With the big movie which came out, which I saw last night at the theater (awesome by the way!), inquiring minds want to know.
Sure, the question makes complete sense if a lack of machismo means that a man is gay. After all, Fred Rogers was the opposite of macho. He showed no hint of physical brawn; his chin was weak, his muscles underdeveloped, and his face smooth.
Nor was he aggressive. He talked softly and carried no stick; his spirit was gentle and tender, patient and trustworthy, and receptive and loving. A model of male softness and sensitivity, Rogers cut a striking figure on and off television.
But wait a second: Lots of gay men are tough guys — muscular, aggressive, and downright rough. So the mere fact that Rogers was the opposite of macho really proves nothing about his sexual orientation.
The question is also reasonable if gay men prefer that their friends and social groups be gay or at least gay-friendly. After all, Fred Rogers knowingly hired gays to appear on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, even counting two of them, John Reardon and Francois Clemmons, among his closest personal friends.
Rogers also attended a Presbyterian church in Pittsburgh that remains well known for welcoming the LGBT community and supporting its full inclusion at all denominational levels.
But wait another second: Isn’t it true that some gay men don’t use sexual orientation as the major criterion when selecting their best friends, and that others even closely identify with institutions and movements that are historically and vehemently anti-gay, like the Catholic Church, conservative Protestant churches, and the Boy Scouts of America?
If this is indeed true, Rogers’ choice of friends and church also doesn’t give us any firm evidence about his sexual orientation.