Allan H. Spear, a former Minnesota state senator who was one of the nation’s first openly gay legislators, has died. He was 71. He died Saturday of complications after heart surgery performed Thursday, said Don Jorovsky, a longtime friend who used to work for Spear. Spear, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party — Minnesota’s version of the Democratic Party — was first elected in 1972 and was state Senate president from 1993 to 2000, when he retired.” [AP]

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One Comment

  • Michael Bedwell

    One always hoped that, before he died, national gay organizations and gay “historians” would atone for their unpardonable sin and shame of quickly forgetting Spear many years ago. Even GLAAD leaves him out of their timeline of elected out officials. His place in history was quickly trampled over by the legend of Harvey Milk, and countless accounts still misidentify and mythologize Milk as the first out elected official in the US [or first male]. Harvey’s actual accomplisments were enough that rewriting history isn’t necessary.

    He was actually fourth, after Spear who came out in 1974, during his first term as a Minnesota state senator, and was reelected in 1976, with 16 more percentage points than in his first election. Milk wasn’t elected San Francisco supervisor until the next year. Perhaps Spear’s obits will wake the makers of “Milk” up and they will correct their factually wrong publicity about the subject of their film.

    For the record:

    1. Kathy Kozachenko, out when elected to Ann Arbor city council in early 1974.
    2. Elaine Noble, out when elected to Massachusetts state legislature in November 1974. She helped convince Barney Frank to first run for office [tho he was still publicly closeted then.]
    3. Allan Spear, out when reelected to the MN senate in 1976.
    4. Harvey Milk, elected SF supervisor in 1977.

    Here’s to all the forgotten ones!

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