Houston, we have a Parker!
Newly elected out lesbian mayor Annise Parker proudly carries a “D” behind her name—and she bravely does so in a state where some talk secession and nearly everyone packs heat.
In celebrating Da Diva Mayor’s victory at brunch with the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, you can drop that “d” from fund, because for three suspended hours on a recent Sunday, it wasn’t about the Fund. It was about fun.
In a world full of homophobic hostility trotted out at Texas Tea Parties, we must celebrate with vigor our victories. And deep in the heart of crimson red Texas recently came some euphoric news. Houston, we have a Parker!
And Parker has a sidekick. Houston Councilwoman Sue Lovell chaired her campaign—and fortunately rose from her chair at the Mayflower and treated the 700 plus assembled guests to the most heartwarming, guffaw-inducing introductions ever delivered. How in the world these two got anything done—much less shattered the Sappho glass ceiling—is a mystery. One can only imagine this lezzie Lucy and Ethel duo (aping Thelma and Louise) howlin’ and chucklin’ across the 650 square miles that is Houston, Texas.
It’s obvious that Lovell is equal parts of former Texas governor Ann Richards and columnist Molly Ivins—and pity the redneck that crosses this pink panther. Her delivery was brilliant, her wit outmatched, and her campaign stories priceless. It seems that during the election, no matter what the issue and no matter how high the stakes, some people boiled it down to two things: lipstick and eyeshadow. Why couldn’t the candidate wear more of each?
Leave it to Texas, where many women truly believe that they are ornaments put on earth for men’s pleasure. And leave it to this campaign to have Sue Lovell field those calls. Mame had Vera. Parker has Lovell. She’s the whole package. She has it all. Well, everything but lipstick and eyeshadow anyway.
The mayor began her remarks by saying she always hated to “follow” Sue. And as spot-on as that observation was, the mayor delivered inspiration. In spades. Her message of the importance that we support “our” candidates was heartfelt and timely. When times were the toughest and they were throwing everything but the kitchen sink at her, she knew that we of the Victory Fund were with her—and that deep in her heart, Texans would become famous for more than a State Fair. They would actually be fair.
So for women who “learned the truth at 17 that love was meant for beauty queens and high school girls with clear skin smiles who would marry young and then retire” these two ballsy broads have each found partners and gotten a lesbian elected mayor of the fourth largest city in America.
Ponder that for a moment. The top three blue bastions of New York, Chicago, and L.A. have women in comfortable shoes and men light of loafer in various supporting roles— but no mayors. Thanks to the Victory Fund, we are knocking on mansion doors nationwide—but to pick off a state full of pick-up trucks is to pick up a victory with a capital V. And—irony of ironies—they told the story to a room predominately full of men who know lipstick and eyeshadow.
As the evening continued, D. C. Councilman David Catania was introduced by mayoral candidate Vincent Gray. David’s commitment to children’s health dwarfs even his obvious big victory on gay marriage. If you want to walk down the same aisle that Newt’s walked three times, Rudy three, and Karl Rove twice—thank David Catania. If you’re happy to know children are healthy—thank him again.
Next on stage: Barney Frank needs no introduction. An iron for his clothes, yes. But not an introduction. He talked about conservatives alleging that hate crimes were “thought crimes” and came to the conclusion that you can still call him a “fag” (but he wouldn’t recommend it if you’re testifying to his banking committee.) We love us some Barney.
But, for me, brunch belonged to the broads. Because a state like Texas, that deifies football with the hit TV series Friday Night Lights can dole out Monday through Thursday slights to its gay misfits. The citizens of Houston set that aside and elected Mayor Parker. So, ten-gallon hats off to Chuck Wolfe and to the Victory Fund.
Houston, you’ve got a Parker. And a Lovell. And with or without lipstick—you are one lucky lone star city.