By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com July 27 2012 11:53 AM ET
Wisconsin Representative JoCasta Zamarripa told reporters this week that she's decided to come out as bisexual — doing so before her upcoming re-election bid. A Democrat (who faces one Democratic challenger in the upcoming primary election), Zamarripa is also the only Hispanic in the Wisconsin Legislature.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Zamarripa said she had always planned to come out, but hadn't had the guts to come out earlier. "It has always been my goal in office to be transparent and honest with my constituents," she told Georgia Pabst. "But before the primary in 2010, I didn't have the valor and courage to come out. I feel remiss that I didn't come out then."
Zamarripa reportedly sidestepped media queries in 2010 after her opponents insinuated she was gay by saying she didn't want to discuss her personal life. This week, however, she said she felt she needed to go public as a bi woman because of the impact it could have on LGBT youth struggling with their identity.
"It's part of my life, like being a south sider and the only Hispanic in the Legislature, and I'm happy to share it with my constituents," she said.
Zamarripa is the third LGBT legislator in Wisconsin: Senator Tim Carpenter is an openly gay Democrat, as is Mark Pocan, who is resigning his position in the Assembly in order to run for Congress. She's only the fifth elected official in U.S. history to come out as bisexual — the highest ranking of which is Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown who is second in command after Oregon's Governor.