Sexual Politics in Center City

Babette Josephs says her opponent's straight. He insists he's bi. What world are we living in?

If revealing a candidate’s homosexuality is called outing, what’s the term for leaking a candidate’s heterosexuality?


We’re not talking baseball here, Phillies fans, although this case does involve a switch hitter.

The battery: Babette Josephs, veteran state rep from Center City’s tres gay 182nd state House district; and Gregg Kravitz, her opponent in the May 18 Democratic primary. It is unclear who is pitching and who is catching. [SIGNUP]

In an episode destined to be enshrined in Philly’s Political Hall of Fame, Josephs recently accused Kravitz of pretending to be bisexual in order to suck up to the district’s powerful gay voting bloc.

L’amour, toujours l’amour.

Josephs, 70, a heterosexual widow, says that Kravitz, 29, is a straight-up hetero. Kravitz says he likes girls and boys and has never made a secret of it.

Thus far, Kravitz has not publicly challenged Joseph’s sexual orientation. If, for some reason, he were to say she’s a lesbian, “she’d be tickled pink,” says Brian Sims, her campaign treasurer and chairman of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania.

“Babette would take it as a compliment,” adds Sims. “It would mean she was doing her job and representing the gay people in her district. We tend to be a really put-together group of folks.”

Josephs, the oldest woman and only Jewish woman in the State House, according to Sims, was first elected in 1984. She has deep support in the LGBT community.

In retrospect, Sims says he wishes Josephs had not made the Kravitz remarks, caught on tape during a local fundraiser April 15. “I don‘t think it’s anybody’s place to define somebody else’s sexuality,” Sims says.

Fortunately, a candidate’s bi/homosexualty — real or imagined — won’t hurt him in the 182nd, home of the Gayborhood.

“In 66 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, if a candidate came out as bisexual it would probably kill his chances,” says Sims.

“In Philadelphia, it makes it juicier.”

GAIL SHISTER, TV columnist for the Inquirer for 25 years, teaches writing at Penn and is a columnist for She writes for The Philly Post on Tuesdays.