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Kennedy's Gay First Friend Pt II: An Enduring Bond with Lem Billing

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A Thousand Moms Talk

A Thousand Moms Talk


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Through illness, across social lines, and against mores of the times, John F. Kennedy and Kirk LeMoyne (Lem) Billings forged a deep friendship, largely hidden from view and from history. The future and eventual president’s friendship with a gay man is documented by David Pitts, author of Jack and Lem: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship.

In part II of our interview with the author, we will look at this important story, from Camelot to Dallas. Today, a special edition of A Thousand Moms Talk. They became best friends as teenagers, bonding over shared humor and dislike of their strict prep school. Lem was a closeted gay man, devoted to and in love with his best friend, Jack didn’t discard his friend when he learned he was gay. Rather, he invited him on family vacations, sought his advice on matters of state, and even gave him his own room in the White House.