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Newly Released Tapes: Nixon Says Homosexuals Are “Born That Way”

It seems that Lady Gaga and Richard Nixon have more in common than was previously thought. Historians Douglas Brinkley (most famously Hunter S. Thompson’s biographer and steward of his literary archives) and Luke A. Nichter have pored over 3,700 hours of recordings from President Richard M. Nixon’s first term in office. The results will be published in a forthcoming book, highlighted by Vanity Fair where Brinkley is a contributing editor.

The tapes, which “were muffled and, at times, indecipherable” were restored and now we are able to hear conversations with President Nixon and his innermost circle that previously were thought lost.

What does this have to do with Lady Gaga? Well, nothing really, except that the title of her second album Born This Way, which many saw as a statement of support of the LBGTQ community mirrors President Nixon’s own thoughts on the subject.

From the transcript via Vanity Fair:

Nixon: Let me say something before we get off the gay thing. I don’t want my views misunderstood. I am the most tolerant person on that of anybody in this shop. They have a problem. They’re born that way. You know that. That’s all. I think they are. Anyway, my point is, though, when I say they’re born that way, the tendency is there. [But] my point is that Boy Scout leaders, YMCA leaders, and others bring them in that direction, and teachers. And if you look over the history of societies, you will find, of course, that some of the highly intelligent people . . . Oscar Wilde, Aristotle, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, were all homosexuals. Nero, of course, was, in a public way, in with a boy in Rome.
Haldeman: There’s a whole bunch of Roman emperors. . . .
Nixon: But the point is, look at that, once a society moves in that direction, the vitality goes out of that society. Now, isn’t that right, Henry?
Kissinger: Well—

Nixon: Do you see any other change, anywhere where it doesn’t fit?
Kissinger: That’s certainly been the case in antiquity. The Romans were notorious—
Haldeman: The Greeks.
Kissinger: —homosexuals. . . .
Nixon: The Greeks. And they had plenty of it. . . . By God, I am not going to have a situation where we pass along a law indicating, “Well, now, kids, just go out and be gay.” They can do it. Just leave them alone. That’s a lifestyle I don’t want to touch. . . .
Kissinger: It’s one thing for people to, you know, like some people we know, who would do it discreetly, but to make that a national policy . . .

Image via Wikicommons

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.