As an out lesbian, I always figured I would be off limits. When I was a young unmarried staffer, that was not the case.
The frequency of men in and around the Capitol questioning my sexual orientation and offering themselves as my heterosexual savior, decreased once I started having children and gaining weight, thus making me undesirable. I remember then the banter turned to the desire to watch my wife and I have sex or engage in a threesome. I remember being pregnant with my third child and while working on a bill being told that my wife must be happy with how big my breasts were getting.
Rarely did I say anything. Mostly because I knew my colleagues were going through far worse with actual groping, touching, and sexual assault.
Reporting these things in the State Capitol even as a legislative employee was futile unless you had protection from leadership, which I didn’t. Those who did rock the boat found themselves out of a job when their bosses faced the end of their terms. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when my long-term boss termed out, both times, I found zero assistance from leadership in getting a new job in the Building.
I had become more vocal, and a vocal woman in that building is frowned upon. It’s not a cause. It is a system that needs to be broken and rebuilt.
I hope to see it happen. I hope to be able to help.
I hope that this is the last letter of its kind and I stand with all the women who have signed on to share their stories.