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Politician Challenged for Being Bi

[HARTFORD, CT] -- Bisexuality and queer inclusion have become the linchpins of an electoral race in Hartford, CT, where incumbent Rep. Evelyn Mantilla is being challenged by an ordained minister who is opposing her because of her out status as a bisexual.

During the last election campaign, Mantilla won her seat as representative for the 4th House District while publicly acknowledging her sexual orientation. Mantilla's bisexuality became an issue this year when Rev. Gabriel Carrera held a protest denouncing a poster that promoted tolerance of diverse sexual orientations. At the protest, Carrera announced his candidacy. Since then, Carrera, who was ordained by a televangelist, has run his campaign primarily by attacking Mantilla for her sexual orientation. Carrera claims he will win because he reflects the Hispanic community's "old-fashioned" values.

However, many members of the Hartford community dispute that assertion. "I decry that he says that he is a member of our community, and that the Latin community is anti-gay as if it's passed down from God," district resident Gladys Hernandez said at an Oct. 17 rally protesting Carrera. "We have as many people who are gay as any other community. I object to his categorically speaking for me." Deputy Mayor Frances Sanchez, also present at the rally, called for an end to the "politics of prejudice."

Also in dispute is Carrera's fitness to represent the community at all, as he does not currently live within the district. If he won, he would need to move to the 4th House District in order to hold the position.

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