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Post image for Breaking: New Audio Reveals San Antonio Councilwoman Attacking Transgender Woman’s Marriage

Breaking: New Audio Reveals San Antonio Councilwoman Attacking Transgender Woman’s Marriage

by David Badash on August 24, 2013

in Discrimination,News,Politics

San Antonio, Texas councilwoman Elisa Chan has refused to apologize or retract the comments she made during a secretly recorded staff strategy meeting designed to map out her opposition to a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance. Chan, who can be heard in the original audio calling gay and transgender people “disgusting,” has defended her comments as her “First Amendment right.” She also refused to recuse herself from voting on the ordinance, which would add LGBT people and veterans to the city’s list of protected non-discrimination classes of people.

Chan, during that May meeting, had also said she believes homosexuality is a choice, that gay people “take hormone shots,” and that gay people should be “banned” from adopting or raising children.

But now, Chan is facing increasing backlash and calls for her resignation after new audio has been released revealing additional portions of that May 21 staff meeting. In the new audio, below, Chan expresses her derision about the marriage of former San Antonio councilwoman Leticia Ozuna.

“In the recording, Chan discusses Ozuna’s family life. Ozuna, who lost re-election in May, is married to Sophia Parafina, a transgender woman; they have two children,” Brian Chasnoff, the Express-News reporter who published the original audio, now reports.

“That lady was born a man. So that marriage is still valid in the state of Texas,” one of Chan’s aides says in the new audio.

“So what kind of marriage is that?,” Chan responds during the meeting in her San Antonio, Texas city council office.

Chasnoff adds his paper “had previously withheld that portion of the recording to protect Ozuna’s privacy. Ozuna agreed this week to address the portion regarding her family.”

“I am terribly saddened to learn that me and my family were used as subjects of ridicule and criticism by Elisa Chan and her staff,” Ozuna said in a statement.

“No words can adequately express both the anger and sadness our family feels as we deal with this disclosure. She has unequivocally disrespected all LBGTQ families, including mine,” she said.

“We wholeheartedly believe that the public trust has been compromised,” Ozuna continued. “I believe that Elisa Chan should no longer remain in a position of making prejudiced, ill-informed decisions that could cause irreparable harm to the good people of San Antonio.”

Chan, finally, has released a statement offering an apology — but only directly to the former councilwoman, not to the LGBT community.

“I apologize profusely to Councilwoman Leticia Ozuna and her family for referencing their lives in our private conversation,” Chan’s statement reads.

“I did not address the withheld minute of the recording earlier because it was never my intention to hurt anyone.”

And in fact, Chan lied when she told reporters earlier this week that her comments surrounding the word “disgusting” were only related to “pedophilia and bestiality,” as local San Antonio news reporter, KENS 5‘s Jeff Goldblatt, explains:

Chan singled out the word “disgusting,” claiming she was not specifically referencing homosexuality, as originally reported.

“Many of the comments reported in the newspaper have been taken out of content,” Chan said.  “An example is the word ‘disgusting.’  I made that comment in reaction to pedophilia and bestiality.”

In the May 21 recording, Chan participated in the following exchange:

Staffer No. 1: “If a woman who’s bisexual, like, that’s fine. Even though she’s bisexual, but that’s OK.”

Chan: “Disgusting.”

Staffer No. 2: “Anything goes.”

Chan: “So disgusting.”

Staffer No. 2: “No morals and values.”

What San Antonio citizens should be asking themselves now is not only do they want to support a homophobic, transphobic councilwoman, but do they want their tax dollars to pay for this type of rhetoric and discourse during the work day. San Antonio citizens should ask themselves how they would feel about working alongside someone like Elisa Chan. What if Elisa Chan were their boss? Even if they hold the same views as Chan, do they really feel her attacks on another woman’s marriage are appropriate for the workplace? Do they really want to be paying for this?

In “No way to run a meeting,” Rick Casey, writing at the same paper that originally published the audio of Chan’s remarks, points to Chan’s martyrdom and First Amendment claims, and posits:

But here’s a history question for Councilwoman Chan: When the founding fathers, having thrown off the yoke of British tyranny, wrote the First Amendment, do you think it was mainly to protect the speech rights of government officials, or of the citizens who seek to criticize them?

Casey writes that it “is not my intention here today to criticize Councilwoman Elisa Chan for the comments she and her staff made during a secretly taped closed-door meeting last May.”

