"Not very convincing," says Tariq Ali in his LRB piece taking apart Tony Kushner's attempt to have it both ways regarding his establishment-pandering and, surprise, surprise, much-nominated screenplay Lincoln. Kushner claims while he "personally believes" the 16th president was queer, he can justify degaying him because:
"I wanted to write about a very specific moment and I chose this moment and I don’t feel that there’s any evidence at this particular moment that Lincoln was having sex with anybody… He seems to have not slept and taken no time off and during this period I think he was beginning to feel ground to a pulp by the war and by the pressures of his job. I find it difficult to believe that Lincoln was banging anybody."
So we're only gay during the moments when we're "banging anybody"? And people in stressful, powerful jobs never use sex as a release? As Ali says, "history and present times contradict such a narrow view."
TA: Given the recent book and materials on Lincoln’s homosexuality how do you feel having portrayed him as a raving heterosexual in your novel?
GV: You’re a bastard. What a bastard question. It hurts. It hurts. How could I have missed that?
TA: You didn’t look?
GV: I had no idea, but since Tripp's book I’ve gone back and devoured everything on the subject. There is no doubt in my mind. Once he was in bed with the Captain and the latter’s son walked in. On another occasion they were disturbed and Lincoln opened the door wearing his lover’s nightgown. Oh what a fool I was.
Lincoln was published in 1984. Three decades later, here we are.