Texas Rep. MaryÂ GonzÃ¡lez, Nation's First Pansexual Official, Facing Tough Primary Challenge From Anti-Gay Opponent
Four years ago, Texas state Rep. Mary GonzÃ¡lezÂ made history by becoming the nation's first pansexual elected official.Â
Now, GonzÃ¡lez, who serves the people of El Paso and surrounding communities, is facing a tough fight for re-election in the March 1 Democratic Primary against an anti-LGBT opponent, former state Rep. Chente Quintinilla.Â
Quintinilla is currently under investigation for voter fraud, and his campaign is funded almost entirely by a right-wing, pro-charter-schoolÂ group called Texans for Education Reform. Quintinilla recently spent $37,000 on an attack mailer alleging that Gonzalez supports condom distribution in elementary schools.
The mailer shows photos of multi-colored condoms and food on a school lunch tray, according to The El Paso Times.Â
"It was vulgar," GonzÃ¡lezÂ said of the mailer. "Sometimes itâ€™s little kids who go get the mail.â€
Although Quintinilla is a Democrat, he didn't always act like one during his previous stint in the Legislature. He co-authored both Texas' constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and a horrendous anti-choice bill that requires women seeking abortions to undergo sonograms, according to Burnt Orange Report.Â
Quintinilla's disgusting ad is a false characterization of Gonzalez's House Bill 78, a common-sense measure that would have required school districts to offer "medically-accurate, age-appropriate" sex education.Â
Needless to say, HB 78 would not have required elementary schools to distribute condoms. Instead, HB 78 would have required schools to enact policies on condoms without saying what those policies should be. It also would have required schools to teach that students should abstain from sex, and allowed parents to keep their kids out of sex ed.Â
Nevertheless, Quintanilla is maintaining that the mailer is accurate.Â
â€œPeopleâ€™s values should be respected,â€ he told The El Paso Times, in what may have been a veiled reference to GonzÃ¡lez'sÂ sexual orientation.Â
During his 10 years in the Legislature, Quintinilla thrice received the designation of "furniture" from Texas Monthly, in its rankings of the state's best and worst legislators. The magazine bestows the furniture designation on lawmakers who areÂ â€œno more consequential than their desks, chairs, inkwells, and spittoons."Â
Gonzalez, meanwhile, has developed a reputation as "an outspoken champion of social justice and a tireless advocate for her district," according to Burnt Orange Report.Â
In addition, GonzÃ¡lez is a tremendously brave advocate for LGBT equality. When she came out as pansexual during her 2012 campaign, she was just 28. Last year, Gonzalez authored a bill that became the first explicitly pro-LGBT measure to receive a vote on the House floor in more than a decade. She was also instrumental in defeating more than 20 anti-LGBT bills.Â
In short, GonzÃ¡lez has earned the LGBT community's support, and right now she needs it more than ever. Gonzalez said any contributions she receives before Tuesday will allow her to keep her ads on the air as long as possible. To contribute to GonzÃ¡lez's campaign, go here. You can also "like" her on Facebook.
Image via MaryÂ GonzÃ¡lez/Twitter