Former Democratic Representative Gerry Studds, the first openly gay member of Congress, died Saturday at 69. His coming out was not exactly voluntary. In 1983, a 27-year-old man came forward to say that when he was a teenage congressional page, he’d had a sexual affair with Studds. When censured by the House, Studds announced on the House floor that he was a homosexual. Despite this revelation, his conservative district continued to reelect him until he retired in 1997. We mention Studds’ passing here because it’s the first time we’ve encountered a sentence like this in a newspaper obituary: “Studds died at Boston Medical Center several days after falling unconscious from a blood clot in a lung, said his husband, Dean Hara.” But we’re encouraged by it. Next up: the pronoun “she” for gays in the news?
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