In a recent interview with The Advocate, gay Pennsylvania lawmaker Brian Sims spoke candidly about homophobia in politics, LGBTQ candidates running for office, and Democrats taking back the political party.
Sims, who made history when he became the first openly gay man elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature in 2012, told the magazine that he puts himself in “a lot of situations where I know homophobia already exists.” That apparently includes his current job. According to Sims, “over a dozen” of his colleagues are in the closet:
I serve with over a dozen closeted members, whom I would never identify to anybody else, and when I joined the legislature, many of them were co-sponsors of anti-LGBT bills. Some of the most intense misogyny I see towards women comes from gay men. Whereas I would think that living a life where others marginalize you would teach you how to combat marginalization and how to recognize it, oftentimes, it teaches people how to be good at it themselves.
Today is #InternationalKissingDay and in celebration I urge you to kiss a loved one and let them know they matter to you. Love and affection are among our greatest tools in the battles against discrimination and bigotry. So kiss your special someone and PLEASE share it! #KissBomb pic.twitter.com/H7BVv9T1WJ
— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) July 6, 2018
In response to the recent wave of LGBTQ politicians running for office, Sims says that the “far conservative right” is the reason why: “I think we would have continued to kind of putz along at way too slow a rate of change, and instead the extreme anti-American-values right has, I think, pushed a whole bunch of people into action.”
He called upon Democratic voters to mobilize and play an active role making the party more inclusive.
“Where I’ve seen the Democratic Party get better is when they were pushed there and pulled there by young people, by Black Lives Matter, by Latino Victory, by the Victory Fund, by HRC,” he said. “We’re suffering not from a broken government; we’re suffering from a lack of engagement in a neutral government. We’re doing the things, right now, that we need to do to take back government.”
OFFICIAL WELCOME: @MikePenceVP let me be the first to officially welcome you to the City of Brotherly Love and to my District! We’re a City of soaring diversity. We believe in the power of all people: Black, Brown, Queer, Trans, Atheist, & Immigrant. So…get bent, then get out! pic.twitter.com/G9eLrXgeVn
— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) June 19, 2018
Sims has never been one to shy away from making a statement. In April 2017, he completely shut down a homophobic Facebook troll by calling his grandmother. And in June, he “welcomed” Vice President Mike Pence to town by flipping him off on social media.