard the mayor address Equality Illinois, a gay rights organization, in February.

“We were blown away,” he said.

But the L.G.B.T. community is no monolith. And Mr. Buttigieg’s candidacy is exposing tensions that have been papered over during the period of relative unity and common purpose that has taken hold since President Trump took office. The political priorities of the affluent white gay men who have mostly filled Mr. Buttigieg’s coffers often differ from those of other gay men, lesbians and transgender people. And the enthusiasm for his campaign is not universal.

“People are excited that there is, at least nominally, a viable candidate that is gay. That is uplifting,” said Alix Ritchie, a Democratic fund-raiser and board member of LPAC, a group seeking to empower L.G.B.T. women. But, she added, “I personally feel rather discouraged that the only attention being paid to Democratic candidates is a bunch of white guys. In terms of media coverage, the women are just being wiped off the map.”

April 22, 2019

Pete Can Be Gay, BA Christian and a Serious Candidate for The Presidency: Some $$ Spigots are Opening Up

Pete and his husband
DES MOINES, Iowa — Blake Carlson’s mother took the news hard when he came out to his parents last August. “My mom and me,” he said, “pretty much completely separated for a hot second.”

But as the 20-year-old Iowan waited for Pete Buttigieg to arrive at a Des Moines rally Tuesday night, he wondered if moments like this could help: an openly gay man emerging as a top-tier candidate for president, speaking to a crowd of more than 1,500 people.

“I grew up in Steve King country,” said Carlson, referring to the Republican lawmaker from northwest Iowa known for his racist and intolerant comments. “I grew up in the heart of Steve King country. I mean, even if he doesn’t win, even if he doesn’t get the nomination, for this to be just on the news, for this to be on the mainstream, and for her to be able to see that just means a lot to me. It’s just very meaningful and very powerful at this point in my life.”

In Buttigieg, Carlson and others in the LGBT community see a transformative figure not unlike Barack Obama in 2008. Being gay is not central to the 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana mayor’s message, just as being black was not central to Obama’s historic run. But “you can’t separate it,” Rufus Gifford, formerly Obama’s chief fundraiser and a prominent gay Democrat, told BuzzFeed News. Gifford made a maximum contribution to Buttigieg’s campaign, though he said he also plans to support other Democrats.

Buttigieg’s rise, LGBT Democrats told BuzzFeed News, has been powerful for its symbolic moments — a major candidate kissing his husband on stage, or speaking on national television of his own coming-out — but also because of the fact that Buttigieg’s sexuality has, so far, been only a piece of his candidacy.

Buttigieg has tapped into a powerful network of LGBT donors, a wealthy, engaged, and motivated group that has for years been a driving force behind Democratic presidential candidates but that has never had a gay major-party candidate to rally behind in a presidential election.

They include Barry Karas, who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, plus celebrities like Jane Lynch, who gave a maximum donation to Buttigieg. Karas, who also fundraises for the DNC, said he was moved by Buttigieg to jump into a primary that he’d planned to watch from the sidelines.

“Mayor Pete is such a wonderful voice for our community that I feel I want to support him in spite of the fact that I was trying to remain neutral,” Karas told BuzzFeed News. “His voice is so clear. The more and more he talks, it’s like, 'This guy is for real.'”

Friends had told Karas about Buttigieg, he said, but he remembers the moment he was truly taken by him: when Buttigieg spoke earlier this month at a brunch for the Victory Fund, a group that endorses LGBT candidates. There, Buttigieg spoke of a specific thought that is painfully familiar to most gay people: the idea of magically turning himself straight.

“If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you had time to give me a sip of water,” Buttigieg told the crowd. “That’s a hard thing to think about now.”

“That realness,” Karas said, made him think of his own coming-out experience. “This guy really speaks the truth.”

Buttigieg at a campaign event hosted by the Asian Latino Coalition at the Machinists Hall April 17, in Des Moines.
Buttigieg at a campaign event hosted by the Asian Latino Coalition at the Machinists Hall April 17, in Des Moines.

