Brian Sims Says There Are “Over a Dozen” Closeted Legislators in Pennsylvania

Many of these closeted lawmakers also supported anti-LGBTQ legislation, claims the out representative.

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.

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.”

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.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella