Walt Whitman, the Father of Modern American Literature, was one of the first modern writers to incorporate homosexual desire into his poetry. But afraid to explicitly assert his own homosexuality, he substituted the vague phrase, "the love of comrades."

He was even secretive in his own journals, to hide the identity and gender of a significant person in his life. It's clear from his manuscripts in the Library of Congress that the pronoun "him" was erased, and "her" written over it. In addition, the name was written as 164 - a simple numerical disguise. The 16th letter of the alphabet is P, the 4th is D, revealing the name Peter Doyle.

Whitman and Doyle in fact shared a significant relationship for over twenty years, and in 1873 Doyle lived with Whitman, and attended to him daily while the poet was recovering from a stroke.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Michael Hinerman.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.