Councilwoman Elisa Chan's remarks on sexual identity draw fire

Comments secretly recorded during staff meeting


SAN ANTONIO – Remarks made by District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan and published in the Friday edition of the San Antonio Express-News have 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."

Among the comments Chan can be heard making during a secretly recorded staff meeting in May is a reference to pansexual orientation.

"I will say, ‘Strip down. What equipment do you have?' … I'm telling you, crazy. We're getting to crazy realm," she is heard saying.

Castro said, "Her views do not reflect the views of the city council and of the vast majority of San Antonians."

Lauryn Farris, a San Antonio member of the board of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, called Chan's comments "insensitive and misinformed."

"I think it's unfortunate that Councilwoman Chan made the comments that she made," Farris said.

Another comment also drew Farris' criticism.

Chan is heard saying on the tape, "This is my philosophy guys. 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, and that's all. Because personally I think it's just disgusting."

Farris said she feels that much of what Chan said had political overtones in view of the fact that the council is drafting a new non-discrimination ordinance.

"I think a lot of it is just political gaming," she said. "And a lack of understanding."

Farris offered to meet with Chan and her staff for what she called "an education session."

Chan has been unavailable for comment on the recordings or on Farris' offer.

According to her staff, Chan is on a previously planned vacation.

For a list of recent stories Paul Venema has done, click here.

About the Author: