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Was Abraham Lincoln Gay Or Bi? Why Bros Suggests He Was

Bros suggests several times that Abraham Lincoln was either gay or bisexual. In the movie, Billy Eichner’s character, Bobby, even proposes adding a Lincoln exhibit to the LGBTQ+ history museum where he works. And despite the objection of one of his colleagues, the idea is indeed chosen for development. But whether the 16th President of the United States was LGBTQ+ — let alone the first gay or bisexual American president — is up for debate.


Proponents of Abraham Lincoln’s status as a gay or bisexual man, including Bros‘ main character, suggest that he was in a relationship with his longtime friend and business partner Joshua Fry Speed when both men were considered bachelors. The evidence, which has been widely criticized, includes supposedly intimate letters shared between the two and the fact that Lincoln and Speed shared a bed for the four years that they lived together.

Related: Every Cameo In Bros Explained & What They Mean

The evidence against Abraham Lincoln being either gay or bisexual is a little more convincing, however. Historians point out that, at the time, two men sharing a bed did not have the same sexual connotations that they would now. Rather, it was a normal practice, especially for people who could not afford a second bed. Lincoln, who was married to his wife for 23 years until his assassination, also did not try to separate himself from Joshua Fry Speed when running for president. No opponent ever suggested that he was gay, which would have been politically devastating at the time.

Lincoln Might Not Have Been LGBTQ+ But One President Probably Was

Abraham Lincoln’s predecessor as president, James Buchanan, was in all likelihood a gay, yet closeted, man. Buchanan, who served for a single term in the White House, from 1857 to 1861, met and courted the daughter of a wealthy iron manufacturer, Anne Caroline Coleman, in 1818. By the time of their engagement the next year, rumors circulated that Buchanan was marrying Coleman solely for her family’s money, due to how little time the couple spent together. Coleman broke off their engagement and died suddenly shortly after the break-up in December 1819. After her death, Buchanan never courted another woman — his niece, Harriet Lane, served as First Lady during his presidency.

President Buchanan’s status as a lifelong bachelor has attracted suggestions that he was gay. Buchanan was romantically linked to the 13th Vice President, William Rufus King, and reportedly called him pet names, such as “Miss Nancy” and even “wife.” They also attended social functions together between 1834 and 1844. It has been suggested that the two men wrote intimate letters to one another, which were destroyed by their nieces. Although Bros suggests that Abraham Lincoln could have been the first LGBTQ+ president in U.S. history, James Buchanan was, in all likelihood, truly the first gay President of the United States of America. Perhaps a Bros sequel can address that historical gossip.

Next: Bros Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

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