"Washington's Gay General" is a fabulous look at the queerness of America's founding

Originally published at: "Washington's Gay General" is a fabulous look at the queerness of America's founding | Boing Boing


I remember learning about him as a kid, and always thought he was one of the more interesting (and important) people in the American Revolution. I never realized he was gay before, though.

I’m not surprised that detail wasn’t included in the elementary school textbooks I was reading about him in in the '80’s. I am somewhat surprised I’ve never heard about it since, though. I wonder if this is generally well known, or if the authors of this book uncovered some of this through new research. I guess I’ll have to read the book to find out.


A good friend of mine is a professor of American Revolutionary History. He’s written a really interesting book on “bachelors” in revolutionary times


Von Steuben’s openness about his sexuality may have been learned in the Prussian army, which was well-known for gayness at the time, following the example of their king, Frederick the Great.


His monument near my boyhood home. Cue inappropriate grade-school laughter.


Is this on the Moms for Liberty radar?

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They teach on that in this book!


that’s one thing about the story:

maybe it’s good to call him “gay” because the erasure of anyone who isn’t a cis straight white man from history is such a common thing ( hello oppenheimer movie ) - but i also like the nuance that the term - and the othering of men who have sex with men - is something modern.

would he have used that term? it’s an interesting question.

this graphic novel looks awesome. i can’t wait to check it out


Is that in Steuben County, NY? After reading the article I just had to check and verify that it was indeed named in his honor. I think most NYS counties are named after Revolutionary and War of 1812 military and political leaders. As are many, many towns, like Pulaski. And yeah, I snickered at the plaques wording. He would’ve been thrilled to know of it, I’m sure lol


Hah, my first thought on seeing the headline was that it was about Casimir Pulaski – another of Washington’s generals (and another Franklin recruit). But he wasn’t gay (as far as I know), but appears to have been intersex. See Was the Revolutionary War Hero Casimir Pulaski Intersex? | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine


An estimated 1.7 percent of the population is intersex.

So much for the “binary sex” thing. Unfortunately, the people bothered by that would probably prefer to change the facts than their opinion.


I personally like to point out that intersex people are as common as natural redheads. (There are some detractors who claim the 1.7% statistic is an overcount that “wrongly” includes certain conditions such as"cis-women" who naturally grow too much body hair, particularly on their faces. I personally think this is a fucking cop out that only serves to illustrate how bullshit binary sec definitions are to begin with.)


in a brand-new country that only existed because of immigrants

…and the stolen labor of enslaved people, and the stolen land of Indigenous people.


It is in Oneida County, where he had an estate. Located just a few miles from a town that also bears his name.

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