In February 2016, a photograph purportedly showing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his current wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, at a 1975 march in support of the transgender community began circulating online.
Although apparently intended as a joke (since the image doesn’t make much sense to a viewer unfamiliar with its context), the photograph’s accompanying description has been taken seriously by some viewers even though:
- The man pictured in the photograph is not Bernie Sanders.
- The woman pictured in the photograph is not Jane O’Meara (Sanders).
- The photograph was not taken at a 1975 march to support the LGBT community.
- Bernie Sanders didn’t meet his future wife, Jane O’Meara, until the 1980s.
This photograph is quite obviously a cropped version of an image taken from the classic 1975 musical comedy horror film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, picturing actors Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon.
Despite the falsity of this image, Bernie Sanders has in fact been a supporter of LGBT rights for many years:
Senator Sanders has been a longtime supporter of LGBT rights. In 1983, during his first term as Mayor of Burlington, Sen. Sanders supported the city’s first ever Pride Parade. He later signed a city ordinance banning housing discrimination.
Sen. Sanders is currently a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other anti-discrimination laws to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. He has consistently supported legislation that would guarantee LGBT Americans would be treated as equal citizens, and has a lifetime perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign.