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May 30: Barney Frank Comes Out

Lawrence Bush
May 30, 2010

barney-frank_1House Representative Barney Frank came out as a gay man to the Boston Globe on this date in 1987, during his fourth term in Congress. Frank is chair of the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the securities, insurance, banking and housing industries. A member of Congress since 1981, he has been an opponent of NAFTA and other “globalization” bills and a strong supporter of reproductive rights, gay and lesbian rights, large cuts to the military budget, saving families from mortgage foreclosures, humane immigration policies, medical marijuana, and numerous liberal causes. Frank was active in voter registration in Mississippi during the civil rights movement and worked as an organizer for Allard Lowenstein, an early leader of the student movement. Regarding attacks from the right for his “radical gay agenda,” Frank has said, “I do not think an self-respecting radical in history would have considered advocating people’s rights to get married, join the Army, and earn a living as a terribly inspiring revolutionary platform.”
“I’m used to being in the minority. I’m a left-handed gay Jew.” —Barney Frank

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.