Brian Sims to Become Pennsylvania’s First Out Gay State Lawmaker After Primary Victory

Brian Sims has won his primary in Pennsylvania and will be the state's first openly gay lawmaker, facing no Republican opposition in a heavily Democratic district.

Brian_simsThe Victory Fund reports:

Sims defeated a longtime incumbent to capture the Democratic nomination in the heavily Democratic District 182, and will face no Republican opponent this November.

“Tonight we’re celebrating a historic victory for Pennsylvania and for Brian,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, which endorsed Sims.  ”LGBT Pennsylvanians will finally have a voice in their state legislature, and what a strong and unyielding voice it will be.  We are thrilled for Brian, who ran a remarkable campaign.”

Sims, a former member of the Victory Campaign Board, is a distinguished policy attorney and civil rights advocate from Center City Philadelphia. The former Staff Counsel for Policy and Planning at the Philadelphia Bar Association, he recently stepped down as the President of the Board of Directors of Equality Pennsylvania.

In Spring 2009, Outsports first made us aware of Sims in a story they published about Sims coming out to his football team and subsequently leading them to a Division II National Championship game. He is still the only former NCAA football captain to have ever come out.

Congrats Brian!


  1. Movies on a Plane says

    Babette Josephs is a friend to us, and a longtime champion for us in an antagonistic assembly, so this is a bittersweet victory, dimples notwithstanding.

    Ironic that her re-election banner ad is still appearing at the top of these pages this morning.

    Congrats though; I wish him well and I wish him luck.

  2. UFFDA says

    I’m proud to be represented by this man and, unlike BJACK, see no reason to nonsensically diss Rick because he might approve (good god how threatened can you be?).

    Bravo for Brian, I would love to know more about the remarkable aspects of his campaign.

  3. merle says

    Oh, no, he’s not a raving drag queen sashaying down the street! He must be a traitor to the cause and does not properly express his gayness. Cue the haters and the Little K*nt.

  4. Anon says

    Congrats for sure. As a resident of Pennsylvania, I am especially pleased about his victory.

    On a disappointing note: LGBT ally and former Congressman Patrick Murphy who championed repeal of DADT in Washington was defeated in his run for Attorney General in Pennsylvania. A sad loss for the LGBT community.

  5. jack says

    I live in the 182 Pa House District and voted for Babette Josephs. Babette has been a Straight ally and champion of LGBT people and progressive causes for about 25 years. I think that the LGBT people who abandoned her for “one of our own” should be ashamed of themselves. They don’t know the meaning of the word loyalty. Sims and Josephs have the same positions on social and political issues. The main reason that Babette Josephs lost is that she is heterosexual. This sends a message to other straight allies that they shouldn’t spend their political capital on LGBT folks because if “one of their own” comes along they will drop you like a hot potato. So don’t applaud this “victory” too loudly.

  6. Caliban says

    Jack, I’m not familiar with either Joseph or Sims but your post could easily be rewritten about the racial or “identity” politics in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primaries, when African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Obama instead of Hillary Clinton despite the fact she had been a fierce advocate and ally of the black community for years.

    People want to see officials “like themselves” in public office- that’s nothing new and I see no “shame” in that unless the candidate in unqualified. And while gay people may have helped Sims get elected, if he didn’t appeal to the larger community that wouldn’t have been enough. There had to have been other reasons why Sims was able to beat the incumbent.

  7. yuninv says

    Congratulations to Representative Sims! It’s always wonderful when an accomplished person who just happens to be gay is able to achieve everything they set out to do. That’s what progress should be, and it’s awesome to see that this sort of advancement is becoming more commonplace.

  8. Rick says

    “on another sadder note, i’m going to guess rick will approve”

    Yes, I do. See a pattern in the kind of gay man who is being accepted and respected into mainstream society? The Outsports article is very revealing in that regard.

  9. Rick says

    By the way, does anyone know of any homeopathic cures for really foul-smelling gas? I’ve been having painful farts for weeks now, they almost feel as if they’re giving off too much heat, and it’s been causing me problems as I can no longer fart in public without staining my underwear. Any advice would be appreciated.

  10. Rick says

    From the article (caps are mine):

    “At 6-feet, 260 pounds, Sims didn’t fit the mold that most of the guys on the team had for gay men. In his senior year, he bench pressed 225 pounds 37 times. HE WAS A “GUY’S GUY”: NO LIMP WRIST AND NO FEATHER BOAS. “I wouldn’t call Brian your stereotypical gay man, whatever that may be.”

