LGBT+ activists are concerned that the resignation of bisexual democratic congresswoman Katie Hill may deter women and LGBT+ people from running for office.
Hill became California’s first openly bisexual person to be elected to congress in the 2018 midterm elections by unseating an anti-LGBT+ Republican.
On Monday, October 28, she announced her resignation from the US House of Representatives following allegations she had an affair with a male congressional staffer, which would be a violation of congressional rules on personal relationships.
On Thursday, October 31, Hill gave a speech in which she addressed the issue before she officially leaves her post, and said: “Today I ask you all to stand with me and commit to creating a future where this no longer happens to women and girls.
“Yes, I’m stepping down, but I refuse to let this experience scare off other women who dare to take risks, who dare to step into this light, who dare to be powerful.”
Katie Hill has reportedly hired a revenge porn lawyer.
She denies the allegations, which she said were part of a targeted campaign by her “abusive” husband. The claims were first published by conservative blog RedState, which also published nude photos of Hill. According to the New York Post, Hill has now hired an attorney who has worked on revenge porn cases.
She did admit to and apologise for a relationship with a female campaign staffer before she was elected to the House of Representatives. Although Hill agreed the relationship was “inappropriate”, it did not come under congressional rules as happened before she was elected.
he added in her speech: “I’m leaving because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalised on my sexuality, and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching.”
Elliot Imse of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which works to recruit, train and elect out public officials, told ABC that Hill’s experience “will give further pause to up and coming LGBTQ and women leaders”.
He added: “Many young people considering running for office are going to be hesitant to take this leap if these types of attacks are normalised.”
Hill added: “The way to overcome this setback is for women to keep showing up, to keep running for office, to keep stepping up as leaders, because the more we show up, the less power they have.”