Being Gay “Was a Positive Factor”

Pundits are claiming that not only did Annise Parker’s openly gay status not adversely affect her election bid, it may have been “a positive factor” in her election.  Cities like Houston (with a 2.2 million population), Orlando, and Charolotte are becoming international communities and therefore not subject to the petty bigotries of smaller, less diverse places. 

Parker’s adversary resorted to smear tactics which emphasized her being gay.  This strategy backfired on the opposition.  Refreshing, no?  Former mayor Bob Lanier, “Houston is long past the years in which an appeal to bigotry is the winning ticket,” – he added, her sexual orientation was “more a positive factor for her.”

Parts of our dear country are moving ahead, it would seem.  How do we get places like Kansas to keep pace?  All ideas appreciated…



Filed under Diversity, GLBT Rights

17 responses to “Being Gay “Was a Positive Factor”

  1. Doesn’t the wheat of Kansas have international markets? That in itself wouldn’t seem to be the answer, would it?

    Is it intellectual workers, like those that will be part of the bio-defense industry that will be part of the K-State program work force?

    Would like to hear opinions on these questions.

    • I don’t think you can equate intelligence or lack of same with bigotry. Hateful attitudes and beliefs that differences don’t need to be tolerated are indicators of state of mind not the ability of that mind.

    • Doesn’t the wheat of Kansas have international markets? Yes. That in itself wouldn’t seem to be the answer, would it? Agreed.

      Is it intellectual workers, like those that will be part of the bio-defense industry that will be part of the K-State program work force? Not in my opinion.

      There has to be a fundamental shift in attitudes within the populace in order for a Kansas candidate’s sexual orientation to be only a side note to her/his success or defeat. That will be, unfortunately, some long time in coming. To my children’s children’s children: if you stumble across this comment at some point and are in agreement, then the long time has yet to come. If, on the other hand, you are totally baffled by the same, the time came soner than I thought.

  2. itolduso

    Pundits can claim all they want. I doubt that her being gay is what put her over the top. For whatever reason, her personality/politics where what Houston wanted. However,
    congratulations to her for being open about her sexuality, and being elected anyway. That is what we need, politicians who are honest about who they are and what they stand for.
    And as a side note, congratulations to Houston for not letting her sexual orientation become the main event, rather than just a side note.

    • lilacluvr

      The fact she was gay probably did not put her over the top, but the fact that the opposition felt the need to point out her sexuality probably was the factor that put her over the top.

      Most people do not like being told what to do or how to think. So, perhaps the majority of voters were telling the opposition to take his mean-spirited and bigoted stategy and ‘shove off’?

      I think that is a lesson the Evangelical Christians need to learn – and the sooner the better!

  3. The sexual preference of a person is a consideration if I plan to have sex with them, not any other time.

    I’ve never heard a compelling reason for bigotry, thus have no understanding why factors outside experience, education, skill set, demonstrated competence and qualifications should be considered when voting for the candidate of your choice.

    • “I’ve never heard a compelling reason for bigotry…”

      See my speculations on the adaptive value of stereotyping in the above thread. Stereotyping is probably different from bigotry in that, at least, it sounds less bad, maybe.

  4. “I don’t think you can equate intelligence or lack of same with bigotry.”

    I am sure you are correct. I have been thinking about writing a post on stereotypes – “positive” ones, also… I think the first post reveals a bigotry that I have – i.e., “smart people tend to be less bigoted and more accepting of others” – there are likely many examples which refute that position.

  5. Some people use their intelligence in forming their opinions, others don’t.

    • lilacluvr

      And some people blindly follow whatever their preacher says. If the preacher tells them Obama is Satan, them they are going to believe it.

      But let’s not ever talk about the preacher’s own dirtly little secrets – shall we?

  6. itolduso

    For some reason, when I pick the reply button, my computer doesn;t like it. So, just in response, I would like to say that I agree with lilacluvr’s 12:29 post

  7. Surprising to see Charlotte on that list. We really bottomed out a few years back, elected a lot of conservative people to the county commission and they about destroyed the city. Defunding arts, especially if they were thought to be “pro-gay”, cutting needed social programs, etc.

