HIV and gay rights activist Larry Kramer has created many controversial headlines over the years, particularly at the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1990s.
And now, at age 79, he is theoretically turning US history on its head.
In his new book, The American People (Volume 1), Kramer makes bold assertions about some of America’s most-revered leaders, including first president George Washington who he claims was basically a “big queen” and had intimate affairs with men.
Not only that but he suggests Abraham Lincoln was gay, as was his infamous assassin John Wilkes Booth.
History records that Booth murdered the president as an act of defiance after the Confederates lost the Civil War.
Not so, according to Kramer. He claims the motive behind the assassination was actually that Booth was Abe Lincoln’s spurned gay lover.
“We know that Abraham Lincoln was gay,” Kramer told CBS News in a recent interview. “Why is that not in the history books? Because all history books are written by straight people, and they don’t wanna either admit that, or they wouldn’t know how to recognise what we call ‘gaydar.’”
He also claims that Jamestown was a hotbed of gay sex.
“It’s only natural that men would sleep with each other, when there are no women around for months on end,” he explained.
The book is billed as a novel but Kramer says it’s history.
“It’s called a ‘novel’, but that’s just to keep the lawyers away from me,” he said, laughing. “I believe everything in the book is true. Everything in there happened.”
Among others Kramer “outs” are a founding father of the US and chief staff aide to Washington, Alexander Hamilton, who “was in love with George”, as well as “the most powerful gay man” in American history, J. Edgar Hoover.
Kramer’s version of history is more than just an outing of America’s most revered leaders. He said he has traced the HIV virus to its very beginnings, in a group of prehistoric monkeys in what would become the Everglades.
“This is the 35th year of this plague,” Kramer said. “Why has it been allowed to continue? Why have the government, the Congress, the president, not attended to it in the way they should?
“Why is there no cure? Why don’t I hear anything about the word ‘cure?’”
Kramer, who is HIV-positive himself, says the second volume will be just as controversial.
“You’ll hear all about the plague of AIDS in the second volume, and a lot about Ronald Reagan,” he said.
“It’s not a nice story, but it’s one that needs to be told. If I’ve been kept alive for any reason, it was to tell this story.”