Somerville Mayor publicly condemns homophobic language directed at appointed official

By Cathy Kristofferson, May 15, 2013

curtatoneAh, but were every city’s Mayor so enlightened. The Mayor of Somerville, MA, Joseph Curtatone, has publicly chastised the use of homophobic language against a recently appointed official, Alderman Courtney O’Keefe.  He is using the opportunity to remind everyone demanding the respect of all.

Mayor Curtatone’s open letter starts out:

“It has come to my attention that offensive, homophobic slurs have been publicly spoken about a Somerville elected official, and a friend of mine. In light of this information, let me renew my stance on this and any other derogatory remarks against human beings in ours and another other community: This kind of abusive behavior has no place in our city – or any other.”

It only gets better from there! Full letter is below.

The offensive language reportedly used was two comments made against the Board of Alderman member’s sexuality included one person who called her the “dyke candidate.” A second incident occurred sometime after O’Keefe took office, in that case, the individual suggested that a homophobic sign be placed in Magoun Square, O’Keefe’s home neighborhood.

O’Keefe’s response:

“It doesn’t make me want to do this any less. It makes me want to do this more,” she told Metro. “I’ve been out for 15 years and never had anyone say anything about my sexual orientation until now. It’s that typical thing; you become a public official and they nit pick everything about you.

“I’m from Somerville. They think that dyke candidate … is going to rattle my cage? It’s going to take a little more than that,” she said.

After Melanie’s post yesterday of that mapping project showing all those hate tweets across this whole country, this sort of public support from a government official is very welcome.

If you feel inspired, perhaps send a thank you email to the Mayor. Or forward it on to your Town or City Hall as a reminder of what we expect from our public officials!


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