In the professional world, you’ve got to get used to some harsh scrutiny from your peers, especially in the world of American #politics. The political arena can be quite combative and cruel, and it takes a special person (some would say a liar) to argue on behalf of millions of constituents. I would say that it takes a strong-willed individual, someone who really knows how to get shit done in the name of their party and their people, to successfully carry out the duties of a member of Congress. The scrutiny that follows a politician is often worse for an out member of the #LGBTQ community. As we all know, one’s sexual orientation is often used as a weapon against them, but these people are proud of whom they are. Let’s talk gay politics.
Congressman #Barney Frank of Massachusetts’ 4th district was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1980. In 1987, he became the first US politician to come out voluntarily. Representative Barney Frank has been one of the most well-known, most outspoken supporters for gay rights. He co-sponsored the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which would allow any LGBTQ federal employee to give his or her unrecognized same-sex partners health insurance, life insurance, government pensions, and many other benefits that married, straight, federal employees receive. He was also rated 100% by the Human Rights Campaign, which ranked his political stance as “pro-gay.” Oh, and he’s also the very first sitting politician to marry his same-sex partner. Isn’t that something?
Michael #Huffington is a former Republican Congressman in the House of Representatives from California’s 22nd district. Though he didn’t accomplish a whole lot for the LGBTQ community during his one term in office, he’s made a difference in the community elsewhere. Michael Huffington identifies as bisexual and is an activist for issues surrounding bisexual people. In 2005, Huffington helped to start a summer fellowship program for LGBTQ students at Stanford. He also co-chaired the #Log Cabin Republicans, a group of Republicans who advocate for LGBTQ rights within their own party. It’s also pretty interesting that he was married to media goddess Arianna Huffington.
Perhaps the most well-known, influential gay politician in American history is #Harvey Milk. Although not elected to national office, he was the first openly gay person elected to public office in California. He was a City Supervisor from San Francisco’s 5thdistrict. He had a fairly short career that was quickly ended by his assassination in 1978, but to me it certainly had a huge impact. Milk was responsible for a lot of the changes in conservative San Francisco politics such as an ordinance that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation, which really signified the shift in San Francisco politics. Harvey Milk is often credited for being one of the driving forces behind making San Francisco one of the most liberal cities in the United States.
There are so many LGBTQ politicians who often go unrecognized, and I think it’s important that we all pay attention to them. At a time when gay rights is such a hot topic, everyone should show their support to the people who are fighting for them. In order to make a difference, you have to want change, and I don’t think anyone wants change more than these people who lead our community and our country.