From the Dept of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up:
It’s happened so often that it’s now a cultural cliche: the gay politician pretending to be straight. In most parts of the nation, homosexuality or bisexuality is a clear electoral liability.
Not in Center City’s 182d state House district. There, it’s a badge of honor.
Veteran Rep. Babette Josephs (D., Phila.) last Thursday accused her primary opponent, Gregg Kravitz, of pretending to be bisexual in order to pander to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender voters, a powerful bloc in the district.
“I outed him as a straight person,” Josephs said during a fund-raiser at the Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant, as some in the audience gasped or laughed, “and now he goes around telling people, quote, ‘I swing both ways.’ That’s quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy’s a gem.”
Kravitz, 29, said that he is sexually attracted to both men and women and called Josephs’ comments offensive.
“That kind of taunting is going to make it more difficult for closeted members of the LGBT community to be comfortable with themselves,” Kravitz said. “It’s damaging.”
Josephs, 70, first elected in 1984, has the endorsement of the Liberty City Democrats, the preeminent LGBT political organization in the city. A blunt-talking liberal, she worked to block passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and to add sexual orientation to the state’s hate-crimes law.
In an interview, Josephs said she stood by her comments about Kravitz. She said her opponent told her he was gay, then showed up at a campaign event with a woman who introduced herself as his girlfriend. On the trail, Kravitz has described himself as a “proud member of the LGBT community,” and he discussed his bisexual orientation while pitching Liberty City for its endorsement.
“He’s said so many things to so many different people that I am puzzled,” said Josephs, a widow. The issue is Kravitz’s credibility, she said, adding that she did not like identity politics.
“My sexuality is not a qualification for office,” Kravitz said. “I bring it up only in the context that it’s important for the LGBT community to have a seat at the legislative table.” He said that it would be good for “right-wing” lawmakers in the capital to work with an openly bisexual colleague.
Kravitz denied that he had ever talked to Josephs about his sexuality, and said he did not recall telling people that he “swings both ways.”
LOL. Is there ever a dull moment in Philadelphia politics?
And if you find that off the wall, wait til you read this:
Three bisexual men are suing a national gay-athletic organization, saying they were discriminated against during the Gay Softball World Series held in the Seattle area two years ago.
The three Bay Area men say the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance in essence deemed them not gay enough to participate in the series.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle accuses the alliance of violating Washington state laws barring discrimination. The alliance organizes the annual Gay Softball World Series.
Beth Allen, the alliance’s attorney, said the lawsuit is unwarranted and that the three plaintiffs “were not discriminated against in any unlawful manner.”
In any case, Allen said, the alliance is a private organization and, as such, can determine its membership based on its goals.
Whether the alliance is public or private will likely have to be determined in court, since the plaintiffs characterize the alliance as a “public accommodation” that’s open to the public and uses public softball fields.
The three plaintiffs — Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ — played on a team called D2 that qualified for the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, which is organized by the alliance.
The alliance’s rules say that each World Series team can have no more than two heterosexual players. According to the lawsuit, a competing team accused D2 of violating that rule.
Each of the three plaintiffs was called into a conference room in front of more than 25 people, and was asked “personal and intrusive questions” about his sexual attractions and desires, purportedly to determine if the player was heterosexual or gay, the lawsuit alleges. The alliance has no category or definition for bisexual or transgender people in its rules, the plaintiff’s attorney said.
At one point during the proceedings, the lawsuit alleges, one of the plaintiffs was told: “This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.”
The alliance ruled the three men were “nongay,” stripped D2 of its second-place finish and recommended that the three players be suspended from participating in the World Series for a year, according to the suit.
You can read the full complaint/lawsuit here.