California Assemblyman Mike Davis was publicly outed by a supporter
at a recent, Los Angeles-based Stonewall Democratic Club meeting, Frontiers news editor Karen Ocamb reports on her blog, LGBT POV. At the time, the gay political club was considering whether or not to endorse him.
Ryan Tedder of Queerty also writes about the news.
According to Ocamb, Davis' sexual orientation has been an "open secret" for years in political circles.
The Democrat represents the 48th district, which includes such communities as Koreatown, West Adams and Wilshire Center. Davis also served as an aide to former Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Yet, on Monday night, that secret was soon revealed after members of the Stonewall Dems hesitated to endorse Davis since he abstained from voting on a 2007 pro-same sex marriage bill, a 2009 Harvey Milk Day bill, and another 2009 bill that would allow California to recognize out-of-state marriages, Ocamb reports.
It's the kind of record that would make any self-respecting gay man or woman slow to throw his or her full endorsement behind Davis.
But then things got very interesting at the Stonewall Dems meeting.
Jimmie Woods Gray, a straight, African American woman and longtime politico who once chaired the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, apparently couldn't believe the gay Democrats were wary of Davis.
So Gray, who was there to speak on the behalf of Davis, told the crowd in what Ocamb describes as an "exasperated tone," "He's gay! He's a member of the community. We should support him."
Ocamb, a top-notch, veteran journalist, then called Davis' office, where spokesman Steven Miller Jr. said his boss's sexual orientation is a "personal and private issue" -- sounds like he's taking a page from Olympic ice skater Johnny Weir.
Now Ocamb and a whole bunch of other people are waiting to see if Davis will come out of the closet officially.
Stonewall Democratic Club President John Cleary recently told Ocamb:
"Look, it's important for us to recognize how we are even having this discussion. In a debate about whether to endorse Mike Davis for Assembly, a prominent leader in the African American community and straight ally rose and said this in support of Mike Davis. She clearly thought that this is something to be celebrated and honored. That's actually remarkable, because for an outing to be intended so positively, that means our society has come a long way."
Queer Town also thinks Jimmie Woods Gray was looking to score some political points with the Stonewall Dems, even though Davis has apparently been living with an "open secret" and has missed three important votes involving gay-friendly legislation.
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Back to Cleary ...
"We all know coming out is among the most intensely personal experiences, both challenging and rewarding, that anyone can ever experience in life. If Mike Davis is gay and wants to acknowledge it, the LGBT and African American communities would do well to be unconditionally supportive and to give Mike the space to take it from here."
The ball, as they say, is in Davis' court.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.