Some donors told BuzzFeed News that they were first motivated by the simple goal of getting Buttigieg onto the debate stage — what they hoped would be a symbolic moment of progress. But like with Obama, who appealed to a wide swath of white voters, it’s Buttigieg’s resonance beyond his own community — a precipitous rise in national polls, the growing support of major Democratic donors — that has resonated most with many of his LGBT supporters.

“When I was looking at social media feeds, I thought I was living in a bubble, because it was all Mayor Pete. I thought, maybe it’s just in the LGBTQ community, especially gay men,” said Chris Massicotte, a Democratic consultant who sits on the board of the Victory Fund, which is likely to endorse Buttigieg.

“What’s really exciting is seeing somebody with his background making this kind of splash,” Massicotte said. “I really think that he’s going to appeal to a broad swath of voters.”

Buttigieg doesn’t have a total lock on big LGBT donors, and many have contributed to other candidates, too, notes Annise Parker, Victory Fund’s president and CEO and the first openly LGBT mayor of a major American city. But they are almost universally “making small investments in Pete.”

“They don’t know if they’re voting for him in the fall, but they think it’s so important,” Parker said. “They want to see the diversity of the party on stage, and they’re investing in that.”

Buttigieg’s admirers believe he’s risen so fast in the Democratic field not because of his sexuality — though they acknowledge that’s part of the intrigue — but rather his résumé and engaging style. He’s a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar, with consulting experience in corporate America and military service in Afghanistan. His theme of “intergenerational justice” highlights his youth, but also has captured the interest of senior citizens showing up at his events in large numbers. (“There’s a lot of that,” he said Wednesday when a reporter asked him if elderly voters he meets tell him he reminds them of their son.)

“To have such an extraordinary candidate is making us all proud,” Rep. David Cicilline, a gay Democrat from Rhode Island who has had conversations with Buttigieg but not yet endorsed a presidential candidate, told BuzzFeed News. “It kind of reinforces what we all know: that people should be evaluated on their own ideas and the content of their character, rather than their sexual identity.”

Buttigieg’s sexual identity, though, was more than tangential to his breakout. His surge began in early March, when at a CNN town hall forum, he took several shots at Vice President Mike Pence, who as Indiana governor pursued a “religious freedom” measure seen as an attempt to discriminate against the LGBT community. Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten, has become a Twitter phenom. And Buttigieg’s Victory Fund speech has been central to his appeal, especially to LGBT supporters.

“That really got to me,” Kirk Kinderdietz, sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with the pronunciation of Buttigieg’s name — “BOOT EDGE EDGE” — said of the speech as he waited for the Des Moines rally to begin. “It made me realize ... I now know what my parents felt like when Kennedy was running. That was my revelation. I didn’t think I would ever see that in my lifetime.”

But Kinderdietz had a quick reply when asked how transformative the first major gay candidate for president could be.

“Gay’s not the center focus,” he said. “The center focus is he has good ideas that are good for the country, that are good for every Americans.”

Later, during the rally, a man in the audience wanted to know what to tell his friends who say America isn’t ready for a gay president. “First of all, tell your friends I said hi,” Buttigeg began, before talking about how he came out in 2015, not long after Pence’s religious freedom fight, and then won reelection with 80% of the vote.

“I think people are ready,” Rich Eychaner, a Des Moines business leader and LGBT activist who supports Buttigieg, said after the rally. “Being gay is not the major issue that drives people to him. The thing that drives people to him is he’s incredibly smart. He’s obviously done a lot of homework on what he wants to do, what needs to be done, and how to present it.”
Buttigieg talks to press after a meet-and-greet at Madhouse Coffee April 8 in Las Vegas.

Eychaner, whose brother Fred is a major philanthropist and Democratic donor, runs a nonprofit foundation that sponsors an annual Matthew Shepard Scholarship Program, named for the gay Wyoming man beat to death 20 years ago. He’s booked Buttigieg to give the keynote speech at the awards dinner in June. Buttigieg also will headline a Human Rights Campaign event next month in Las Vegas.

