Following is a response from James Poindexter, secretary of Pride San Antonio Inc., concerning Councilwoman Elisa Chan's first comments following a secret recording that was made in her office where she was overheard making derogatory remarks about homosexuality and gender identity:
The LGBT community is well aware that her 'personal opinions and thoughts are guaranteed to [her] by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
We would hope that, as an elected representative of government at any level, she would have not a brief understanding of, rather a comprehensive interpretation of the Constitution. So we applaud her on her Constitutional prowess.
The LGBT community understands the concept of 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech all to well it seems. As many of us have been dodging the missiles of hate-cloaked in 1st Amendment Freedom Speech garb for our entire lives, as we have fended off the bullies of the socially powerful masses.
Her role, as an elected official, THE elected official, for District 9 of the City of San Antonio, Texas, however by its very nature catapults her to a much higher standard in the realm of speech.
Her comments, although in a "private staff meeting", were made in her official capacity as an elected official. She was not out to brunch with the girls for a bit of girl time. She was in her office deliberating a major issue at stake in this city and conducting city business.
If anything, her "private staff meeting" has educated not only her district but the entire city on what really is important to her, and how she really feels about a large cross-section of our community at-large and of specifically spoke to her district.
Ms. Chan is in PUBLIC SERVICE. We look to our government officials for social guidance. We look to them to resolve to the greatest extent they can the social ills that plague our respective societies and communities.
Her comments, while, wholly within her 1st Amendment purview, rights, and abilities were a window into what her constituents can expect from her.
Her comments during that meeting have educated us on just what aspect of the "public" she is "serving".
It is unfortunate that her comments have marginalized an already marginalized community and sent a message to her Constituents that it may not be in their best interests to consult with her on issues that affect them directly at least without masking their true identity prior to the meeting. Because it appears that engaging with her in one's honest form and in their true self, if they be from the LGBT community would perhaps not get an honest hearing of the issue or a serious deliberation of the problem at stake.
A human rights ordinance for San Antonio, Texas, is a chance for our city to heal some long-standing social ills.
Unfortunately, Ms. Chan's remarks simply threw salt on some long-gaping wounds that are desperately trying to heal.
Secretary, Pride San Antonio Inc.