“I can be maybe a wise elder among the lesbians.”
Happy LGBTQ+ History Month!
You didn’t think we’d celebrate without Senator Tammy Baldwin, did you?!
This is a person who has made history throughout almost every stage of her four-decade career.
Along with being the first out LGBTQ+ woman elected to the House of Representatives in 1999 (where, with Barney Frank, she co-founded the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus in 2008) and the first out LGBTQ+ person elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Baldwin was also the first woman from Wisconsin to serve in each of those roles.
And yet, when she was first elected to political office at the age of 24, Baldwin’s sexuality was not a history-making event. “I was the third gay person elected to the Dane County board,” she says on this week’s LGBTQ&A podcast. “I look back sometimes at that experience and wonder would I have had the courage to be ‘The First’, if I hadn’t have had these incredible role models who had at least paved the way for me.”
They encouraged Baldwin to be open about her queerness and gave her real, tangible examples of what an out LGBTQ+ politician looked like — a rarity in the mid-80s.
I think you’ll really enjoy hearing our conversation. We talk about her historic career, the current state of LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S., and what she’s doing to make sure the Equality Act is finally passed.
You can listen to the full interview on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Next week we’ll be back with an equally historic guest — Peter Staley, one of the leaders of ACT UP in the 80s. He is also one of the main subjects in David France’s wonderful ACT UP documentary, How to Survive a Plague.
Click here to listen to this week’s episode with Senator Tammy Baldwin.
LGBTQ&A is a weekly LGBTQ+ interview podcast hosted by Jeffrey Masters. Past guests include Pete Buttigieg, Laverne Cox, Roxane Gay, and Trixie Mattel.
New episodes come out every Tuesday.