In 1987, Barney Frank came out, the first member of Congress to voluntarily declare that he was gay. Rep. Frank announced this week that he would be retiring after 16 terms in office. During his tenure in Congress, Frank has been a powerful advocate for LGBT rights, championing equal workplace protections under the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). He is the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee and was instrumental in passing sweeping financial reform legislation.
“Barney Frank expanded the possibilities for LGBT people when he came out decades ago,” commented Executive Director Selisse Berry. “He has proven through his career that we can be openly gay and be elected. More than that, he has shown how effective a person can be as an out advocate for LGBT people and for all Americans. At Out & Equal, we are grateful to him for his many years of public service. It has truly made a difference in our lives.”
In 2007, Rep. Frank participated in Out & Equal’s Workplace Summit, presenting an Outie Award to Frank Kameny, a federal employee who had been fired for his sexual orientation in the 1950s.