I’m here to criticize her for the quality of the team she hired and for her appalling lack of skill at running a productive meeting.

At a news conference Tuesday, Chan referred to the session in her office as a brainstorming session. I invite you to listen to audio. A brainstorm? As Chan and her staff trod the well-worn path of anti-gay prejudice, it feels more like slow-rising sludge than an electrical event. I’ve been in Irish pubs at closing time that featured more logical, disciplined conversations.

There are so many good reasons for the citizens of San Antonio to say they want to be represented by someone better.

San Antonians should ask themselves, “what if she were talking about me?”



Image via Elisa Chan campaign



Don’t Worry, San Antonio, Homophobic Councilwoman Chan Has Gay Friends And Even Hugs Them

GetEQUAL Texas Issues Travel Alert For LGBT Travelers To San Antonio

Listen: Secret Audio Reveals City Councilwoman’s Extreme Homophobia And Anti-Gay Strategies

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Mykelbarber August 24, 2013 at 10:29 pm

As a councilmember the only right she has is to represent ALL THE PEOPLE in her district. She has no right to discriminate, demean, demonize, or otherwise debase human beings FOR WHOM SHE WORKS. What a cunt.

russellsvocation August 25, 2013 at 12:19 am

So, I'm thinking if I were to say, I think she is a disgusting Asian Taiwanese who should have her citizenship revoked and before shipping her back to Taiwan, she should spend some time in an internment camp, then she would be OK with that because it is my 1st Amendment right to say it and feel it.

SeanLiberty13 August 25, 2013 at 11:17 am

It is NOT a private conversation. It is a tax funded staff meeting on public matters, you DUMB offensive Fascist whore thieving from her LGBT constituents and using their hard earned money to not only f@#k with their lives but to discriminate against them and demean them as well, filthy ingrate.

barbonine August 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Two words:

RRuinsky August 25, 2013 at 7:47 pm

She'll think her lame apologies will be enough to keep her in office. The woman is a bigot and if she said these kind of things about any other group she'd already be gone.

Robroberts2013 August 25, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Ms. Chan obviously has severe personal conflict around the issue of gender conformity. Many Asians, especially the men, are stereotypically gender neutral in appearance. Perhaps her cultural background informs and fuels her bullying and bigotry towards those who don't fit into her idealized version of masculinity and femininity?

ERmj1 August 25, 2013 at 11:26 pm

ok. so she is in effect, BUSTED again for opening her mouth and being the ill informed idiot with what she says. and now to take and make disparaging remarks against another person and their family dynamics…seriously? people voted to have her represent THEM ALL. the people did not vote to elect her to MISS represent those in any community that are considered and viewed as, "marginalized, attacked, discriminated against and left by the way side" because "she" cops to "freedom of speech and opinion" and "knows" it is ok to thrust her hate and phobia into policy. NO ONE with her hate, ignorance and continued vitriol attacking GLBTQueer people and the community, has ANY RIGHT to represent any good working people of her district.
I HEAR RECALL ECHOING IN THE BACKGROUND…but, WILL the good citizens in her district have the anger to fuel them to fight her.

haviomally August 26, 2013 at 3:28 am

The real tragedy is that an antidiscrimination bill is not to legalize so-called "disgusting" behavior—to quote her. Same-sex is already legal. This is not up for debate. Anti-discrimination is to hold others of her ilk that share her loathing perspective accountable for discriminating against others for performing private legal sexual behavior. By offering an opinion on sexuality rather than on discrimination, indicates that she is not proficient or qualified to be involved in any process that impacts broad swaths of people. Her opinion on sexuality matters nothing—-what matters is does she or does she not believe in offering equitable protection to groups facing inordinate amounts of persecution.

Her anti-discriminatory stance indicates that she is patently un-American as well. Sure she has a 1st Amendment right to be stupid—–but how does she justify apologizing to one person while disparaging many others by failure to do so? Now that is disgusting.

elizapar11 August 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm

She should be ashamed of herself. She is making all Asians look bad. She is a disgrace to the state of Texas and all Americans. Someone should give her a taste of her own medicine. Ban her from your business, tell her that her kind are not welcomed. Give her the same treatment she is giving others.

TammieLH August 27, 2013 at 12:45 am

Its amazing how concerned these people are of what goes on behind closed doors of another's bedroom. Go watch the Springer show or something, Jeesh!

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