Barney Frank assumed he’d have a celibate life

Barney Frank visits 'The O'Reilly Factor' on The FOX News Channel at FOX Studios on March 17, 2015 in New York City.

Barney Frank visits 'The O'Reilly Factor' on The FOX News Channel at FOX Studios on March 17, 2015 in New York City.

Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images

Things have certainly changed for Barney Frank since his childhood of the 1940s and ’50s.

The former congressman talked about his personal and political life (and his new memoir, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage) on The Michael Smerconish Program Thursday. Check out highlights from their conversation:

Frank recognized what set him apart as a teenage boy: He was attracted to the idea of serving in government and was attracted to the other guys. “I thought at that time I would simply ignore it … Back in 1954 even the notion of admitting even to my parents that I was gay was just unthinkable … I would have a celibate life.”

For many years in Washington, Frank was out in his personal life but not in his public life. And when the world did find out he was gay (via The Boston Globe), he felt he had to “downplay” being gay and put on a tough guy persona.

And a funny moment in his memory of coming out: Tip O’Neill said “they tell me Barney Frank is going to come out of the room.”

Frank weighed in on President Obama’s call for an end to “conversion therapy” for teens. “It begins with the recognition, I believe, that being gay or lesbian is not a choice.”

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