By Julissa Catalan
Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown is set to become the first openly bisexual governor in U.S. history, following Governor John Kitzhaber’s resignation amid allegations of ethics violations. Brown will be sworn in on Feb. 18.
Brown, who has been married to husband Dan Little since 1997, has openly discussed her bisexuality in past campaign. When she was elected secretary of state in 2008, she became the first bisexual to win a statewide elected office.
Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) became the first bisexual member of Congress in 2013.
New Jersey briefly had an openly gay governor in 2004, when Jim McGreevey came outafter admitting an affair with a man, but he resigned three months later.
According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, there are about 525 openly LGBT public officials in office at all levels of governmentmost of whom are Democrats, withonly about 20 percent Republicans.
“Kate Brown will make history as the first openly bisexual American to become governor, and that makes us and the entire LGBT community extremely proud,” said Victory Fund Interim Executive Director Denis Dison. “More importantly for Oregonians, she’s a dedicated, passionate and impressive public servant who’s ready for this challenge. We believe in Kate Brown and her ability to lead Oregon through this difficult moment.”
Since becoming secretary of state in 2008, Brown has presided over several LGBT milestones in Oregon, including marriage equality, which was legalized in May 2014.
In an essay for “Out and Elected in the USA,” an online compendium of the stories of LGBT public officials from 1974 to 2004, Brown had this to say about coming out:
“It wasn’t until it was written in The Oregonian newspaper that I was bisexual that I had to face the inevitable and let those around me know. Thus began my very public coming out as a bisexual.”
During a Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund event, Brown once said, “I have been receiving checks in the mail from all over the country. To have that support from the national LGBT community is really wonderful and exciting.”