Brown wrote a short piece about coming out as bisexual while serving in the state House of Representatives in 1992.
“It wasn’t until it was written in the Oregonian newspaper that I was bisexual that I had to face the inevitable and let those around me know. Thus began my very public coming out as a bisexual,” she wrote in an essay for “Out and Elected in the USA,” an online compendium of the stories of LGBT public officials from 1974 to 2004.
First, she informed her parents, who told her, “It would be much easier for us if you were a lesbian.” Her gay friends called her “half-queer.” And she also told her straight friends, “who never thought I could make up my mind about anything anyway.”
She said she came out to her legislative colleagues “most frighteningly” and shared this anecdote in her essay: “At the beginning of the next legislative session sitting in the House lounge, representative Bill Markham, who is over 70 years old, extremely conservative, and a legislator for more than 20 years comes to join me. Over lunch he looks up to say, ‘Read in the Oregonian a few months ago you were bisexual. Guess that means I still have a chance?!’”
The Bay Area Reporter recounted a campaign trip she made to San Francisco in November 2007 when she was a state senator campaigning for secretary of state along with Annise Parker, now the first openly gay mayor elected to run one of the nation’s largest cities -- Houston.
The Reporter quoted Brown as saying, during a Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund event, "I'd be the first LGBT candidate elected to the second-highest office in the state.”
"I have been receiving checks in the mail from all over the country. To have that support from the national LGBT community is really wonderful and exciting," she added at the time.
Brown married her husband, Dan, in 1997 and has two stepchildren.