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I am a lady who loves ladies. More importantly, before I came out, I was a lady who loved First Ladies. Now I’m a lady who loves ladies AND First Ladies. Put that in your eco-friendly organic harvested green tea and steep it.
Not all of our First Ladies were filled with rainbows and sunshine. Take Julia Grant (Ulysses’ wifey), who owned slaves during the Civil War. Or consider Barbara Bush, who wrote a memoir from her dog’s perspective (that’s just weird, sorry). She’s also got some annoying immediate family. Just sayin’.
But! There’s some light in the darkness – there were some FLs who rocked the (White) house. And, after careful research, I’ve come to the conclusion that some could have joined us. Maybe some of them did, lezbehonest. This is my list of First Ladies who would have been kickass lesbians.
Abigail Adams (1744-1818): Abigail Adams was awesome. First off, she worked alongside her husband to abolish slavery, stating that she believed it was evil and a threat to the American democratic experiment. In 1791, a young black boy came to her school and asked to learn to read and write. When people made a stink, she kind of got mad and wrote to J-Ads that the boy was… “a Freeman as much as any of the young Men and merely because his Face is Black, is he to be denied instruction? How is he to be qualified to procure a livelihood? . . . I have not thought it any disgrace to myself to take him into my parlor and teach him both to read and write.” In the words of Gwen Stefani, get it girl, get it, get it girl.
She was also one of the sassy FLs who spoke about the need for women’s equality. Her beliefs lied in property rights for the ladies. She didn’t think women should just go about, submitting to their husbands and whatnot. Girl…we will take you on our team. And we’ll probably submit to you. Because you are awesome.
Nellie Taft (1861-1943): Helen “Nellie” Taft went hard basically all of her life. She met Howard Taft while bobsledding, her last act as First Lady was to plant the 3,000 Japanese cherry blossom trees at the Washington Tidal Basin, and she advocated against prohibition and threw booze parties.
Other than those really cool things, she was known for being a lady-lovin’ feminist. She believed in equal rights and was the first lady to own and drive her own car, to smoke cigarettes (I don’t do it, but it’s kind of sexy…admit it!), to lobby for safe standards in the workplace, and to support women’s suffrage.
She also took the name “Nellie” before we knew it as “Nelly,” and that’s pretty cool on my list.
Florence Harding (1860-1924): I’m not sure about ya, Flo. Sure, you did some cool stuff, like being the first First Lady to vote, to fly in an airplane, and to own a radio…but you were also the first First Lady to (allegedly) poison your husband. And that’s borderline crazy.
Florence Harding, like me at one time, was with a man who had a flaw: he was handsome but stupid. (Well, not so much the me being with a stupid man as much as me being with a man was stupid. See? Just move a few words around.) William Harding wasn’t too bright, but rumor has it that Florence wasn’t too pleased with her cheatin’ husband (who had an illegitimate child with Nan Britten) and offed him. About a week before he died, he was rushed to San Francisco with “sudden illness,” but was cured. A few days later, man down! She refused an autopsy from the doctor who was in the room at the time. A year later, Flo visited that doctor…and what do you know, he died, too.
In her defense, she was one of those “woman behind the man” sad stories, but hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, yes? I think Flo just needed some lesbian love to keep her from being a man-hating murderer, don’t you agree?
For starters, this photo is of her wrestling a lady. With a lady watching. Sometimes you’ve gotta pay for that in this day and age. (Now, in reality, I’m quite sure this is her daughter Anna, but I mean, still.)
But on a serious note, Eleanor was amazing. I seriously wish she were still alive today. Homegirl was the social media maven of her own time, writing her own daily newspaper column and monthly magazine column, plus she hosted her own radio show and held regular press conferences. She hung with the Tuskegee Airmen, people wanted her to run for office with Harry Truman, and she was an activist for the UN.
Frustratingly enough, she knew of her husband’s infidelity but was bound to the marriage by her mother-in-law and FDR’s paralysis. She did a lot of the work for him, which left her in a stronger position of power for politics. But more importantly, she met Lorena Hickok (fellow Wisconsinite! Heyo!), who was also a journalist, and the two became really close. As in Eleanor once said in a 12-page letter, “Goodnight, dear one. I want to put my arms around you and kiss you at the corner of your mouth. And in a little more than a week now — I shall!” Girl. I’m on to you. “I want to put my arms around you and kiss you at the corner of your mouth” is my new pickup line at the dog park.
Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson (1912-2007): I have to say that I chose this photo because she looks like Lady Edith Crawley, and I love me some Downton Abbey. Other than the fact that I wish all the women of Downton were of the lesbian persuasion (I’m talking you too, Lady Sybil and Gwen…but I digress).
Lady Bird would have been a great lesbian because the girl likes to garden. And everyone knows a good lesbian likes to get her knees dirty and dig in the earth (teehee).
Lady LBJ was also super wise and could give some great advice to the LGBTQ community. Even if she said these things in complete reference to something else, I’m going to pretend they fit in where I think they should – the queer community. She said things like, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope” (aww!), “Every politician should have been born an orphan and remain a bachelor” (preach!), and “No news at 4:30 am is good” (where is she to say that when you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be!?)
There you have it. Those five First Ladies would have been great lesbians. I am giving Michelle Obama honorable mention for one reason and one reason only: have you seen her arms?