For Barney Frank, Roland’s Is a Symbol of Bipartisanship
Ex-congressman recalls a conversation in the popular convenience store
Roland’s of Capitol Hill, the convenience store on the corner of 4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, has a special place in former Rep. Barney Frank’s heart.
“At 10 o’clock at night, go see them buy milk for the morning — members of Congress in Roland’s,” the Massachusetts Democrat said Monday while recording an episode of WAMU’s “The Dinner Party Download .”
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In 1987, Frank came out publicly as gay and he recalled Republican senators — Warren Rudman of New Hampshire and Alan Simpson of Wyoming as being “very supportive at the time.”
A few days after coming out, Frank went into Roland’s one night after work.
He recalled feeling vulnerable at the time.
“You feel pretty exposed, like you walk around and [people could think] ‘Oh, I wonder what he did last night,’” he said. “You don’t want to expose your sexuality but there is no option.”
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Frank said Rudman, a moderate Republican who served in the Senate from 1980 to 1993, spotted him shopping and waited for him at the front door.
As Frank was leaving, Rudman said, “Barney, I’m proud of you.”
“I do feel very partisan today because of the state of the Republican Party , but I had a very bipartisan career for much of it,” Frank said.
The episode will air on June 17.
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