Retiring Massachusetts Rep. Barney
Frank wishes he could have come out gay before 1987.
In an exit interview with PBS
Newshour, Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress and the
first to enter a marriage with a member of the same sex, listed his
support for gay rights among his chief accomplishments.
“I am very proud of the role I played
in getting legal equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender, and in helping get rid of the prejudice by being
visible about it …,” Frank said.
When asked whether he regrets not
coming out until 1987 amid allegations from Stephen Gobie that he ran
a prostitution ring out of Frank's basement apartment with his
knowledge and approval, Frank answered “no.” (The House cleared
Frank of Gobie's claims.)
“No, I wish I could have come out
earlier. I don't think it would have been possible,” Frank said.
“Look, I regret that, while the time
I was closeted, I behaved irresponsibly and got hooked up with a
hustler and made myself vulnerable to a guy who turned out to be a
shakedown artist, and got scammed by him into thinking that there was
something personal there. That wasn't part of my governmental
“I came out in '87. I now think, if
I had come out a couple of years earlier, it would have been better.
There was a problem there, because my colleague Gerry Studds was
brought out in '83. And we represented adjoining districts in
Bristol County, Massachusetts. The notion that there would only be
two gay members of national parliaments in the world, and they would
represent adjoining districts, people would have been checking the
water.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)