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Out State Rep. Brian Sims: 'I Serve with More than a Dozen Closeted' Lawmakers in Pa.

Tuesday Jul 17, 2018

Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims gave an interview with The Advocate this week in which he claimed that there are more than a dozen state lawmakers with whom he works and that several of them have backed anti-LGBTQ measures.

Sims, who became the first openly gay man to be elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature back in 2012, opened up about local politics with the magazine and what it's like to be an out lawmaker.

"I put myself in a lot of situations where I know homophobia already exists," he told The Advocate.

Just last month, Sims made headlines for sharing photos of anti-gay hate mail he's received, some of the letters threatening violence against him.

Elsewhere in the interview, Sims says "over a dozen" of his colleagues are in the closet - and that many have supported anti-LGBTQ bills:

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.

Sims also commented on the recent wave of politicians who are LGBTQ, women, and people of color.

"I think all of this is in response to the hijacking of contemporary American government by the far conservative right at the behest of large-scale anti-American corporate interests," he told The Advocate. "I know that sounds almost conspiratorial, but I don't think that we would be having this conversation ... if we hadn't had to face such an overwhelming attack on those values. 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."

Finally, Sims urged the Democratic Party to be stronger.

"Democrats are the party of women," he said. "They are the party of LGBT rights. They are the party of racial and ethnic equality. However, they were being ... the party of politics for too long, and 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."

"We're suffering not from a broken government, we're suffering from a lack of engagement in a neutral government," Sims told the magazine. "These campaigns, these blue wave campaigns around the country, are being staffed by people that are learning how to create winning campaigns. We're doing the things, right now, that we need to do to take back government."

Sims has been an outspoken lawmaker in the past. Last month he made headlines when he posted a photo of himself giving the middle finger to Vice President Mike Pence upon his arrival in Pennsylvania.

Click hereto read Sims' full interview with The Advocate.

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