A New Twist in Politics: Bisexual Candidate Accused of Being Straight

Last week State Rep. Babette Josephs of Philadelphia's 182nd Legislative District accused her leading political opponent, Gregg Kravitz, of faking his bisexuality. Why? Because Philadelphia's gay, lesbian, and transgender voters constitute a powerful voting bloc in the district, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Thomas Fitzgerald.

According to Fitzgerald, Josephs told a crowd, "'I outed him as a straight person,' 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, has called Josephs's 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."

In an interview with the Inquirer, Josephs said her opponent had showed up at an event with a girlfriend and that she was "puzzled" by what she described as conflicting statements by her opponent about his sexuality.

Kravitz himself has publicized Josephs's remarks, according to Talking Points Memo, and has hardly shied away from the controversy.

TPM reports that Josephs has tried to backpedal slightly from her comments, arguing that "I don’t even care anymore. A person's sexuality has nothing to do with any of this."

But it might be too late for Josephs to successfully backpedal. Kravitz has seized on what appears to be a significant political misstep, tweeting about the coverage of her comments, urging followers to read her subsequent remarks, and—although pointing to her strong record on gay-rights issues—arguing that her comments were damaging to the gay community. His campaign Web site's home page leads with Josephs's statements.

Several gay advocates, however, seemed fine with the turn of events, taking a sanguine approach to the whole affair. As Mark Segal, publisher of The Philadelphia Gay News, told the Inquirer: "We've hit a new high point when candidates are accused of pretending to be gay to win a seat."