Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, March 3, 2000 Page: 25 of 102
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code words in Sandburg's day for homosexu-
Most recently, writer Larry Kramer claims
to have turned up a diary belonging to Speed
and letters between the two men that were
hidden under the floorboards of the old gener-
"Our Abe is like a school girl," always
demanding physical affection, Speed reported-
ly wrote. "He often kisses me when I tease
him." Speed's language suggests that, even if
the men's relationship wasn't sexually con-
summated, there was a strong homoerotic cur-
rent running through it.
In 1885, 20 years after Lincoln's death,
another unmarried president took office.
Unlike bachelor Buchanan, though, Grover
Cleveland had a reputation as a rake. He asked
his sister Rose, a "spinster" with a successful
career as a teacher, novelist, and literary critic,
to move to Washington to be his first lady and
bring a note of respectability to the White
House. She acted as first lady until her brother
married in 1886.
In 1889, when she was 44, Rose Cleveland
began a romantic friendship with Evangeline
Simpson, a wealthy 30-year-old widow whom
she met while on vacation in Florida. After
returning to their respective homes, the two
women exchanged a flurry of increasingly
"I tremble at the thought of you,"
Continued from Page 22
ly decorated floats carrying 6,000 partici-
pants through the packed streets of
Paddington and Darlinghurst, former work-
ing-class neighborhoods that are the center of
Sydney's vibrant gay and lesbian community.
Last year, one whole float was full of men
dressed as Monica Lewinsky. Float designers
this year are expected to take aim at Sydney's
other huge event, the Olympic Games in
For those unable to get to the parade route,
the event is being shown live for the first time
on pay-per-view television and will be broad-
cast over the Internet. An edited two-hour
show will be televised nationally the next day
while foreign television crews will send
glimpses of the gaudiness around the world.
Detractors say the event has outlived its
purpose, now that Sydney has become one of
the world's most tolerant cities for lesbians
Borzman, Sol. Madmen and Geniuses: The Vice Presidents of the
United Slates (Follett, 1974).
Katz, Jonathan Ned. "The President's Sister ond the Bishop's Wife,'
Advocate (Jan. 31,1989).
Lloyd, Carol. 'Was Lincoln Gay?" Salon (May 3,1999).
Cleveland wrote. "I dare not think of your
arms." Simpson, in return, addressed
Cleveland as "my Clevy, my Viking, my
Everything." When Simpson enclosed a photo
of herself in a letter, Cleveland replied that
"the look of it [is] all making me wild."
After a few years, however, Simpson chose
to follow a more conventional path. In 1892,
she became engaged to an Episcopal bishop
twice her age. The decision, Cleveland wrote,
hurt her deeply. Nevertheless, she wished the
couple well — on White House stationery.
When Simpson's husband died a few years
later, she returned to corresponding with
Cleveland. Reunited, the women moved to
Italy in 1910, where they lived together until
Cleveland died eight years later. Remaining in
Italy, Simpson survived her partner by 12
years, and the two were buried there side by
David Bianco is the author of Gay Essentials
(Alyson Publications), a collection of his history
columns. He can be reached at his e-mail address
(firstname.lastname@example.org). For more Past Out, visit
But organizers say they are looking further
afield, hoping to improve conditions for gays
"We have had a lot of gains in terms of leg-
islative reform and recognition [in Australia],"
Goggin said. "That is not true in large other
parts of the world, particularly in the Asia
Pacific region where there are an enormous
amount of human rights abuses and enormous
distance to travel in terms of recognition of
gays and lesbians."
Mardi Gras organizers try to highlight gay
issues in those areas by sponsoring performers
and speakers from nations including Vietnam,
Indonesia and Malaysia to visit the Mardi Gras
But New South Wales state lawmaker
Clover Moore, whose district hosts the parade,
says there is still work to do in Australia.
"There are still battles," she said. "Once
you move out of my electorate, you still
encounter discrimination, and it will take a
long time to win real victories in terms of tol-
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, March 3, 2000, newspaper, March 3, 2000; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth615497/m1/25/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.