By WGBH News
Dec. 2, 2011
BOSTON — Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank's announcement that he will not seek reelection has led many to reflect on his political legacy.
Sue O'Connell, publisher of the New England LGBT newspaper “Bay Windows,” lauded Frank’s work for the LGBT community. In particular, she thought he set an example because he was open about his sexual orientation but it wasn't his defining feature.
“He’s emblematic to a lot of folks, even the younger — and I mean younger, sort of newbie, elected officials who are gay or lesbian — that you can fight for gay rights and not be labeled as ‘the gay Congressman.’ That's the second or third or fourth thing about him,” she said on "The Callie Crossley Show" on Dec. 2.
O’Connell thought Frank would be best remembered instead for his strong defense of the fishing industry and his efforts to repeal the US military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy.
In 1987, Frank became the first Congressman to voluntarily come out of the closet. On Nov. 28, he told WGBH News “I do not think it would have been possible to have gotten elected to Congress… If I’d come out too much earlier.”
MORE CALLIE CROSSLEY SHOW
FRANK ON REDISTRICTING, COMING OUT AND HIS PLANS