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JFK & His Gay Best Friend

By Charlotte Robinson, November 22, 2013
With the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination we thought we’d explore whether JFK would have supported LGBT equality. Pretty quickly we discovered that his closest & dearest friend in the world for 30 years was Lem Billings who was a gay man. Their relationship was documented in a book by author David Pitts entitled “Jack & Lem” published by Avalon. In the book in what the author calls “an extraordinary friendship,” are the details about Lem having his own room in the White House & how Jackie Kennedy dealt with having a third person in her marriage & other bits of lost history that aren’t taught in any school text books. Jack & Lem met while at prep school in the 1930s & from that point on were inseparable until the day Kennedy was assassinated. Pitts worked for 2 years to persuade Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to grant him research access to documents that have been locked away for decades. Letters between the 2 friends, recorded phone calls & even an 800+ page transcription of an oral history that Lem Billings gave after the death of the president. Pitts also combed through hundreds of photographs never seen by the public, many of which he was allowed to publish in the book & he interviewed anyone & everyone he could who knew Jack & Lem so he could tell as accurately as possible the story of a president & his gay best friend. So we can most definitely conclude that if JFK has lived beyond 1963 LGBT civil rights would have been on his agenda.
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