A Republican state legislator in North Dakota who used a smartphone app to send unsolicited explicit photos to another man has revealed that he is bisexual after the recipient leaked the photos to the press.
The Forum, a North Dakota-based newspaper, reported that the man who received the photos from the lawmaker, Randy Boehning, was upset that Boehning had voted against a sexual orientation nondiscrimination bill.
According to a voter guide [PDF] issued by the North Dakota Family Alliance, the state affiliate of the Family Research Council, Boehning said he supports North Dakota’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and opposes laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. He also said he opposes “adding ‘sexual orientation’ to the list of criteria used to determine anti-bullying policies in our public schools.’”
The exchange came to light when Dustin Smith, a 21-year-old Bismarck man with no known connections to the Capitol, contacted The Forum earlier this month, saying he recognized Boehning from a gay dating smartphone app called Grindr. Chatting under the user name Top Man!, Boehning sent Smith sexually suggestive messages and, in the early morning hours of March 12, an unsolicited photo of his penis, according to exchanges reviewed by The Forum.
"How can you discriminate against the person you're trying to pick up?" Smith said in a recent interview.
Boehning, who is not married, said there are people who know he is gay, but many of his family members and friends do not. He said Saturday he is also attracted to women and was relieved to come out because he no longer has to worry about being outed.
"The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted," he said. "I have to confront it at some point."