“You hope he’s the real deal,” Eychaner said. “Whether he’s going to get all the way to November of next year, who knows? But he certainly reinvigorates your confidence that the political process can solve the current problems and that the strength of our democracy is vibrant enough that we can get back to the kind of values we’re used to believing.”

Some LGBT donors and activists are now putting more energy into supporting Buttigieg than they would have anticipated just several months ago. Alex Slater, who runs a public relations firm in Washington, DC, had never been “all in” for a candidate before. But after he saw Buttigieg in person for the first time, Slater said, “I was sold.” He’s fundraised aggressively for Buttigieg, sending thousands of emails and making dozens of phone calls that have brought in significant sums for the candidate.

For Slater, who is gay and on the Victory Fund board, Buttigieg’s sexuality is just a small piece of why he was so drawn to the South Bend mayor. “It’s his youth too. He’s incredibly articulate — he’s the anti-Trump,” Slater said. “There’s a lot of people that are excited that he’s a gay candidate, but for me, I’m also excited that it’s almost irrelevant.”

Still, Slater says, of seeing Buttigieg onstage with his husband, Chasten: “Ten years ago, would you have ever even thought? I mean, would you?”

Ira Madison III, a television writer and the host of the Crooked Media podcast Keep It, is cohosting a fundraiser for Buttigieg in May, though he said he also supports other Democrats, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. “The idea of a gay man running for president is something I want to be involved in as much as I can,” he said.

For Madison, who is black and gay, there are strong parallels between Buttigieg and Obama, whom he was drawn to in 2008.

“To put it bluntly, there was a way that when Obama was running for president, you were criticized for saying you liked him and wanted to vote for him because he was black. But people have been voting for people because they’re white for years,” Madison said. “Why can’t I say I’m interested in voting for someone because I am black? Why can’t I vote for someone because I am gay?”

Several Iowans see Buttigieg’s candidacy less as a watershed moment and more a continuation of progress they’ve helped foster. Eychaner was an openly gay candidate for Congress — back in 1984. (He was a Republican at the time.) And as a state, Iowa was ahead of the US Supreme Court in legalizing gay marriage.

“Iowa has a way of embracing people in ways that are unexpected,” Andy Bock, a Democratic activist from Ames, said while waiting for Buttigieg to arrive Wednesday at a house party in Marshalltown.

But the excitement and expectations surrounding Buttigieg’s candidacy also are evident in the behavior of those threatened by it. Randall Terry, known nationally for his opposition to abortion rights and for reveling in the culture wars, led a trio of protesters who interrupted Buttigieg’s Iowa events this week.

“Remember Sodom and Gomorrah!” Terry, wielding a biblical reference often used as a weapon against gay people, shouted in Des Moines. The next day, at the Buttigieg house party in Marshalltown and right in the middle of Holy Week, Terry arrived dressed as the devil and heckled through a loudspeaker as one associate, wearing a “Mayor Pete” sign, lashed another dressed as Christ on the cross.

“It’s sad,” Bock said as he watched the spectacle a few dozen yards away. “But they’re from out of state.”

In Des Moines, both “Sodom and Gomorrah” interruptions came as the mayor was talking about his husband. “You know, the good news is the condition of my soul is in the hands of God,” Buttigieg said after the first. “But the Iowa caucuses are up to you.”

Cicilline was impressed with that response.

“I’m certain it’s not the first time he’s confronted it in public life,” he said. “But I think he handled it with grace and dignity.”

After the Marshalltown event, a reporter asked Buttigieg if the demonstrations offended him.

“When you’re in politics, especially at this level, you’re going to see the good, the bad, the ugly, and the peculiar,” Buttigieg said. “That’s just part of how it works, and you’ve got to be prepared for that. Look, the next president is going to have to confront things a lot more challenging than being interrupted or having to talk over a little noise at an event. It may be irritating, but it’s also part of the landscape.”

