Although he does enjoy some stature as a trailblazer, Frank has been a politically polarizing figure, even in the gay political community. Richard Tisei, a Massachusetts Republican who is gay and lost his bid for a House seat this year, faced harsh political attacks from Frank during his campaign. He credited the congressman with advancing gay rights but said in an e-mail that “in recent times his caustic demeanor and hyperpartisanship limited his ability to reach out to a broader audience to help change opinions and build consensus.” He added: “To be successful in the future we need different types of leaders who aren’t so polarizing and who are able to build bridges and promote better understanding of the issues affecting the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community.”
In July, Frank married his longtime partner, James Ready, and introduced him on the Hill as his husband. But Frank’s professional life has emphasized his role as a lawmaker who is gay, rather than as a gay activist who is a member of Congress.