The Depth of Barack Obama’s Early Relationships Through Rediscovered Letters

 The Depth of Barack Obama’s Early Relationships Through Rediscovered Letters

(Sam Greenwood)

In a recent development that reignited discussions about former President Barack Obama’s early life, a letter he allegedly wrote to an ex-girlfriend resurfaced, sparking widespread speculation regarding his sexual orientation.

This letter, initially brought to light in David Garrow’s 2017 biography “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama,” has once again captured public attention. Garrow’s exhaustive research unveiled intimate correspondences Obama shared with three former girlfriends from his youth, one of whom was Alex McNear. Obama and McNear were romantically involved during their time at Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1982.

The resurgence of interest in August 2023 was fueled by an interview Garrow gave to Tablet Mag, where he disclosed a particularly intriguing detail about one of the letters Obama wrote to McNear. According to Garrow, McNear had redacted a paragraph in one of these letters, merely indicating that it pertained to the topic of homosexuality.

The specifics of this redacted section remained undisclosed until the New York Post reported having discovered the original letter, revealing Obama’s reflections on his “androgynous” thoughts. Garrow’s meticulous investigation into Obama’s formative years also led him to uncover letters to other past lovers, which were transcribed by college professor Harvey Klehr after McNear sold them to Emory University.

Among these revelations was the fact that Obama had proposed to another woman, Sheila Miyoshi Jager, before his marriage to Michelle Obama. Jager recounted to Garrow a proposal from Obama during a visit to her parent’s home in the winter of 1986.

The letter in question, penned by Obama in 1982, delves into his contemplations on sexuality, stating, “In regard to homosexuality, I must say that I believe this is an attempt to remove oneself from the present, a refusal perhaps to perpetuate the endless farce of earthly life.” Obama goes on to describe his mental androgyny and his imaginative engagements with men, underscoring a desire to transcend traditional gender distinctions in his thoughts.

Obama’s romantic history prior to his marriage to Michelle, with whom he shares two daughters, Malia and Sasha, and became the first Black presidential couple in the United States, is a tapestry of significant relationships. Following his relationship with McNear, Obama dated Genevieve Cook, whom David Maraniss, in his book “Barack Obama: The Story,” describes as Obama’s first serious love.

As reported by Nicki Swift, Sheila Miyoshi Jager, portrayed as Obama’s most profound love before Michelle, also plays a pivotal role in Obama’s narrative of personal relationships. In his memoir “Dreams from My Father,” Obama reflects on his relationship with Jager as “warm and hidden.” The rediscovery of Obama’s letter and the ensuing discussions highlight the complex and multifaceted nature of his early personal life, providing deeper insights into the experiences and reflections that shaped the 44th President of the United States.

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