LGBT activists are eager to see how Buttigieg reacts as his campaign continues.

“There’s going to be a lot more of that,” Gifford, the former Obama fundraiser, said of the anti-gay protests. “We’re going to have to have this conversation like we had a conversation electing the first African American president.”

Madison, the television writer, said he was moved by seeing Buttigieg kiss his husband onstage at his campaign launch — but also reminded, immediately, of Barack and Michelle Obama, whose simple fist bump in the midst of the 2008 campaign set off a chorus of racist and anti-Muslim backlash from the right.

“Everything they do,” Madison said, “is going to be dissected, the way that fist bump was.”

Henry J. Gomez reported from Des Moines. Molly Hensley-Clancy reported from Washington, DC.

April 1, 2019

America Is Ready For A Gay President and Pete Buttigieg Could Be The First One

                                                                 Image result for pete buttigieg on the white house

Data analyst and political columnist

Right now, the political world is in the middle of the Buttigieg Boomlet. Everyone in the media (and even some voters) is going nuts for South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He’s a 37-year-old Harvard-educated Afghanistan war veteran who speaks about half a dozen languages and, like almost every Democrat in the United States, is running for president. And if Mayor Pete were to win the Democratic nomination, he’d be the first openly gay major-party presidential candidate.
A couple of decades ago, Buttigieg’s sexuality probably would have been a deal-breaker. But polling data suggests that American opinions on LGBT issues have shifted dramatically over the past couple of decades, and those shifts have created real room for a gay candidate. Buttigieg would undoubtedly face hurdles if he were to win the nomination, but Democrats could pick candidates with more serious deficits.
It’s hard to overstate how quickly Americans have collectively changed their mind on LGBT issues. Over the past couple of decades, both Democrats and Republicans have become much more likely to say that sexual relations between adults of the same gender are “not wrong at all” and much less likely to say “always wrong.” Opinions have changed on marriage equality, too — both through generational replacement and persuasion. Younger voters are more likely to favor same-sex marriage than older voters are, but older generations also seem to have moved left on the issue over time.

Attitudes on LGBT issues have changed quickly within both parties. (David Byler/Washington Post)

Change in views on same-sex marriage broken down by generation. (David Byler/The Washington Post)
Unsurprisingly, Americans have simultaneously become more comfortable with LGBT people holding positions of power. In 2015, Gallup found that 74 percent of Americans would vote for a well-qualified gay or lesbian presidential candidate from their party. Only 24 percent said they wouldn’t. That’s a big shift from some similar 20th-century numbers — only 26 percent said they’d vote for a gay or lesbian candidate in 1978, and 59 percent said they would in 1999. A 2019 NBC-Wall Street Journal poll also showed that 68 percent would be “enthusiastic about” or “comfortable with” a gay or lesbian presidential candidate. In 2006, that number was 43 percent. 
Gay and lesbian candidates face more opposition than candidates who are straight but are not white and male. Gallup found that a greater percentage of Americans would vote for a Catholic, female, black or Hispanic candidate than a gay or lesbian candidate, while evangelical Christian candidates and gay and lesbian candidates had similar numbers (73 percent would vote for an evangelical, 74 percent would vote for a lesbian or gay person). The NBC-Wall Street Journal poll also found that respondents were more comfortable with a black, female or white male candidate than they were with a gay or lesbian candidate. But respondents were more comfortable with “a person who is gay or lesbian” as a presidential candidate than one who is older than 75, relatively young (under 40), Muslim, socialist or politically independent.
These are all basically good results for Buttigieg and gay and lesbian candidates across the country. Looking at these numbers, I think Buttigieg’s youth and his midsize-city governing experience might present more of an obstacle to his presidential hopes than his sexual orientation.
But Buttigieg still might face some unique struggles. It’s possible that there’s some amount of social desirability bias in these poll results. Those who are cooler toward LGBT people might tell an interviewer that they are pro-LGBT because they don’t want to seem backward or judgmental, causing pollsters such as Gallup and NBC-Wall Street Journal to underestimate the prevalence of anti-LGBT sentiments. 
In fact, political scientists Gabriele Magni and Andrew Reynolds recently found (using some fancy survey experimentation that controls for other demographic factors) that gay, lesbian and transgender candidates got somewhat less support than straight candidates. And there’s always the problem of implicit bias. Everyone brings subconscious assumptions to day-to-day life, and some voters might unknowingly judge a gay candidate by different standards than they would judge a straight one. The top-line findings from Gallup and NBC-Wall Street Journal should be encouraging to Team Buttigieg. But they don’t necessarily mean that he’ll have an easy campaign.
Stll, Democrats can — and arguably have — elected candidates with more substantial weaknesses than Buttigieg in the past. If his semi-longshot presidential run doesn’t pan out, he has a pretty good shot at becoming the nation’s first openly gay vice presidential nominee. And even if Buttigieg doesn’t end up in the White House in any capacity, his ability to run a campaign in which his sexual orientation is a virtual non-issue is a real, if subtle, victory for LGBT equality.

March 28, 2019

He is Gay and Proud, A Christian Who Challenges The Religious Right

As someone whose identity includes serious Christianity and serious progressive political stances, I’ve always been wary of trying to counter the Christian right with some sort of Christian left, in a Bible-quotation–loaded competition to claim God for a party or ideology. As Barack Obama once convincingly argued, doubt about what God wants people to do politically is an important part of an attitude of humility which used to be called “the fear of God.” It’s also part of the foundation for the great American doctrine of separation of church and state, which was sacred to Southern Baptists when I was growing up in that faith community (they’ve dramatically flip-flopped since then, alas).

Still, it’s important now and then to challenge the conservative assertion — often shared in ignorance by secular media — that religiosity, and particularly Christian religiosity, dictates reactionary positions on culture and politics. So I found it interesting and provocative that 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker goes out of his way to talk about his own religious faith:

[Booker] bids fair to become the most overtly Christian Democratic presidential candidate since Jesse Jackson and perhaps even Jimmy Carter, at a time when his party is trending irreligious and the opposition claims a monopoly on all things biblical. What makes Booker different from many left-of-center figures who are “personally” religious is that he purports to be progressive because of his faith, not despite it or incidentally alongside it (e.g., the way John F. Kennedy referred to his own faith as an “accident of birth”). If this becomes central to his identity as a presidential wannabe, it will be provocative to both the Christian right and to secular Democrats. And that could be both a benefit and a handicap for Booker ’20.

As E.J. Dionne observes, there is another 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who’s conspicuously talking about his faith, the fast-rising dark horse Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana:

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” last week, the 37-year-old from South Bend, Ind., made a modest plea: “I do think it’s important for candidates to at least have the option to talk about our faith,” he said. He specifically targeted the idea that “the only way a religious person could enter politics is through the prism of the religious right.”

An Episcopalian and a married gay man, Buttigieg pointed to the core Christian concept that “the first shall be last; the last shall be first.”

He added: “What could be more different than what we’re being shown in Washington right now — often with some people who view themselves as religious on the right, cheering it on? . . . Here we have this totally warped idea of what Christianity should be like when it comes into the public sphere, and it’s mostly about exclusion. Which is the last thing that I imbibe when I take in scripture in church.”

Dionne notes that Booker and Elizabeth Warren share Buttigieg’s willingness to talk about Christian faith. But what makes Mayor Pete especially interesting is that he challenges the idea that Christianity is inherently homophobic in a direct and personal manner. To him, LGBTQ folk aren’t third parties who are the subject of some argument between Christians and progressives: He’s Christian, progressive, and gay. So conservative Christians who like to imply that their more accepting co-religionists aren’t “real” or “orthodox” because they don’t exclude gay people need to be willing to tell Buttigieg he’s taking the Lord’s name in vain. And that may be — and certainly should be — uncomfortable for them.

