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Barney Frank on How LGBT People 'Beat the Prejudice' and Changed Hearts By Coming Out: VIDEO

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Former Democratic Rep. Barney Frank appeared on Sunday's episode of Meet The Press and gave his viewpoint on changing attitudes toward LGBT people and Congress. Rep. Frank reasoned that the increasing visibility of LGBT people in everyday culture is because of LGBT people's refusal to stay in the closet, which is helping erase stereotypes and change perceptions.

As for Americans' views on Congress, Rep. Frank told host Chuck Todd that the anger directed toward Congress stems from peoples’ shattered beliefs in a system they truly believed to work.

Watch Rep. Frank elaborate on the two topics, along with how his fellow representatives reacted to his marriage to husband James Ready, AFTER THE JUMP

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Barney Frank on Using Humor as a Political Weapon: VIDEO

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Barney Frank, who is no stranger to using barbed comedy to get his point across, shares his philosophy on the therapeutic and polemic power of humor.

We've also included some of Frank's more memorable televised moments in ridicule for your viewing pleasure.

Check em out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously in the series: "Barney Frank Explains Why Marijuana Legalization Will Follow In Gay Marraige's Footsteps"

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Barney Frank Praises Tim Cook for Announcing He's Gay: VIDEO

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In an appearance on CNBC this morning following the news that Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay, former Rep. Barney Frank (who also served as chair of the House Financial Services Committee) said he's "grateful" that Cook came out of the closet and explained that legal equality for LGBT people has only come about because people have been open about who they are and told friends, relatives, co-workers, etc.

Frank said the announcement would have wide implications:

"When the man who has been the leader for several years with great success of one of the most important and successful businesses in America, says, 'Oh by the way, you know those people about whom you have these negative feelings, well I'm one of them.' That does such an enormous amount to diminish the negative feelings."

Frank said that Cook was smart to not come out right away when he took over at Apple because it would have clouded perceptions about his performance. Now, of course, with the company's stock near all-time highs, it's very good timing, Frank added:

"Now, it's just indisputable that his sexual-orientation is important to him personally — but that's it's a wholly irrelevant factor economically, and I do believe that will encourage some other people to [come out]."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Barney Frank Criticizes HRC President Chad Griffin's Apology to the Trans Community for ENDA 2007

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In an interview with The GA Voice, Barney Frank sounds off on Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin's recent apology to the transgender community for HRC's endorsement of a stripped down version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act back in 2007 that did not provide gender identity protections alongside sexual orientation.

That bill, introduced by Frank, passed the House 235-184 but was never voted on in the Senate. 

Said Frank:

Chad Griffin’s one of those people whose political judgment seems to be off. The fact is that HRC and I and everybody else were for an inclusive bill in 2007. The issue was we did not have the votes for an inclusive bill. It wasn’t a failure of will. Then the question was, was something better than nothing? Was it better to pass a bill that was protective of lesbian, gay and bisexual people or pass nothing? We tried very hard.

JohnsonPeople have this mistaken view of the civil rights movement and say, ‘Well the black people never compromised, they got the whole thing.’ That is just silly nonsense. The first civil rights bill that was passed in ’57 was fairly moderate but it had some good things, and then one passed in ’60, and then one passed in ’64. People are now saying, ‘Well we don’t want ENDA to be just about employment, we want it cover housing, etc.” Well that national federal civil rights bill that Lyndon Johnson signed in 1964 that we’re all celebrating today didn’t include housing! Housing didn’t come until a separate bill was passed after Martin Luther King was murdered in 1968. The notion that you can win your entire victory at once is historically and politically flawed.

The transgender community had this mistaken view that if Nancy Pelosi waved a magic wand, transgender would be included. And we were insisting to them that, look we don’t have the votes, help us lobby. Instead of trying to put pressure on the people who were against them, they thought they could just insist that we do it. We said, ‘We’re trying, but we need your help.’

Frank goes on in the interview to discuss how the topic of trans rights has come a long way in the seven years since then, as well as reveal what he misses most about being a congressman - the friendships and the ability to influence policy. 

Check out the full interview HERE


Barney Frank: Don't Vote For Gay Republican Congressional Candidate Richard Tisei

Former Rep. Barney Frank has weighed in on one of 2014's tightest congressional races, that of his state Massachusetts' sixth district. 

1019_tierney-tisei-620x456It's a headline grabber — incumbent Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) versus Republican challenger Richard Tisei. While Rep. Tierney has been a staunch advocate of LGBT rights, Tisei may be poised to snatch votes from him. Rep. Tierney is staight, and Tisei is openly gay. If elected, Tisei would be the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress.

If this story sounds familiar to you, you're not wrong. Two years ago, the same two candidates were squaring off in the same district. That time around, the race wrapped up tight — Tierney's 48% to Tisei's 47. 

This year, things could shake out differently. In February, Tisei was endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, leading to a bump in his polling data.

Wednesday evening, former Rep. Frank assembled a group of LGBT donors on Capitol Hill to discuss the congressional race and voice support for the incumbent Tierney.

6a00d8341c730253ef017d3e260216970c-250wiWhile the donors acknowledge allure in the idea that a gay Republican who could shake up the party, many suggest that this is not realistic — that it's more important to reduce the influence of Republican leader and LGBT rights opponent Rep John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Former Rep. Frank expands on the core reasons to not elect Tisei:

"I do believe it is very important to support gay and lesbian candidates. But the notion that we will tell an incumbent who has been absolutely perfect on gay, lesbian, bisexual [and] transgender issues — absolutely perfect — that perfection will do no good because he has sex with the wrong person, [that] is the antithesis of what we should be fighting for."

Concise and whip-smart as ever, but that's Barney Frank for you.

Frank's sentiment is echoed by the incumbent Rep. Tierney. While he would like to have more pro-gay Republcans in Congress, Tierney points out that electing them in the current political climate would have little effect.

"[Pro-gay Republicans aren't] allowed to even vote on the matter [of LGBT rights]. They don't get an opportunity. So you need to change the majority to have the matter brought up," he said. "We have currently a Congress that is going nowhere, slowly, under John Boehner."

[h/t HuffPo]


Barney Frank Discusses Political Cynicism, Gay Acceptance And The Macarena With Seth Meyers: VIDEO

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Former Rep. Barney Frank spoke with late night talk show host Seth Meyers about Frank's reaction to the new documentary on his life. Frank did not share the offense he took at the film's portrayal of him. Instead he lamented the film's attitude towards politics:

"There’s an excessive degree of cynicism about politics which is unfortunately a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because people will say, 'They’re all bums, I’m not voting.' Well the bums wish you wouldn’t vote, because they’re all fine. They’re all set."

Frank also said he hopes the documentary is the anti-House of Cards, a show he considers both wrong and misleading. He additionally mentioned his pleasure at the film's depiction of gay life, especially considering society's increasing acceptance of gay people and same-sex marriage:

“By the time I retired, there was still a disparity between the popularity of being gay and the popularity of being a politician. But it had flipped and my marriage had polled better than my service as a committee chairman.”

Turns out that he also struggled with being left-handed as a child and that he also forbade line dancing and the Macarena at his wedding.

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP...

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