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Kyrsten Sinema Is the First Openly Bisexual Senator

Welcome to the year of 20biteen!

kyrsten sinema senate senator bisexual pence

Among all the historic firsts in the newly sworn-in Congress, someone we haven’t talked about much is Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. Not only is she the first female Senator from her state, but she’s also the first openly bisexual person to be elected to the U.S. Senate. (In 2013, she also became the first openly bisexual member of the House. She’s only the second openly LGBTQ person to be elected to the Senate after Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin in 2013.)

Sinema drew attention yesterday during her swearing in for, among other things, looking fierce as hell.

During the run-up to the last election, Sinema’s opponent, Martha McSally, ran a number of ads mocking the Democrat for wearing a pink tutu at a 2003 anti-war protest (which happened to have a theme of “Celebration of Life and Creativity,” something McSally never mentioned). We can’t know if that incredible pink coat is a sly response to that attack or if it’s just another extension of Sinema’s unapologetically ultra-femme style.

Either way, writer Constance Grady nailed it when she called this “weaponized femininity.”

In addition to being the first female senator from her state and the first openly bi senator, Sinema is also the only member of the current Congress who remains religiously unaffiliated. As such, she chose to swear in on a law book reportedly containing texts of the U.S. and Arizona constitutions instead of a Bible or other religious book.

Making all of this even more incredible is that the job of swearing in Senators falls to Mike Pence, someone who has built his career on shunning women, pushing religious agendas, and attempting to strip the LGBTQ community of their rights.

Sinema is unapologetic for a lot of things men like Mike Pence make it clear they think she should apologize for: her sexual orientation, her religious orientation, her brazen femininity in a male-dominated, notoriously stuffy institution. She’s also busting myths about bisexuals that still persist today. Myths like 1) They don’t exist, and 2) They’re immoral, amoral, or only ever focused on sex. Nope, bisexual people are everywhere, even in your Senate.

And they are utter delights.

(image: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.