Newsweek Cover: Obama Is First Gay President
Well, if Bill Clinton could jokingly be deemed America's "first black president" -- when we all knew good and well that he wasn't actually black -- then why not? Newsweek's May 21 cover features an image of President Obama looking off into the distance with a rainbow halo above his head. The accompanying essay, penned by the Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan, explains the thinking behind the controversial assertion.
From the Washington Post:
Sullivan, who is gay, describes Obama’s “evolution” on gay rights as the latest example of Obama “leading from behind and playing the long game.” Of his reaction to last week’s “Good Morning America” interview, Sullivan writes:
“Like many others, I braced myself for disappointment. And yet when I watched the interview, the tears came flooding down. The moment reminded me of my own wedding day. I had figured it out in my head, but not my heart.”
Sullivan also draws a comparison between the gay experience and Obama’s own search for racial identity:
“Barack Obama had to come out of a different closet. He had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family. The America he grew up in had no space for a boy like him: black yet enveloped by loving whiteness, estranged from a father he longed for (another common gay experience), hurtling between being a Barry and a Barack, needing an American racial identity as he grew older but chafing also against it and over-embracing it at times.”
OK, so clearly the "first gay president" label is a huge stretch. But kudos to Newsweek for using a provocative cover to get the country to continue to pay attention to the significance of President Obama's newly declared position on marriage equality.
Read more at the Washington Post.