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In Covert Recording, Council Member Elisa Chan’s ‘Disgust’ for LGBT Community Exposed

August 16, 2013

Council member Elisa Chan’s disdain for the gay community isn’t a secret anymore.

In a recorded conversation with staff this May, the District 9 council woman expresses her intolerance of homosexuality, saying gay people shouldn’t be allowed to adopt, that being gay is a lifestyle choice and “against nature,” reported the San Antonio Express-News, who exposed the revelations yesterday evening.

The unfiltered, secretly recorded talks between Chan and her aides centers around a strategy to come out against the city’s proposed non-discrimination ordinance, which affords the LGBT community equal rights, while concealing her true feelings. At the start of the unedited recording, aides discuss bisexuality and Chan is heard exclaiming “So disgusting!” From the Express News:

“You know, to be quite honest, I know this is not politically correct,” she says. “I never bought in that you are born, that you are born gay. I can’t imagine it.”

After being advised to firmly take a stand on the issue as a “culture warrior” Chan instead plans to act confused and uneducated about homosexuality, as to not appear intentionally unaccepting:

“This is my philosophy, guys,” she says. “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 … because personally, I think it’s just disgusting just to even think about. All the definitions…

“But I don’t want to go against, necessarily … I don’t want to beat up anybody,” she continues. “Maybe what we can do, can we maybe throw some questionable confusions like, OK, this ‘transgender,’ because the definition is so broad… Maybe I say I was not educated on what transgender is about.”

She is later heard saying:

“By the way, this is politically incorrect,” she tells her aides. “I don’t think homosexual people should do adoption. They should be banned by adoption. You’re going to confuse those kids. They should be banned.

“If you wanted to choose that lifestyle, we don’t want to discriminate you, but you shouldn’t affect the young people,” she continues. “How terrible. … They’re going to be confused. You see two men go into a bedroom. You see two women kissing. Is that not confusing? It’s confusing.

“It is actually, what you call, suggestive, for the kids to be corrupt, which is against nature. I’m telling you, anything that is against nature is not right.”

The covert conversation was recorded by former aide James Stevens, who has since quit Chan’s staff. Stevens became frustrated with Chan’s hyperfocus on galvanizing her voting base rather than on the ordinance itself.

“My decision to record in the first place was that, during the staff meetings, we weren’t really discussing the ordinance itself,” Stevens told [the Express-News]. “We were really just talking about ways to appeal to the (voting) base and to get them fired up as opposed to analyzing the ordinance.”

Chan “is only focused on her political future,” he continued. “She’s not focused on the policy itself and how it’s going to really affect the city. We spent 80 percent of that meeting talking about how disgusting homosexuality is.”

D9BannerChanAn aide advises, “I would just appeal to your base, this thing is going to pass, I’m pretty sure there’s almost nothing you can do to stop it so you might as well take the opportunity to connect with people who will potentially vote for you in the upcoming Republican primary.”

Another aide–identified as Jeff Bazan, former chief of policy for Chan and now chief of staff to District 8’s Ron Nirenberg–suggests Chan take a hardline against the LGBT community to benefit her career, “To score the most political points, you have to stand up and be anti-gay.”

Jennifer Falcon with GetEQUAL Texas’ local chapter, says the LGBT community is disappointed in Chan’s intolerance and points to her discriminatory views as more reason to enact equal protections for the gay residents of San Antonio.

“GetEQUAL TX is sad to hear one of our elected officials so easily refer to a heavily discriminated against minority group of people disgusting. It’s the mindset of people like Councilwoman Chan and her colleagues that evidences how badly the nondiscrimination ordinance to include the LGBT community is needed,” said Falcon in an e-mail.

Perhaps the blue dress Chan donned during this week’s Citizens Heard meeting can be considered foreshadowing of her views now laid bare–as blue signifies the color worn by local anti-LGBT and religious right activists opposing the ordinance.

Calls to Chan’s office were not returned.

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  • John

    the stupidity revealed in this conversation is astonishing…truly troubling…IQ tests for city leadership, please!

  • Artie

    And this is a storie cause???

  • Eric Sanchez

    What a patently dishonest mischaracterization of an audio transcript. Reminiscent of how ABC news deceptively edited the George Zimmerman 911 call to inflame and incite racial tensions. Same premise here. here we have an irresponsible agenda-ridden media sycophant (Tuma) plucking a story out of nothing – borrowing a word -completely independent of it’s context- and attempting to superimpose it onto a manufactured, malicious narrative.

