Thursday, April 19, 2012

In the Room with Barney Frank

A fascinating interview with retiring Democratic Rep. Barney Frank (MA). My favorite part is when he talks about him telling House Speaker Rep. Tip O'Neill (D-MA) that he was planning on coming out publicly.
Robert Bauman had written a book in which he outed me. He incorrectly referred to somebody as my boyfriend—he wasn’t; he was a close personal friend—but he referred to me as gay. The press didn’t pick it up, but I thought, I’d better tell Tip. So I went to Tip. We were sitting on the floor, it was a bad day, we were losing the vote on the Contras, and I sat next to him. I said, “Tip, I’ve got to tell you something. Bob Bauman is coming out with a book that says I’m gay.”

“Awww, Bahney, don’t listen to that shit. You know they say these things about people.” I said, “Well, Tip, the point is it’s true.” He said, “Oh, Bahney, I’m so sad.” That’s when he told me he thought I was going to be the first Jewish speaker. He acted as if it was the end. But he was wonderfully supportive.

The final part of the story was when he told Chris Matthews, “We better get ready to talk to the press. They tell me Bahney Frank is going to come out of the room.” Matthews said, “What?” Finally he figured out Tip meant “come out of the closet.”

The whole thing is fascinating. Give it a read.

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