Councilwoman Chan responds to recording with views on homosexuality

Chan was secretly recorded making derogatory remarks on homosexuality, gender identity


SAN ANTONIO – Embattled San Antonio District 9 City Councilwoman Elisa Chan has issued her first response to an alleged recording where she was overheard making derogatory remarks about homosexuality and gender identity.

KSAT received the following statement Monday morning from Elisa Chan's office.

"The comments from the staff meeting on May 21 were and are my personal opinions and thoughts as guaranteed to me by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is unfortunate that a former member of my District 9 Council team betrayed the trust of my staff members and me. I will fight, I will always fight for our freedom of speech especially in a private setting. I plan to hold a press conference this week to address this issue."

James Poindexter, secretary of Pride San Antonio, didn't buy Chan's comments.

"Her comments, although in a 'private staff meeting,' were made in her official capacity as an elected official," Poindexter said in an email to KSAT 12 News. "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."

The taped recording was made public Friday morning in a published report by San Antonio Express-News staffer Brian Chasnoff.

Chasnoff reported a former aide, James Stevens, secretly recorded Chan's comments on May 21 during meetings with her staff to discuss the city's proposal to update its nondiscrimination ordinance, adding protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

The remarks immediately generated a firestorm of controversy.

"Very discouraging words to hear," said San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. "Councilwoman Chan's remarks obviously were hurtful and they are ignorant."
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