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Barney Frank's legacy: leading — and living — the struggle for gay rights

Posted by Alan Wirzbicki  November 28, 2011 03:29 PM

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"What are you doing here?" cracked a familiar gruff voice.

"This is my high school," I responded with a laugh.

The questioner was Barney Frank, who attended my 20th high school reunion at Marshall High School in Milwaukee in 1993. His then-companion, Herb Moses, was in my class.

I have to give Frank and Moses credit on two accounts. One was that, despite his elite Harvard education, Frank was willing to associate with us ordinary folk in Brew Town.

The second is that — in the very year that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" began in the military, they weren't afraid to show and tell. Moses, in his reunion personal update wrote that the best moment in his life was "meeting Barney."

Frank is known for being among the first openly gay elected officials, and for helping to lead the political campaign for acceptance. That struggle was undoubtedly easier in a place like Massachusetts. But a reunion photo in a yearbook, in a more conservative part of the country, showed how subtly bold he is in living that struggle, too.

Photo provided by Derrick Z. Jackson.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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