Sex, “Lies,” and Audiotape in Philadephia
BY Julie Bolcer
April 23 2010 12:40 PM ET
Last Thursday, Pennsylvania state representative Babette Josephs of Philadelphia was captured on audio at a fundraiser challenging the sexuality of her Democratic primary opponent Gregg Kravitz, who is bisexual. On the recording, made by a Kravitz supporter who attended the event, the incumbent legislator suggested that Kravitz had lied about his sexuality for political advantage in the progressive 182nd district encompassing the heavily gay neighborhood of Center City.
"I outed him as a straight person," Josephs said on the recording, first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, "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."
Audience members can be heard laughing in the background, some with audible discomfort.
At another point in the recording, Josephs seems to imply that Kravitz cannot be trusted because of his bisexuality.
“There will be cheating if he can get away with it, because he already has tried to lie to people about a whole bunch of stuff, including his sexuality," says Josephs.
Josephs, 70, is a longtime supporter of gay rights, and she enjoys the endorsement of Philadelphia’s LGBT political establishment. That pedigree makes her comments kosher or treif, depending on who is asked. Either way, the “straight baiting” introduces a new twist to LGBT electoral politics, in a week when challenges to bisexual identity percolate in headlines, thanks to a discrimination lawsuit filed against a gay softball league on behalf of three bisexual players from the Bay Area.
Kravitz, a 29-year-old former stock trader, roundly denounced the remarks by Josephs in an interview with The Advocate.
“That’s completely inappropriate,” he said. “The way in which my opponent mocked me is very damaging to members of the LGBT community questioning whether to come out. It sends the message that you are subjecting yourself to ridicule, even from allies.”