Barney Frank | Unknown photographer | Public domain | 14427
After thirty years, Barney Frank, often called the US’ most prominent gay politician, announced he does not plan to stand for re-election in 2012. Mr Frank is 71. Mr Frank came out in 1987, telling the Washington Post he had been prompted by the death of Stewart McKinney, a bisexual Republican representative.
There had been “an unfortunate debate about ‘Was he or wasn’t he? Didn’t he or did he?’ I said to myself, I don’t want that to happen to me.” Gerry Studds was the first Congressman to be publicly known to be gay; he had been forced to come out as part of a 1983 investigation into a relationship with a 17 year old congressional page. Frank was the first US Congressman to come out voluntarily.