"This is what a lesbian mayor looks like!" declared Annise Parker, mayor of Houston, Texas, the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, as she took the stage at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund Welcome Reception at the DNC.
Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. and Mayor Parker continued, "I represent more constituents than the governors of eight states." Mayor Parker is one of many out-LGBT elected officials attending the convention. And there is no pink donkey in the room -- I have been surprised at how supportive almost every other delegate I've interacted with has been when I say I am the President of Equality Pennsylvania, or when I introduce them to my friend and colleague in the movement, PA State Rep. Elect Brian Sims, who in January will be Pennsylvania's first out-LGBT elected at the state level.
In our Pennsylvania delegation, we are joined by Harrisburg City Controller Dan Miller. Miller, like Parker, has had the support of the Victory Fund, and as an openly gay elected official, has lended his fair share of visibility for the LGBT movement in Central PA. Dan is running for Mayor next year, and if he wins, he will be the first openly gay Mayor of any Pensylvania city.
Elections are about issues, and lots of heterosexual elected officials have been excellent on LGBT issues. In fact, it's the only way we've ever been able to win. But we have also been "on the menu" for quite some time. Many a year has LGBT issues become a wedge in an attempt to drum up conservative support on Election Day. The election of out candidates means that the entire community knows and sometimes respects an LGBT person -- it returns the election to the issues by allowing for full, physical representation including the LGBT community.
EMILY's List has a slogan, "when women vote, Democrats win" --- it's the same for the LGBT community. And just like women voters, we like to see some of our own running as well.