  11. Rick says

    And this, too:

    “By the time it happened, I was the longest-running starter on the team,” Sims said. “I had a lot of success on the football field. And I think that bought me a certain amount of leeway with this group.”

    Gregor agreed: “Had he been a scrub sitting on the bench and not really part of the team, I’m sure he would have gotten ridiculed and made fun of. I’m sure it would have been a much worse road for him had he not been a good player and the captain of the football team.”

    All of which, as you see, has caused my impostor to come out of hiding to try and divert attention from the truth that threatens him and others so deeply.

  12. Rick says

    You effeminate queens are just angry that your limp-wrists don’t get you jobs. Now that his man is elected, I may be able to finally come out one day, because people won’t associate my being a gay man with you lisping princesses.

  13. Rick says

    But the gas is a real problem. I’m 53, so my bowels sure are tired, but lately I can’t help but shart every hour or so. Sharting is the worst. As I explained previously, I’ve been using tampons to plug it up during the day, but they’ve proven ineffective so far. They soak up all my anal leakage, but they don’t do much to muffle my sharts.

  14. NullNaught says

    I am going to assume not all the above comments labeled as comming from you are. I empathize with your position, because I have mostly been laughed at when I have told people I am gay because I am not at all effeminate. I find it disconcerting to have to insist to a straight person that I am gay, against their belief. So the effeminate gay guy stereotype has been in a way a problem for me. I feel more strongly about a person’s right to self-expression. I think that attacking a man for being effeminate is a way of oppressing gay men because that is the stereotype. If you can flame, in other words (and I don’t know how), you are being more visible as a gay person than the homophobes can stand. I mean it is threatening when we engage in homosexuality, it is much more threatening when we won’t even stay in our gender roles. If I could be effeminate, I would be as a way of being as challenging to the status-quo as I can be.
    I notice when people insult eachother, they project onto eachother their worst fears. I call you a name I most fear being called, in other words. You attack other gays for being effeminate. This implies to me that deep down you feel effeminate and are embarassed by that. You don’t want anyone to know how you feel inside. So you deflect by verbally assaulting those who are unembarrassed by their being effeminate.
    Maybe if you came to terms with your own feelings, you could allow your commrades to express themselves more freely?

  15. jack says

    Babette Josephs has represented the 182 Pa House District for 27 years. She is the co-founder of the LGBT cacus and convener of the women’s cacus. She is often referred to as a feisty rabble-rouser for progressive issues such as LGBT civil rights and Women’s reproductive freedom. Of all the Pa House Districts in the Phila area that Brian Sims could have run in, he chose the 182nd which has a large gay population and defeated a staunch ally of progressive causes. Pardon me if I don’t dance on the political grave of our staunchest ally. And take note of the message it sends to other would be straight allies. Don’t spend your political capital on gay folks, they will drop you like a hot potato when one of their own wants the job.

  16. prisle says

    Ms. Joseph was a gay ally but NEVER passed anything in her time as a state Rep. Mr. Sims did not run on the gay platform rather the platform for change.

  17. jack says

    @Prisle That is not true. If you would be interested in her legislative accomplishments check out: There are 203 members of the Pa House. She is the senior most woman legislator in Pa. We have lost a champion of progressive causes.

  18. jack says

    @Jim: He hasn’t accomplished something “wonderful” unless you think it is wonderful to defeat the leading champion of LGBT and progressive causes in the Pa House of Representatives. He is a political opportunist who worked for Babette just two years ago as her campaign treasurer, then moved into the 182 Pa House district and campaigned heavily in this the most heavily gay district in Pa and defeated our leading champion of LGBT, feminist and progressive causes. I understand that an ex jock may turn you on but this Jewish grandmother was our champion.And as i keep saying, this tells other would be straight allies not to spend their political capital in support of LGBT issues because they will turn on you when one of their own wants the job.

  19. GeorgeM says

    Wow jack
    You’re really into this one. Nothing you can do about it. I’m sure both sides played by the rules. Who knows maybe he’ll be good.

  20. Janine says

    EVERYONE DON’T WORRY ABOUT JACK’s COMMENTS ON HERE! His real name is Christopher Pinto and he pulled this crap all throughout the election as well. He spent most of the election writing some pretty hateful and entirely innacuate commentaries about Mr. Sims and in the end, he was panned in the gay community for doing it. There are always going to be haters out there, it’s just helpful when they’re also liars, as Mr. Pinto is. Again, his name is Chris Pinto, not “Jack.”

    Nice try, Chris.

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