Gerry Eastman Studds (born May 12, 1937) is a retired American politician, born in Mineola, New York. He served as a Democratic Congressman for Massachusetts from 1973 until 1996. He was the first openly homosexual member of the U.S. Congress and, more generally, the first openly gay national politician in the U.S.
Congressional page sex scandal
Studds is remembered chiefly for his role in the Congressional page sex scandal in 1983, when he and Representative Dan Crane were censured by the House of Representatives for separate sexual relationships with a minor – in Studds's case, a 1973 relationship with a 17-year-old male congressional page.
During the course of the House Ethics Committee's investigation, Studds publicly acknowledged his homosexuality, a disclosure that, according to a Washington Post article, "apparently was not news to many of his constituents." Studds stated in an address to the House, "It is not a simple task for any of us to meet adequately the obligations of either public or private life, let alone both, but these challenges are made substantially more complex when one is, as I am, both an elected public official and gay."
As the House read their censure of him, Studds turned his back and ignored them. Later, at a press conference with the former page standing beside him, the two stated that what had happened between them was nobody's business but their own.