Kyrsten Sinema: The bisexual social worker who went to Congress
For the upcoming Bisexual Visibility Day, we thought we’d go look up the rather colorful life of US Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.
Sinema is touted as the first out bisexual congresswoman. Yet, Sinema, while a Democrat, has settled into a more bipartisan position.
Likewise, you’ll rarely catch the 40-year old legislator in drab-colored clothing, making her one of the best-dressed politicians.
But that’s not to say that she doesn’t have awesome achievements: she won her seat in Congress for her exemplary social work.
Kyrsten Sinema: Living in a gas station
A native of Arizona, Sinema’s father was a lawyer and her mother was a housewife. When her parents divorced, her mother remarried a school teacher and they moved to the Florida Panhandle.
When her stepfather lost his job, they had to live in an abandoned gas station.
“We didn’t have electricity. My stepdad built a bunk bed for me and my sister. We separated our bunk bed from the kitchen with one of those big chalkboards on rollers,” Sinema told Elle.
“I knew that was weird. A chalkboard shouldn’t be a wall. A kitchen should have running water. We didn’t have a toilet,” she explained.
After two years, they moved into a real home when her stepfather got another job. Through a scholarship and a Pell Grant, Sinema studied social work at Brigham Young University.
She got a master’s degree on social work at the Arizona State University and then a job as a social worker in a poor elementary school in Phoenix.
While there, she turned an old girl’s locker room into a family resource center.
Kyrsten Sinema in the world of politics
She decided to first run for office when the school’s budget was set to be cut. However, she said: “I was scared I wasn’t knowledgeable enough.”
But she added that once she started talking to legislators, “I realized I was way overeducated. I had the skill level. And I realized there weren’t people like me inside the building. At that moment, I decided to run for office.”
Running as an independent, she lost the election. On her second try, she became the Democrat’s candidate and at 28, became Arizona’s youngest lawmaker.
The country became interested in her when she appealed to heterosexuals that banning gay marriage would trim down the rights of all unmarried couples.
Though the move angered the LGBT community, it helped get a victory for the ballot initiative for same-sex marriage.
Kyrsten Sinema: “Duh, I’m bisexual.”
Not exactly in the closet, Sinema’s first official LGBT comment was when a Republican colleague made a speech against the community.
“We’re simply people like everyone else who want and deserve respect,” she declared.
When the press later asked about it, she answered, “Duh, I’m bisexual.”
Unmarried, Sinema never answers questions about her personal life, especially her bisexuality. However, she’s made it a point to let everyone know that she’s on our side.