Are We Ready for A Gay US President?

August 28, 2013  |  

Is the world ready for an openly gay US President?

How about president, who might be gay – but then again, might not be gay – and will refuse to answer the question either way?

Of course, I’m talking about Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, who in an interview with the Washington Post, addressed the rumors about his sexuality by confirming in a round about way that he does like the ladies, goes on dates and, at the suggestion of his pastor, is contemplating settling down with a “life partner.” Booker, who is running for U.S. Senator of New Jersey, also said that if he was gay, why would that matter? And he hopes that his ambiguity would challenge both his detractors and supporters on their homophobia. As quoted in the Post, he said:

And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.

He also confirmed that he was not seeing Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, with whom Booker was linked six years ago and says that the only reason why we haven’t seen or heard about him out on dates is because, “How unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven’t signed up for that yet?”

Rumors have been swirling for years about the sexuality of the unmarried Mayor of Newark. Most recently an old column a college aged Booker had penned for his Stanford University’s newspaper back in 1992, spoke very candidly about his struggle with homophobia and his evolution on gay rights and tolerance, help to reignite the gay rumors. The inference, of course, is that the Booker former fear of the gays was spurred more out of denial of who he was, than the act of homosexuality in general. It didn’t help matters much that when asked on the matter, Booker’s own spokesperson refused to confirm or deny either way.

Playing ambiguous with his sexual identity might be a risky strategy for the political “rock star,” who some suspect might have aspirations for president. It’s hard to believe that in 2013, when folks are running away from marriage like Spaniards run from charging bulls, that anyone would still question a man’s sexuality just because he is not married. But for whatever continued reason, the idea of single straight people makes the general public pretty nervous. And in 2013 when we’ve elected Adult Video stars, actors and comedians to public office, in addition to our first black president, it’s hard to believe that whom a person loves, or casually sleeps with, would matter more than their politics. But who are we kidding? Sexuality seems like such an arbitrary reason to not vote for a candidate, whom otherwise might do a good job but folks use all sorts of irrational reasons all the time when deciding on politicians – from their race, religion, gender and even down to a particular style of hair and dress. So why wouldn’t sexuality be excluded?

For example, a few years back I was having lunch with a casual friend, who is heavily involved in local politics. We were discussing one of the local races, which involved a pretty well liked politician, who was much rumored to be secretly gay. Despite the candidates reputation for being a good public servant and seemingly looking like an ideal fit for the office he was running for, my friend said very emphatically that he would not vote for him because he was gay. I told him that was silly, “You like the guy. Just vote for him.” But my friend, who couldn’t offer a good reason other than his disapproval of his supposed sexuality, scrunched up his nose and said that while he did like the guy personally, “but still what if he starts passing all sort of gay stuff…”

Ah yes, the gay the stuff. It’s unclear exactly what policies my friend was eluding to, which might suggest a gay slant – other than gay marriage but I’m not sure how that would have any effect on his life or the lives of anyone, who does not want to gay marry? But that’s my personal politics. And you know what they say about all politics being personal? Now that I think more about it, I might be more inclined to vote for a gay candidate, particularly if they were black, just because I would think they would have a more vested interested in ending discrimination.

So what do folks think? Is the world ready for a gay US President?

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