Barney Frank
Former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank was faced with accusations that he hired male prostitute Steve Gobie for sex in 1985 when Frank, who later came out as gay, was still in the closet. Gobie came forward with the story to The Washington Times and a congressional investigation was launched, but the committee found no wrongdoing on Frank's part. He went on to win re-election and served Massachusetts for 31 years. Frank said he would not seek another term this year. Reuters

Barney Frank announced his retirement from Congress this week, effective at the end of his term in 2013. The Democrat from Massachusetts, first elected to the House of Representatives in 1980, stood out more than others in Washington over the years, and his absence will be notable -- though some think that is a good thing, and others think it's a bad thing.

Nobody can deny, however, that Frank is one of a kind.

Thus, here are 10 things to know about one-of-a-kind Barney Frank:

1) Frank said the challenge of running for re-election in a redrawn district and difficult political climate led him to not seek re-election. The 71-year-old will return after 16 terms in the elected office. It would have been a tough campaign, Frank said.

2) Barney Frank was one of the first openly gay politicians to serve in Washington. In 2011, Frank faced public scrutiny for using his influence in Washington to help his ex-boyfriend get a high-paying job at Fannie Mae. Frank maintained he didn't do anything wrong.

3) Frank was allegedly present in 2007 in Maine when a different boyfriend, new at the time, was busted for growing marijuana plants. Frank has been viewed as an advocate by those in favor of legal medical marijuana in the U.S.

4) Frank was one of Washington's greatest or worst liberals, depending on one's perspective. He was often in the middle of the House's nastiest policy debates, known for his outspoken wit and demeanor.

5) Critics say Frank benefited from one of the most gerrymandered district lines in the nation which allowed him to remain in office. They claim that once the district was redrawn more reasonably, he knew the odds of re-election were slim.

6) Frank survived an ethics scandal in 1989 after he admitted to hiring a prostitute as a personal aide for him in Washington.

7) Frank is a long-time advocate in Washington for affordable housing, and a long-time advocate of consumer protection laws. He was also a co-author of financial regulatory overhaul legislation after the financial crisis.

8) Frank was elected in 1980, but he didn't public acknowledge his homosexuality until 1987. He has said he wants to write a history of the gay-rights movement. For years, Frank dated women in hopes of hiding his homosexuality before coming out.

9) Frank became an Internet sensation in August of this year when a video of him appearing on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show suggested that the Congressman farted during the interview. Reported Gawker: As you'll see, his hips most definitely don't lie. It was apparently both Frank's movement that combined with a sound on air that ignited the story.

10) Frank was effective for the Democratic party at delivering conservative activist votes on key legislative issues, including social and finance policy.