The Episcopal Church of America accepts gay parishioners, priests, and bishops in churches that recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday and have as authentic a claim to “orthodoxy” as any other church and more than many. So, too, do such solid elements of the American and global religious landscape as the United Church of Christ (a.k.a. Congregationalists), the Presbyterian Church (USA) (the largest gathering in that faith tradition), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ditto), the Unitarian-Universalist Association, and many congregations and whole regions of the United Methodists and my own Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that embrace gay people as equals in every way. There are many smaller denominations and nondenominational gatherings that do the same. And that’s aside from the millions of individual Catholics, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals who reject, quietly or openly, the homophobia of their own denominations.

Any Democratic presidential nominee who can authentically talk about his or her faith would be well advised to do so if only to confound Christian-right leaders and followers who have cast their own lots with the heathenish warlord in the White House. But Pete Buttigieg offers a particularly interesting contrast with the 45th president. Would anyone be confident in accusing this married, churchgoing, Afghanistan veteran of being ethically inferior to Donald Trump? Not without risking hellfire.

June 10, 2017

JFK and RFK Shared Everything-Even a Boyfriend From Youth to Death

This story originally published on Sunday by the  Daily Mail, Written by Jerry Oppenheimer, NY Times best-selling author.

Born 100 years ago, John F. Kennedy was revered as the 35th president but quietly chided for his womanizing
One of his closest relationships was with his gay best friend and prep school roommate Lem Billings
Billings told JFK about his romantic intentions toward him in a love note written on a piece of toilet paper at their elite Connecticut boarding school
The future president wrote back  'I'm not that kind of boy'
But one point Billings confided  that his friendship with the future president 'included oral sex, with Jack always on the receiving end'
They remained close even after the election, despite warnings from JFK's advisers who thought Russian agents could use the relationship as blackmail
After JFK's assassination, Billings had romantic feelings for JFK's nephew, Bobby Kennedy Jr.

Jerry Oppenheimer is a New York Times bestselling author who has written two books about the Kennedys. His latest book, The Kardashians: An American Drama, will be published in September. 
John F. Kennedy, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated this year with a Kennedy Centennial postage stamp, TV memorials, a slew of books, and much media coverage, was revered as the 35th president of the United States. 
But the man married to Jackie Kennedy was quietly chided for his compulsive philandering. The one iconic photo of President John F. Kennedy up close and personal with a woman other than Jackie shows him and his attorney general brother, Robert, coming on to curvaceous Marilyn Monroe at a party. 
While the photo of Kennedy cozying up to Monroe is the best known of him with one of his purported lovers, other far less public snapshots show the flip side of Kennedy's intimate relationships.

 Among the snapshots is one that shows a handsome pre-presidential Kennedy sunning himself, sprawled on a chaise at Patriarch Joe Kennedy's Palm Beach estate. And seated close to Kennedy is his shirtless, tanned and oiled best friend forever, his very gay chum, Kirk LeMoyne 'Lem' Billings.
While JFK is legendarily known as a master womanizer who frequently cheated on his first lady, his curious three-decades-long intimate friendship with Billings suggests more than a simple bromance.
They met in 1933 in their sophomore year at Choate Rosemary Hall, the exclusive Connecticut prep school, when both were teenagers, working together on their class's yearbook, and Billings instantly became attracted sexually and otherwise to the handsome scion of America's self-styled royal family.
Their very intimate relationship would last from those school days to Billings even having a room in the Kennedy White House – distressing for the first lady – to the day of Kennedy's assassination.
Details of Lem Billings and JFK's three-decade relationship are revealed in 'Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And The Dark Side Of The Dream' +13

Details of Lem Billings and JFK's three-decade relationship are revealed in 'Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And more.

