Palm Springs Has America’s First and Only All-LGBTQ City Council

Palm Springs Has America’s First and Only All-LGBTQ City Council

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The entire city council of Palm Springs, California identifies as LGBTQ, making it the first time this has happened anywhere in the United States.

The city, long noted as a retirement and vacation destination, has become a gay haven in recent years. As LGBTQ activists have become more involved in politics, more have sought and won elected office.

NBC reports:

Yes, all five members of the city council identify within the LGBTQ community, and they represent every letter in the acronym. …”I really believe Trumpism is a backlash from the social progress we’ve made over the last 20 years,” Christy Holstege, an openly bisexual woman and member of the Palm Springs City Council, told NBC News. “But we’re going to continue to make progress.”

Lisa Middleton, a lesbian transgender woman, who was also elected last month, said she is proud to be a part of the nation’s first all-LGBTQ city council, but that it was a result of simply electing the best people for the job. 

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Some of the council members say they have encountered prejudice, including from fellow members of the LGBTQ community.
Holstege recounted being asked intrusive questions at campaign events by the press and even other LGBTQ people in the community.

“There is a lot of biphobia and bi invisibility,” Holstege said. “In interviews I was asked about my sex life. The public was asking, including gay people, how I could be LGBTQ if I’m married to a man.”

The mayor of Palm Springs, Robert Moon, is also gay — the third gay mayor in the city’s history. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported on Palm Springs’ “extraordinary journey”:

While the names of streets and structures here commemorate its Rat Pack and Republican pasts — there’s Frank Sinatra Drive and, at the airport, the Sonny Bono Concourse — its present is progressive and very, very gay. Democrats handily outnumber Republicans. The local officials I spoke with guessed that anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of the city’s residents are gay or lesbian. 

Now, the city’s leaders hope to prove, as one member of the council told the Times, that “being gay has nothing to do with our policies.”


Featured image from Palm Springs White Party 2015.

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