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Barney Frank Discusses Life as an Out Congressman in a 'Washington Post' Exit Interview: VIDEO


The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe sits down with retiring Congressman Barney Frank to talk about his coming out and life in the public eye for an out gay lawmaker:

Frank said he’s never counseled another lawmaker about coming out, just a few state legislators. They should publicly disclose their homosexuality, if they are ready, he said, “because your ability to live as an integrated human person is more important than anything.”

“Do it if you feel that strongly, forgetting about the political consequences,” Frank said. “Once you do, then your job is once you’re out, if there are people who are deeply prejudiced against you because of who you are, forget them, you can’t waste your time on them.”

Gay politicians also need to avoid being pigeonholed as single-issue candidates only concerned with gay issues, Frank said — suggesting that gay candidates should go so far as to avoid meeting with or campaigning alongside gay rights groups.

“If I can’t take gay and lesbian people for granted, I can’t win,” he said.

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I'm a Democrat. I find it very hypocritical of Barney to be so talkative now about gay issues when he was in the closet for DECADES and even just a few months before "Don't ask Don't Tell" was repealed Barney was telling gays not to push for gay rights such as the repeal of DADT and gay marriage because he said the "time is not right". Barney has held us back ! He has been SO weak for all those years when he should have been pushing for our rights. Instead he was content to sit back and take a fat pay check for doing nothing.

    We have Nancy Pelosi to thank for the most gay rights progress in recent years. She was the one who would not let the repeal of DADT disappear even when the Democrats including Barney and President Obama were happy to let the subject drop.

    I am not sad to see Barney retire. He is part of the old generation of talk much but do nothing. ACTIONS speak louder than WORDS. Barney was always weak and self absorbed.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Dec 3, 2012 7:54:32 PM

  2. Icebloo, who are you? I dare to sign thos invidious comments with your real name

    Posted by: Fausto Fernandez | Dec 3, 2012 9:32:21 PM

  3. Icebloo, hindsight finds Barney's strategy as follows: Survive political office first before going into battle with an issue. What good is your honesty and good intentions if you can't hold on to the very weapon you need to win that battle? This is the very nature of politics, and Barney worked it and came out with flying colors.

    Posted by: Manny Espinola | Dec 3, 2012 10:33:45 PM

  4. Barney Frank is considered by many who cover Washington to be the brightest guy in Congress. He has been an active and accomplished member of the House for a few decades. Congratulations for a job well done, Mr Frank!

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 4, 2012 3:01:49 AM

  5. What MANNY said. Many baby posters here act as if they don't understand how the world works. Often you have to stay in the closet of all kinds of things until you get to the top in order to work any progressive agenda. Politics!

    When you're wooing someone you don't tell them you snore...for heaven's sake.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Dec 4, 2012 7:37:58 AM

  6. I dont understand why barney is held up as some kind of hero for comibg out. He did not come out by choice. He was dragged out by a sex scsnfal when a trick he had living in his
    House was busted for prostitution. Isnt that how he really came out? Barney did some good things but the last decade or so he came off as a blustering blowhard more often than not. Full of himself. The time was not right to fight for our rights cause barney said so? I hope he enjoys his retirement. He earned it but it is time for a new generation of leaders to step up. It's a sad day when a man dies too young, It's sadder still when he outlives his usefulness.

    Posted by: Dave | Dec 4, 2012 9:09:25 AM

  7. I have been a gay activist for 40+ years. The idea that all of our out politicians need to be "above suspicion," or perfect is absurd. The baby boomer generation of out LGBT people were the first to come out in large numbers. This group of hero's and pioneers created a new generation of LGBT people who were emotionally whole and who were determined to have the same opportunities as other people. The successes that we achieved enabled and empowered the generations that have followed. I suggest the appropriate responses be thankfulness and appreciation instead of bile and contempt.

    Posted by: Arthur | Dec 4, 2012 10:59:42 AM

  8. OMFG I despise this man. I really do. And if I hear one more time about how smart and bright he is, I'm gonna projectile vomit. He's a very flawed human being and doesn't walk on water. And his intelligence is consistently over-rated.

    Someone should ask him about his time as chief of staff to a very corrupt Boston mayor.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 4, 2012 1:30:22 PM

  9. Ratbastard,do you realize that Dodd-Frank is in place to keep credit card companies from screwing you blind? You must be a masochist, among other things...

    Posted by: ty | Dec 4, 2012 2:46:14 PM

  10. Hey Ratbastard: I don't give a flying f*ck who you despise. Most of the people who cover the U. S. Congress say Barney Frank is the smartest guy in Congress. NOW GO PUKE!

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 4, 2012 5:10:19 PM

  11. What we need is a good documentary on PBS about his career, warts and all.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 4, 2012 5:28:50 PM

  12. Considering Barney Frank's long history of opposing a trans-inclusive EDNA, I'm disturbed by his comments that gay politicians shouldn't meet with gay rights activists. His whole message here seems rather hypocritical because he tells politicians to come out and not worry about what others think of you but then he says you should worry about others think of you by pressing so much on gay rights.

    Posted by: Brooks | Dec 4, 2012 11:19:49 PM

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