    The transcript I read showed her applying “disgusting” to “…all the defintions.” [definitions of WHAT? -It's left unsaid]

    So, let us all join in one slanderous chorus to castigate and defame Elisa Chan for assigning the world “disgusting” to things that left in the realm of *the unsaid*. Does one not see how incredibly crass and dishonest that tactic would be? Good thing I have no journalistic integrity, though, so I’m not above such mischaracterizations (sayeth a certain writer).

  • dicktoucher

    You’re full of shit, bro.

  • mike

    Her ass is now in the flying pan!! with her flied lice..

  • starguy8

    And this is exactly the kind if attack on free speech we want to avoid by defeating this ordinance. Soon no one will be able to voice their true opinion for fear of being recorded and hacked to pieces by the pro-gay agenda pushers.

  • RGD

    I see that Mike has a little bigotry in his soul…”fliced lice”. This whole damn world is trying to be politically correct and it has slowing been tearing down the moral fiber of american society. Anybody that says they do not have a bigotry of some kind is lying through their teeth. As a Roman Catholic I have been taught to love ALL fellow mankind and I do. But I still have opinions based on my faith, my upbringing and living life. Being homosexual in itself is not a sin, anymore than being heterosexual. At first the homosexual movement just wanted to be allowed to “come out of the closet”. Then they wanted to be allowed to become “partners”. Then they wanted to be allowed to marry. Now they want to be specifically protected from discrimination. Sorry but marriage from the first recorded history has always been between a man and a woman. I dislike Obama but I don’t consider myself a bigoted racist. I don’t agree on how he is handling the country. I don’t consider him to be an African-American, after all he is half white and I really don’t care who his parents were. I don’t like half of the Republicans in Congress. This is my bigotry.

  • starguy8

    Make no mistake: this ordinance is being introduced and pushed by non-San Antonians who want to make problems where non exist. My cousin has worked for the city for decades and has never been persecuted.

  • george

    Good for her! Finally, a politician with balls to say whats on her (his) mind! The gays think they can push everybody around because they’re a minority. But, I still haven’t seen anywhere in the Constitution about discrimination based on “sexual orientation”.

  • Riely

    Oh, your cousin, huh? Well, then, that settles it!

  • Riely

    Right! Nothing in there, either, about the rights of a fetus! Or, anything at all about wiretapping, vaccinations, automobile safety, copyright law, or air traffic control! Also nothing mentioned about the Internet. We’ve got to do something about this.

  • Riely

    Wait— Chan has balls? The plot thickens ………

  • ritadona

    Seriously? Ms. Chan can voice her opinions quite freely out of the workplace, but she is an elected public official, and there is something called professionalism. You want to see how far speaking your mind about discriminating against a certain group will get you at work? Try it. Public officials should know that their every move and word are public, at the very least, when they are at work. And that is not the behavior we should appreciate from them.

  • Jimothy Jones

    Finally a politician who has the balls to advertise their ignorance and bigotry.

  • Jimothy Jones

    I wouldnt look too much into, these are the type of people that stand up and defend limbaugh for saying the N word. Or people that believe in a man in the sky despite no evidence what so ever. Instead they link coincidences as evidence.

  • Jimothy Jones

    Its a story because repiblicans keep claiming they are not bigots. So until you smear it in their face and make them listen to their own words…..

  • starguy8

    And yet you all don’t mind when Obama says he’s in favor of gay marriage…as a public official. And she said it in a private setting, not at a council meeting.

  • Riely

    Yeah, that was some “private setting”, eh? If she thinks her office is ever “private”, or should be, then she’s not a very astute public official, now is she?

  • ritadona

    There is nothing hateful in what Obama said. Ms. Chan’s speech, however, was full of vitriol and should not have been expressed in the workplace.

  • ritadona

    Also, you can try voicing your personal beliefs at work and see how long you keep your job. Though no one can discriminate against you for voicing your opinion, per se, it doesn’t mean that they can’t fire you for being a bigot and saying that it was due to your poor performance.

  • Riely

    Um, actually, star-bi, I’m paying Chan’s salary. therefore, she doesn’t get 100% untrammeled free speech rights. If she calls me “disgusting”, I get to tell her she ought to shut up, because I’m paying her salary! Get it?

  • starguy8

    Hateful or not, I do not believe what she said was hateful, it was their opinion.And this is exactly the kind of attack on free speech we are trying to avoid by defeating this ordinance. Pretty soon no l

  • starguy8

    What? I pay Obama’s salary and I don’t agree with what she says. You don’t make sense.