    Sadly, I think bottoming out and the community as a whole being embarrassed by these idiots were the only thing that stopped the downward spiral. Of the 5 elected, only still survives.

    • lilacluvr

      Hasn’t Charlotte (and other cities in North Carolina) been going through a growth spurt in the last decade of new people moving in?

      I am a big believer in diversity – not just racial quotas – but differing opinions on what to do, which way to go and what is really important.

      But, I do agree that cutting taxes sounds all well and good until that actually happens and then the aftermath of this theory takes hold and guess what, people don’t like it.

      So, does this mean people like to complain about paying taxes but it is only ‘their’ taxes they are really complaining about?

      After all, they still want all the government services – they just do not feel ‘they’ should be paying taxes.

      • I so agree with you. There hasn’t been a significant tax increase here for years. Heaven forbid services diminish in the least though.

        There is hope here though, new progressive mayor and council. Once you bottom out, you bounce up quick…so far!

  8. Thanks for sharing on the Charlotte experience. Learning from experience is a good thing. 🙂

  9. Trip to the Outhouse

    It seems like everybody from all over the world is speculating why Annise Parker was elected mayor of Houston and what that says about the city itself. As a Kansas transplant who has lived here for some 27 years and who knows (well, has met and kept up on pretty well) Annise for more than 20 years, I think everyone is making a bigger deal out of how she got elected and how this reflects on Houston than there really is.

    First of all, Houston is not some bastion of liberalism, some kind of left coast San Francisco, as I’ve read in some other places. Here, there are lots of mega-churches and holy roller types filled with some pretty conservative people. There are also lots of immigrants who also are not that open-minded.

    When I say I’m from Kansas, everybody always says, “Oh, that’s where Dorothy’s from.” In the same way, when others hear “Houston”, they tend to think of NASA and out comes, “Houston, we have a problem.” Houston, though, is not the city a lot of people conjure up in their minds; it’s really a working-class city. In a way, it has more in common with the stereotype of Pittsburgh than some of those other southern cities that were mentioned, except here instead of the blue chambray shirt, it’s button-downs, scrubs, or Dickies.

    I think that’s what people see in Annise Parker. She worked in the petroleum industry before running for city council, then moving on to getting elected to the controller’s position. (The controller is the second highest city position, the person who is in charge of the budget and finances.) In all these years in public office, she has been steady in her work with absolutely no negative publicity.

    Consequently, when it came to the mayoral election about the only thing the naysayers could bring up was that she’s gay.

    There are also some other factors here. In the general election, none of the other candidates had much name recognition. In reality, most people didn’t know much about any of the candidates. Also, city elections in Houston are non-partisan, even though generally people know which party the candidates, or at least the major ones, belong to. In this election, there wasn’t much Republican or conservative backing for any of the 4 main candidates in the general election. Although Parker got the most votes in the general election, she didn’t get a majority, and Locke, the second place finisher–her opponent in the run-off, is also a Democrat. Therefore, though some of his supporters tried to drum up votes with anti-gay campaigning, Locke wasn’t somebody that could attract an overwhelming number of conservative voters.

    Also city elections are on off years; they don’t coincide with state and national elections; hence, in most municipal elections the percentage of voter turn-out is small. It was about 16% in the run-off election (and there were run-offs for other positions, not just mayor), but this is not atypical for Houston’s city elections.

    There also wasn’t that much money and advertising as in some elections. For the run-off, there were some TV and radio ads, but neither campaign seemed that well-funded.

    I’ve read comments complaining Annise doesn’t really represent Houston’s values because of the small number of people that voted. Actually, it really does. The people who truly had an interest in the election voted, whomever they voted for. Those that didn’t care one way or the other didn’t vote.

    And I think that really sums it up: 85% of the registered voters in Houston don’t care what the sexual orientation of their mayor is (or at least care enough to go out and vote). What most of them care about is that the city runs smoothly and that they have a job to go to tomorrow.

    Personally, I am once again proud of her winning another election and, specifically, how well she has handled herself amidst this publicity. And while her sexuality may be getting all the attention from outside of the city, what most Houstonians care about is a mayor who can do a good job of running the city.

    • Wow! A much different picture than that portrayed by the mainstream media. This is why local voices, on that set of inter-connected tubes, i.e. the internet, is so important…