politicians believe fear it to be the kiss of death, campaign-wise.
The reasons given are many (and some even carry a little weight –
homophobic counter-campaign, anyone?)
How much does being openly LGBT really hurt a campaign? How much do
people really care about that one aspect of someone’s personal
life and how do they feel about it?
For Annise Parker, Houston City Controller, the potential
challenges being openly gay present her do not outweigh the
benefits of living her life honestly.
Parker, lesbian mom of two little girls with
her partner Kathy, is running for mayor of Houston, Texas. She was
Houston’s first openly gay elected official and she’s been
re-elected five times since.
As Parker points out in her interview with GayPolitics, that what matters are her 11 and a
half years of experience, her honesty, her dedication and her
practical nature. It’s more important to the voters that
she’s familiar with Houston, that she’s interested in making
the city more efficient, and that she’s looking to protect them
from as much of the hardship of the economy as she can. In fact, it
is in part because of her diligence in rooting out inefficiencies
and downright fraud within the city government that Houston is in
better shape than many American cities today.
But it’s not just her skills as a government official that keep
her in the running as the top candidate in the race – she also
has the support of her family. She and her partner, Kathy, have
been together for 19 years. Their daughters understand there will
be challenges to being the children of a lesbian mayor, but
they’re proud of their mom and excited for her potential victory.
Parker herself is looking forward to the opportunities they’ll
gain to meet interesting people and have unique life
While many people don’t consider Texas to be LGBT-friendly, we know
that some of the most active, vibrant LGBT parent communities exist
there—from Austin to San Antonio, Houston to Dallas. It’s always
possible that a vocal minority could organize against Parker’s
campaign, but for now, she’s a front-runner and Houston’s
favorite in the race.