A rediscovered letter penned by a young Barack Obama to his former college girlfriend, Alex McNear, offers a candid glimpse into his reflections on homosexuality and gender.
Written during his time at Occidental College in Los Angeles in November 1982, the letter unearths the former US President’s contemplations on the concept of being gay and his admission of harboring fantasies about relations with men.
The 40-year-old letter, redacted by McNear and transcribed by historian David Garrow for his biography, “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama,” provides an intriguing insight into Obama’s early musings.
The original document is currently safeguarded at Emory University, inaccessible for photography or removal.
The letter, which recently resurfaced and was reported by Thepinknews.com, reveals Obama’s nuanced reflections.
He writes, “In regard to homosexuality, I must say that I believe this is an attempt to remove oneself from the present, a refusal perhaps to perpetuate the endless farce of earthly life. You see, I make love to men daily, but in the imagination.”
In addition to his thoughts on homosexuality, Obama delves into his contemplations on gender.
“My mind is androgynous to a great extent, and I hope to make it more so until I can think in terms of people, not women as opposed to men.
But, in returning to the body, I see that I have been made a man, and physically in life, I choose to accept that contingency,” he writes.
Garrow, who transcribed the letter, emphasizes that Obama’s sexual fantasies were not atypical for a young individual and underscores that many people experience similar thoughts during their formative years. Remarkably, as the President of the United States, Obama made substantial strides in advancing LGBTQ+ rights.
In 2009, he signed a federal law criminalizing hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The subsequent year, he successfully repealed the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law, enabling gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans to serve openly in the Armed Forces.
Obama’s evolution in championing LGBTQ+ rights was particularly evident in his changing stance on same-sex marriage.
Although he initially did not view marriage as a civil right, his second presidential term saw him celebrating the landmark legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.
The pivotal US Supreme Court decision invalidated all state bans on same-sex marriage. Additionally, Obama took further strides by signing an executive order in 2014, aimed at safeguarding LGBTQ+ individuals from workplace discrimination.
His administration also took affirmative steps by mandating that schools permit transgender and gender non-conforming young people to utilize restrooms aligning with their gender identity.
While Barack Obama’s legacy in advancing LGBTQ+ rights is undeniably impactful, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges that transgender youth have faced, especially in states under Republican control.
Despite his advocacy and accomplishments, the rights of transgender individuals have encountered setbacks during and subsequent to Obama’s presidency.
Barack Obama, a steadfast advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, has been married to his wife, Michelle, since 1992.
The couple, proud parents of two children, continue to contribute to important conversations and progress in various domains.
As the resurfaced letter sheds light on a transformative period in Obama’s life, it invites us to recognize the multifaceted journey that shapes leaders and the ongoing importance of promoting equality and acceptance.