March 26, 2019 | Washington Post

Zeke Emanuel: America has already had a gay president

“If elected, you would be the first openly gay president of the United States,” Stephen Colbert said to Pete Buttigieg after the mayor of South Bend, Ind., declared his candidacy. While the characterization of being openly gay or “out” is relatively new, the fact is the United States has already had a gay president whose contemporaries knew it: James Buchanan. Indeed, the United States has also had a gay vice president and, maybe more surprisingly, a gay senator from Alabama.

If students taking U.S. history classes are taught anything about Buchanan, they learn that he was “our only bachelor president.” How quaint. But, by using euphemisms, we falsely educate students — indeed all Americans — about the realities of this country’s history. We also distort how and why Buttigieg’s sexual identity matters today.

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