I was recently offended by a Huffington Post article that called Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema “not gay enough.”
I’m not going to link the article here, because I don’t believe in spreading garbage around. It’s actually what I think is wrong with the nation. If you want to read it, you can search for it and find it yourself. But let me tell you now, it’s bullshit.
To call the Congresswoman “not gay enough” is just wrong.
Let me be clear: Congresswoman Sinema is a personal friend of mine. She’s a friend not because she’s an elected official but because she has been there for me in some of the most important, gay, times in my life.
I first met the Congresswoman when I was still in high school. I ditched school for a day, and met her at an Equality Arizona lobbying day. The day was meant for us LGBT community members to go and meet with our politicians. That is, those who would meet with us. But instead of hiding in her office like most of the local legislature did that day, the Congresswoman came out and met with us. I was sixteen years old, and from that moment she became a hero of mine. I spoke to her, at length, and was more than thrilled to know that here – in Arizona – we had an openly bisexual women fighting on my behalf. She gave me hope that I could someday run for office, or really do anything I put my mind to. Every sixteen year old LGBT member needs a role model. I was blessed to have Sinema as mine.
I met her again the following year at the same Equality Arizona event. The year was 2005, and I had ditched a day school again to go. But this time, my step mother called me in sick. Sinema spoke to our small group about the likelihood that a so-called marriage amendment would be coming to Arizona, and that she was now the co-chair of a group called “Arizona Together.” She spoke of coalition she was building to fight the so-called marriage amendment.
When I went to college in 2006, I almost went to Northern Arizona State University. I liked the campus, and they had a degree I was particularly interested in. But then I started thinking about politics, and the reality was, I wanted to be as involved as I could to fight the so-called marriage amendment that was now a reality Arizona would be facing. So I went to Arizona State University, because being centrally located meant I could work non-stop to fight that ballot issue. I joined the Human Rights Campaign at ASU and quickly got involved. I was fortunate enough to work closely with Sinema on this issue, and was more than thrilled when Arizona became the first state to vote down that amendment. My role-model had proved herself yet again to me.
In 2008, Arizona Together, Sinema, myself, and a huge group of people worked to try to defeat another so-called marriage amendment. We weren’t successful, but Sinema had once again spent hours of her own time and her own money to try to fight that issue. An issue that meant something personally to her. I mean, who else do you know who opened up her house to be the campaign headquarters on that issue? Sinema did. The campaign manager’s office was in Sinema’s guest room.
In 2010, I needed legal help in filing a restraining order against my abusive boyfriend. I was ashamed, and pretty much heart-broken, unsure of what to do, if anything. Who did I reach out to? Sinema. She connected me with the right resources so I could make sure that I could protect myself as a survivor of domestic violence.
I remained close to Sinema over the years. And in 2012, when I heard that she was running for Congress, this blog endorsed her. From day one. We endorsed her because we know that she is not only a strong politician, who will fight for whats right, but one who will work with her political enemies to get things done.
In late 2012, I was living in Virginia, and not really doing anything political. It was October, and I was more or less bored. And disappointed that I hadn’t really done anything political. That wasn’t my style. And it was Sinema again, who convinced me to move back to Arizona and get her elected to Congress.
I was back in Arizona for less than a two hours before I was in a campaign office, figuring out what I could be doing to help get her elected. I stayed in that office my first night back until about midnight. Simply, I moved back because when your childhood gay role-model needs your help, you drop what you’re doing and you help.
To call Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema “not gay enough” illustrates that the writer of that Huffington Post editorial not only doesn’t understand Arizona politics, but they don’t understand Kyrsten. Because to me, a guy who is most certainly gay, Congresswoman Sinema is more than gay-enough; and frankly she is more than just gay.