  • Riely

    Well then, petition him and let him know! You’re free to do just that! As are WE. Get it now?

  • starguy8

    I’m so ashamed of being in a city that does not allow it to people to have the opinions and beliefs that they want. This is not the American city that I thought I lived in. This is like living in Nazi Germany. And guess who the Nazis are here.

  • starguy8

    Just to be clear, the Nazis here are the LGBT community. You can’t state your opinion without them coming after you. That is not the way America works.

  • ritadona

    So, you’d be okay with your boss calling you disgusting and discriminating against you by citing free speech? I believe you’d have the right to sue them under current federal and state laws. As it should be. Not only that, they’d probably be fired for their behavior under those same laws.

  • starguy8

    No, I would quit. But I don’t think the city should disqualify me from contracts just because I don’t agree with the gay agenda.

  • ritadona

    As long as you kept it to yourself, the city would never know. And for your information, the gay agenda is the human agenda. Fairness and equality under the law. They don’t agree with you and you get that.

  • guest

    I can sure state my opinion without them coming after me. My opinion is “gays are just dandy and they deserve equal protection under the law!” why would me stating my opinion cause them to come after me?

  • guest

    And what do you mean by “coming after you” anyway? Do you feel like your life is being threatened by the gays?

  • guest

    How does the city prevent you from having the opinion and beliefs that you want? Does the city probe your brain with mind-reading tools and punish you with electric shocks to your scrotum, or does the city propose that people should not commit acts that discriminate against an oppressed minority?

  • starguy8

    I did more than petition. I voted against him. And you can do that for Ms. Chan, if you like. THAT’S the American way.

  • starguy8

    First of all, you are NOT an oppressed minority. You want oppressed minority, go to Iran and Russia.
    Second of all, this ordinance stipulates that if I express an opinion about homosexuals that is different from yours, not only would I be ineligible from running for city office, I would also be blacklisted from any city government business contracts. THAT is how the city will prevent me from having the beliefs and opinions that I want.
    Yes, I believe it would be wrong for you to lose your job or not be hired just because of your sexual orientation. But that’s already stipulated in most job applications. And I feel that IF a business places a restriction against gays in its job applications, barring churches and religious organizations and conservative groups, the city has the right to turn away from them. But just because a business owner expresses an opinion against gay marriage or gay adoption, for example, or if they donate to a conservative organization, they should not be penalized for that. Do you understand that distinction? That is what this ordinance is about. It takes away our freedom of speech by penalizing us if we speak against any gay issue.

  • starguy8

    Officially, several friends, a cousin and two aunts who are out. I’m not sure how many qualify for consideration in your book.

  • Randy Bear

    This ordinance is being introduced and promoted BY San Antonians. Where did you get the fact it’s being promoted by non-San Antonians? That’s the biggest bunch of lies I’ve ever seen.

  • starguy8

    There was no reason for local initiation for this ordinance. Are you aware of any instances of discrimination against gays here in SA? And I’m speaking as a bisexual. Castro is acting the puppet by a nationwide coalition in exchange for their support of his political ambition. Have you ever seen the kind of division between San Antonians? That’s their aim.

  • Riely

    You mean Two Aunts Who Are Out? Well, now we have the scientific, statistical sample we have always needed! Case Closed!

  • Riely

    Goodness knows, it can’t be happening if my two AUNTS and I not aware of it!

  • Riely

    I can do that, obviously, yes. But it’s not ALL I can do! THAT’S pretty darn American as well. (Clinton Impeachment, anyone?)

  • Riely

    “This is like living in Nazi Germany”, eh? You are pathetic.

  • Randy Bear

    ROTFL @ starguy8. Speaking as the one who actually launched this effort 2 years ago, I can honestly tell you I am NOT a “nationwide coalition” asking for support from Castro. In fact, every single person involved is a San Antonian, asking only for help from national organizations for guidance on language from other cities.

    Regarding the reasons, I guess you’re one of those who purchase insurance after the auto accident or fire. There have been cases but no place to report them. As more and more LGBT individuals come out, the chances for discrimination rise.

    Just by your statement, you prove the need. The division is from people who seek to live their lives as they were born and those who seek to oppress them.

    Once again, as I read your comments, I had to pick myself back up off the floor from laughing at them.

