This past February I had an opportunity to “shadow” Representative JoCasta Zamarripa as she went about her morning at the legislature. It was a valuable experience not only because it allowed me to verify that the job was not “too big for me,” but also because it gave me an opportunity to “watch, listen, and learn” how the work of a legislator is done when it’s done well.
When State Rep. Zamarripa came out as a bisexual member of the LGBT community, it created something of a quandary for me. How to respond?
One of the reasons she decided “to be public about her bisexual orientation was because of what it might mean to other young people who are struggling with their identity,” (http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/163580696.html) while being honest and transparent with her constituents. Her doing so was not without political risk; a risk she decided to take.
Back when I decided to run for the 97th Assembly seat, it was with the proviso that always, along the way, I would both be the change I want to see and that my actions would always be such that I could look into the eyes of those who expect the most of me – most especially – myself.
My campaign was announced under the eyes of Rep. Tammy Baldwin. In a sense, I’ve been “mentored” by State Rep. Zamarripa. I am asking voters to expect honesty and transparency from their representatives; that they act on the basis of what “is right” rather than politically expedient. Given that, there is really only one response I can make: “I am a lesbian member of the LGBT community.”
I had not thought to announce my sexual orientation during the campaign, since a candidate doesn’t, for example, announce that they are straight. I had always thought that if I were asked, I would, however, let my orientation be known. However, if I am to do what “is right”; if Rep. Zamarripa’s “valor and faith” (http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/editorial/jocasta-zamarripa-s-valor-and-faith/article_facbc16e-d7e9-11e1-9d71-001a4bcf887a.html) are not to go for naught, then the only appropriate response I can make is to join her in coming out publicly. We all need to be the change we want to see.