One of the most credible accounts of the Kennedy-Billings relationship was told by David Pitts, who I interviewed extensively for my book, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And The Dark Side Of The Dream, because the strapping, bespectacled Billings, with a high-pitched, effeminate voice, would later become the fawning surrogate father – and fellow drug user – of JFK's nephew, Bobby Kennedy Jr., with whom Billings also had intense romantic feelings.

As one source told me, 'Young Bobby replaced Jack in Lem's heart of hearts.'
Billings, who was a year older than Jack Kennedy, made his desire known while the two were still at Choate in a bizarre love note, penned on a piece of toilet paper that could be disposed of easily to avoid incrimination at a time when homosexuality was illicit. 
While Billings' missive is long gone, a startled Kennedy responded, 'Please don't write to me on toilet paper anymore. I'm not that kind of boy.'

But Kennedy's reaction to Billings gay come-on soon changed and he became more amenable to his friend's advances, according to the writer Lawrence J. Quirk, author of 'The Kennedys in Hollywood.' Quirk had met Billings in the mid-Forties when both were volunteers in Jack Kennedy's first congressional campaign.

Quirk immediately pegged Billings as gay, noting his 'high, screechy laugh,' and 'high nasal whine of a voice.' As they became close, Billings confided that his relationship with Kennedy was, in fact, sexual, to a point.

According to Quirk, Billings revealed that his friendship with the future president of the United States 'included oral sex, with Jack always on the receiving end.'

Their arrangement, Quirk asserted, 'enabled Jack to sustain his self-delusion that straight men who received oral sex from other males were really only straights looking for sexual release,' and he further observed, 'Jack was in love with Lem being in love with him and considered him the ideal follower adorer.'

The Kennedy patriarch, Joe, a noted philanderer himself, was suspicious of Billings' sexual orientation from the start of his son's close friendship with him. He noted that everywhere Jack went, Billings was sure to follow, like a puppy dog. On school breaks, Jack often brought Billings home with him, sparking Joe Kennedy to complain to his wife, Rose, 'Do we have to have that queer around all summer?'

Still, the Kennedy clan accepted – even welcomed – Lem Billings into their exclusive inner-circle, practically adopting him, and he became a part of the family.
As Billings' biographer David Pitts told me, 'Once JFK decided that Billings was his best friend – like it or leave, everybody in the family sort of fell in line with that. The Kennedys were a liberal family and one that tolerated a lot of heterosexual promiscuity as well.'

 While her husband had his qualms about Billings and couldn't stand to have him around, the matriarch Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, had a different take. In her memoir, Times To Remember, published eleven years after Jack's assassination in Dallas in 1963, she wrote that Billings had 'remained Jack's lifelong close friend, confidant, share in old memories and new experiences…He has really been part of 'our family' since that first time he showed up at our house as one of 'Jack's surprises.'

One of Jack's five sisters, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, found it hard to describe her brother's relationship with Billings, once stating, 'It was a complete liberation of the spirit…' for Jack, and that her brother was a 'complete liberated man when he was with Lem.'

But Billings was embarrassed about his effeminate mannerisms – he'd remain publicly closeted for his lifetime. 'People think I'm a joke,' he once acknowledged. 'They make fun of my voice. But I'm stuck with the Kennedys emotionally, and I will be to the end of my life.'

After Jack Kennedy's election to the presidency, Billings was a constant presence and overnight guest at the White House. Knowing the kind of intimate relationship that he had with the president, advisers were concerned about political repercussions, and even blackmail. 
The Cold War was still raging, and there was fear Russian agents might use the friendship against Kennedy.

Gore Vidal, the gay writer who claimed he viewed homosexuality as normal as heterosexuality, disparaged the JFK-Billings relationship during the Kennedy administration.
 He once called Billings the 'chief f****t at Camelot.' As for Kennedy himself, Vidal asserted that the President 'felt quite comfortable in the company of homosexuals as long as they were smart enough to hold his interest.'

After the assassination of RFK in 1968, the flamboyant Billings transferred his obsessive affection for Jack, to handsome teenager Bobby Jr.