  • Riely

    So, you’re gongit o throw out Iran & Russia, but still claim that you’re an oppressed Christian, eh? I’ll let former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, take it from here: “When you have any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word ‘persecuted’ very chastely,” he said. “I think (Christians in the West) are made to feel uncomfortable at times … Don’t confuse it with the systematic brutality and often murderous hostility which means that every morning you get up wondering if you and your children are going to make it through the day. That is different, it’s real. It’s not quite what we’re facing in Western society. (That) level of not being taken very seriously or being made fun of — I mean for goodness sake, grow up. You have to earn respect if you want to be taken seriously in society.”

  • starguy8

    Yeah, I thought that would get your attention. And I’m not the one claiming oppression. One of you buddies did. I was replying to him. Keep up.

  • mychelle

    “”By the way, this is politically incorrect,” she tells her aides later in the meeting. “I don’t think homosexual people should do adoption. They should be banned by adoption. You’re going to confuse those kids. They should be banned.”

    “Banned BY adoption?????”

    She can’t even compose a proper English sentence, much less represent the people of her district with fairness and compassion. I hope the heterosexual and homosexual population of her district there give her some real, honest, and compassionate education . . . and then vote her ass out!

  • guest

    I know I’m not an oppressed minority. I’m a straight, white male! That doesn’t mean that I will allow fellow citizens to be discriminated against.

  • Riely

    { sigh } ahem. Your quote, once again: “This is not the American city I thought I lived in. This is like living in Nazi Germany”. I assume you mean San Antonio, August 2013! YOU keep up, Star-Bi!

  • sam

    I have seldom ever left a comment on an article, but for this i must comment. Starguy and Riely, y’all are fucking dumb and over the top. One of you makes me disappointed in our collective consciousness and the other, embarrassed to be gay &/or remotely interested in standing up for my (our) own rights.

  • MH

    Considering that we don’t demand dowries of livestock and chattel in exchange for a wife in arranged marriages in this part of the world anymore, I’d say marriage has already been redefined more than once. But nice try.

  • MH

    If you’re embarrassed about who you are, and don’t care about having your rights trampled on, why should anyone care about what you think? Grow a pair, please. Some of us don’t believe in being discriminated against for no valid reason, and shouldn’t be criticized by those who don’t have the moral courage to speak out.

  • MH

    Bullshit. I was born and raised in San Antonio, have lived here for years after moving away for a bit, and I support this ordinance, as do many people I know, of all sexual orientations. It’s a common tactic of the xenophobe to blame outsiders and people who “aren’t like us” as a means of preventing any social change. Thankfully, while that tactic is still sadly somewhat effective, its benefits are fading with time as people figure it out.

  • toddklopfer

    Who is the idiot who believes that being raised by women will cause homosexuality?

  • Cindy

    I am all for free speech. Ms Chan is free to say whatever she likes. But I am astounded by the level of ignorance coming out of this room!

  • alcarrie

    She speaks what most Americans feel. It is not fair to children. She is right. She will win, because most agree!! Everyone is tired of LBGT freaks disturbing normality.

  • alcarrie

    Sorry, but all you can do is not vote for her. She has the right to say exactly what she did, and most agree with her.

  • alcarrie

    You do not impeach a councilwoman…..hahaha…there would not be enough freaks for a recall. Sorry.

  • SATom

    And where did she express her “vitriol” ? It wasn’t at a council meeting ! Wasn’t it at her headquarters ?
    How about the guy that showed his disloyalty by recording her comments ? Nothing has been said about his actions !

  • SATom

    BINGO !!! Someone finally said it !!! You said “I believe you’d have the right to sue them UNDER CURRENT FEDERAL AND STSTE LAWS ” !!!!!
    Answer me this “Why then do we need another law or ordinance ???

  • SATom

    Some people trust the people that work for them. Until they betray that trust !

  • ritadona

    Just because there are federal laws does not preclude a city from enacting similar laws to add to a person’s protection. The reverse is true, as well. Some states have laws that allow gay people to get married and have the same rights and privileges that a straight married couple would. For a long time the federal government did not recognize these marriages and did not confer upon these people the same rights that straight couples had. That’s why.

  • ritadona

    By the way, yeah, her “headquarters”? Unless she lives in a privately funded bat cave, she was in her tax-paid office at work.

  • Riely

    Yeah, it says a lot for Ms. Chan that she got treated like that, doesn’t it? She didn’t exactly earn the loyalty of her staff! But, mainly, the issue is that she was conducting a political strategy meeting in her office. Instead of working for her constituents, she was strategizing hoe to get re-elected. That kind of meeting has to happen elsewhere, not in City Hall. Get it?