Obama gay?! Sorry, but the real story isn’t whether he’s gay; it’s that he wisely and maturely chose the hard work that heterosexuality can be.
The big salacious headline today is that Barack Obama flirted with being gay when he was in college. That’s no surprise to me. I’ve been aware of years about the rumors regarding Obama’s sexuality. They didn’t surprise me, because my well-honed gaydar pinged when I looked at him and history.
As I saw it, Obama’s inclination was to be gay, but his ambition in the 1980s told him that a standard heterosexual life was the path to power. Ambition trumped sexual orientation and Obama settled for marriage and children.
It turns out that Obama was actually more thoughtful and insightful about the matter than I would have realized. To hear him tell it, rather than turning away from homosexuality so that he could have a political career, he turned away from it because he recognized that it was the easy way out of life and chose to push himself instead to do the hard work of having a fully heterosexual relationship.
We know this because David Garrow, a reputable Progressive biographer, is coming out with a new Obama biography next month. In that biography, he talks about Obama’s own writings about his sexuality (emphasis mine):
“Three years later, Obama wrote somewhat elusively to his first intimate girlfriend that he had thought about and considered gayness, but ultimately had decided that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex,” Garrow wrote. “But there is no doubting that Goldyn gave eighteen-year-old Barry a vastly more positive and uplifting image of gay identity and self-confidence than he had known in Honolulu.”
Obama was and is correct about the ease of homosexuality — at least the ease that existed in the pre-AIDS era, when Obama and I were in high school and college.
Because I grew up in San Francisco during the 1970s, I was quite familiar with gay culture and harbored no prejudices against it. That changed when I returned to the City in the 1980s after finishing my education.
I was in the mood to date then and found frustrating the number of professional men around me who were gay. I would complain to my friends that gays were taking all the good men. They would counter that being gay was not a choice and these were men who would never have been interested in me. I thought differently and, of all people, Obama confirms that my thinking on the subject was right.