Apr 16 2007

Over the last two decades, the political barriers that prevented members of the LGBT community from serving in public office have largely fallen away. Today, almost every state has at least one openly gay or lesbian elected official, including Alabama, Montana and Oklahoma. In each case, we have found that obtaining and effectively using our own power is far more effective than relying on the kindness of others.

In regards to big city elections, both Paris and Berlin have elected openly gay mayors. In America, Providence Mayor David Cicilline is viewed by many as one of the most distinguished and successful mayors in the nation. He is a role model for newly elected city leaders everywhere.

However, not one of the ten largest U.S. cities has ever elected an open member of the LGBT community. That is soon about to change. Bio

Councilmember Ed Oakley is one of the front runners in the upcoming election for Mayor of Dallas, Texas, on May 12 (with a possible run off in June). About 18 candidates are running and Ed is well positioned in the top tier.

Ed cut his political teeth as a community activist. His first appointment to the Dallas Plan Commission gave him the platform to advocate for sensible urban planning that includes protections for the environment and long standing neighborhoods. His impressive work led to his election to the city council in 2003. The list of his achievements is awesome, including his notable success in coordinating a Dallas bond program of a half billion dollars to rebuild libraries, parks, roads, and police and fire facilities. He also led a successful drive to reduce local property taxes for the first time in eight years.

While the people of Dallas have already elected an openly lesbian sheriff, the election of Oakley as Dallas’s next mayor would be historic.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund is working hard nationwide to bring needed resources to this critical race. Oakley has painstakingly earned the respect of residents in Dallas and now he needs and deserves our support. You can contribute to Ed’s historic campaign through the Victory Fund’s Web site at www.victoryfund.org.

Quite honestly, I never thought I would live long enough to see Texans elect an openly gay mayor.