David Pitts, the author of 'Jack and Lem: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship,' told me, 'Lem was a gay man and he had a 14-year-old, good-looking kid living in his house with him and there had been rumors because of that. I have no evidence one way or another, but I would discount [any sexual activity.]

Still, Billings was viewed by many I interviewed for my biography of RFK Jr. as his gay Svengali who guided and literally tried to control every aspect of Bobby Jr.'s life from the time he was in his mid-teens.

During the night of May 28, 1981—almost two decades after JFK's untimely death – 65-year-old Lem Billings died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack.
Billings had once told Bobby that when he died he wanted the pall-bearers to be members of Bobby's circle of young friends, whom he knew well and with whom he had done drugs.

It was Bobby Kennedy Jr. who gave the eulogy.
'I'm sure he's already organizing everything in heaven so it will be completely ready for us – with just the right Early American furniture, the right curtains, the right drugs, the right paintings, and everything ready for a big, big party.

'Yesterday was Jack's birthday. Jack's best friend was Lem, and he would want to remind everyone of that today. I am sure the good Lord knows that heaven is Jesus and Lem and Jack and Bobby loving one another.' 

 DailyMail, edited by Adamfoxie*blog

'To clarify' from Adam Gonzalez, Adamfoxie*blog Publisher

To clarify any confusion from someone who might not understand sexuality and how it flows, let me say that sexuality as in my experience, readings and teachings is fluid. There are truly bisexual men that feel very comfortable with either sex, sexually speaking. The environment and society's laws, norms and myths mixes in that fluidity and sometimes can make a person's sexuality as hard as cement. Sexuality is something we are born with and to some that refuse to believe that I would say hat if a person were not inherently born gay then is for sure something that happens in the early life of a boy or girl even before they are aware of what sex is. You can only understand this only if you are gay or bi yourself or have studied it and have listened to people that are gay and bisexual without judging but a desire to learn what a person feels. If you are to understand anything in nature including space, the sun, space travel, you must put aside religious and society's norms. Why? because just like people were imprisoned for saying the earth was round, society's rules don't change with evidence. Sometimes if those norms are so ingrained that it takes a new generation altogether to be born and have an open mind to understand these things. Imagine killing somebody because they say the earth is round, the same applies to killing somebody because they have been a member of the same sex. One thing is to read something and another is to experience it yourself.
It is obvious to me what JFK was looking for in a man. He had been with plenty of women but up to know there is only this account of having a friend since he was a boy, an older brother you might say.
Since there was not related by blood the relationship expanded into also sex. That is normal because what he was looking for is something most people look for; Trust(with his life), loyalty, understanding, sharing, no judging, openness and the feeling that he could be himself with all other trappings. JFK followed the rules of the family by dating a girl marrying and having a family. In private he wanted to have his own life.
One day after the boomer generation is all gone and this world but particularly the western world if govern by millennials you will see if you could time travel the numbers of LGBT growing. It's not going to be because there will be more LGBT but because people won't be ashamed in admitting having been with a man or woman of their same sex. People will look back at today's norms as we do look back to the argument that the earth was not round.
It is all silly and should not be a cause of argument when we talk about who we are. We already know there are no or LGBT killers and criminals than any other group. It's a percentage just like everything in our lives is a percentage weather is our DNA and what type of chromosomes ar together or not to the water that we drink. Yes, sexuality is fluid, is not one thing you can just hold with your hands or say that is pure no matter if you filter it. It all depends on what container you use to keep it contained for you.

Thank you for reading. As always if you have a google account you can easily leave a comment, question, message (not commercials, they are never allowed in). If not, you can always use facebook, tweeter or google plus.
We work hard for you and will only be here while there is a healthy audience to share and fight fake truths be sex, science or politics. Allergic to rumors and lies.

The book: Details of Lem Billings and JFK's three-decade relationship are revealed in 'Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And The Dark Side Of The Dream' 

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