The sun was out today, shining brightly through my windows. I pulled up the blind and sat in bed reading Walt Whitman: A Gay Life this morning. What a treat to read without the aid of artificial light.
This book isn’t as easy to read as the biography I finished earlier this month. It’s more a monograph, focused on how Walt expressed his homosexuality. Tonight, I finished the chapter about his love of opera.
While the 1980 biography by Justin Kaplan doesn’t erase this part of Walt’s life, it also never refers to Pete Doyle as his “boyfriend.” But that’s what he was.
Whitman himself preferred his own word “camerado.” There are probably other, more 19th century, words to describe Walt and Pete’s relationship. But when I read “boyfriend” in Gay Life, it felt right.