by Mary Tuma
Council member Elisa Chan’s disdain for the gay community isn’t a secret anymore.
In a recorded conversation with staff this May, the District 9 council woman expresses her intolerance of homosexuality, saying gay people shouldn’t be allowed to adopt, that being gay is a lifestyle choice and “against nature,” reported the San Antonio Express-News, who exposed the revelations yesterday evening.
The unfiltered, secretly recorded talks between Chan and her aides centers around a strategy to come out against the city’s proposed non-discrimination ordinance, which affords the LGBT community equal rights, while concealing her true feelings. At the start of the unedited recording, aides discuss bisexuality and Chan is heard exclaiming “So disgusting!” From the Express News:
“You know, to be quite honest, I know this is not politically correct,” she says. “I never bought in that you are born, that you are born gay. I can't imagine it.”
After being advised to firmly take a stand on the issue as a “culture warrior” Chan instead plans to act confused and uneducated about homosexuality, as to not appear intentionally unaccepting:
“This is my philosophy, guys,” she says. “Whatever you want to do in your bedroom is none of my business, but do not impose your view on other people, especially becoming policy ... because personally, I think it's just disgusting just to even think about. All the definitions...
“But I don't want to go against, necessarily ... I don't want to beat up anybody,” she continues. “Maybe what we can do, can we maybe throw some questionable confusions like, OK, this 'transgender,' because the definition is so broad... Maybe I say I was not educated on what transgender is about.”
She is later heard saying:
“By the way, this is politically incorrect,” she tells her aides. “I don't think homosexual people should do adoption. They should be banned by adoption. You're going to confuse those kids. They should be banned.
“If you wanted to choose that lifestyle, we don't want to discriminate you, but you shouldn't affect the young people,” she continues. “How terrible. ... They're going to be confused. You see two men go into a bedroom. You see two women kissing. Is that not confusing? It's confusing.
“It is actually, what you call, suggestive, for the kids to be corrupt, which is against nature. I'm telling you, anything that is against nature is not right.”
The covert conversation was recorded by former aide James Stevens, who has since quit Chan’s staff. Stevens became frustrated with Chan’s hyperfocus on galvanizing her voting base rather than on the ordinance itself.
“My decision to record in the first place was that, during the staff meetings, we weren't really discussing the ordinance itself,” Stevens told [the Express-News]. “We were really just talking about ways to appeal to the (voting) base and to get them fired up as opposed to analyzing the ordinance.”
Chan “is only focused on her political future,” he continued. “She's not focused on the policy itself and how it's going to really affect the city. We spent 80 percent of that meeting talking about how disgusting homosexuality is.”
An aide advises, “I would just appeal to your base, this thing is going to pass, I’m pretty sure there’s almost nothing you can do to stop it so you might as well take the opportunity to connect with people who will potentially vote for you in the upcoming Republican primary.”
Another aide–identified as Jeff Bazan, former chief of policy for Chan and now chief of staff to District 8’s Ron Nirenberg–suggests Chan take a hardline against the LGBT community to benefit her career, “To score the most political points, you have to stand up and be anti-gay.”
Jennifer Falcon with GetEQUAL Texas’ local chapter, says the LGBT community is disappointed in Chan’s intolerance and points to her discriminatory views as more reason to enact equal protections for the gay residents of San Antonio.
“GetEQUAL TX is sad to hear one of our elected officials so easily refer to a heavily discriminated against minority group of people disgusting. It’s the mindset of people like Councilwoman Chan and her colleagues that evidences how badly the nondiscrimination ordinance to include the LGBT community is needed,” said Falcon in an e-mail.
Perhaps the blue dress Chan donned during this week’s Citizens Heard meeting can be considered foreshadowing of her views now laid bare–as blue signifies the color worn by local anti-LGBT and religious right activists opposing the ordinance.
Calls to Chan’s office were not returned.