Disgusting Homophobic Remarks from San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan Caught in Secret Recording

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San Antonio Councilman Carlton Soules (left) and Councilwoman Elisa Chan (right) plan to vote against equality on Sept. 5.

(Updated 8.17.13 to include San Antonio's LGBT community's reaction)

“So disgusting!” is what San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan thinks of gay people and San Antonio's LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance.

Earlier this month, we covered a piece on Fox News' highly flawed report of Mayor Julian Castro's proposal to add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to the city's non-discrimination ordinance. According to the opposition, the ordinance would just bar Christians from serving in the city council.

Now, a secret recording provides us with much more genuine motives from those that oppose the ordinance.

This past May, Councilwoman Elisa Chan was meeting with members of her staff to discuss the proposal and try to attempt to come up with a strategy to oppose the ordinance without seeming so intolerant.

In the course of the meeting, Chan expressed her highly distorted views on homosexuality — which range from confusion about how stuff works to, well, really intolerant beliefs.

Listen to the secret recording after the jump.

The meeting, according to her now former staff, James Stevens, who recorded the conversation, was to come up with a strategy to appeal to the voting base and to get them to oppose the ordinance. But, ultimately, Chan ended up spending “80 percent of the meeting talking about how disgusting homosexuality is.”

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

“This is my philosophy, guys,” Chan goes on. “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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Chan believes being gay is a choice, doesn't believe gay people should be allowed to adopt children, thinks gay people can tell when someone else is gay because they shave, thinks they could take hormone shots, and is confused by the thought of someone being pansexual, claiming it's all just crazy talk.

She asked her aides to come up with a draft of talking points, without being so straightforward about her bigotry, addressing LGBT non-discrimination as an issue that is not an issue. That they have never heard of anyone that is gay being discriminated against. And, also, to throw in the family value zing at the end for added value.

“We do not want to attack any group,” Chan ends saying. “I'm respectful of their choices, right? Even though I don't believe that, but they're free people, they can do whatever they want to do. But … don't just come back and say you're being discriminated.”

According to Stevens, Chan is only concerned about her political future. Just this past Thursday, Chan wouldn't confirm rumors she plans to run for mayor in 2015.

Congressman Joaquin Castro has sent out a tweet denouncing Chan's remarks.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro called Chan's remarks “hurtful and ignorant.” That no one should believe they represent the views of San Antonians. San Antonio is a city that welcomes everyone and appreciates diversity.

As an openly gay man, I feel deeply disturbed by Chan's comments. These are the exact views and remarks so many LGBT people are forced to endure growing up, and the very reasons why gay discrimination has been so blatantly allowed all these years. The reasons for why so many of our LGBT youth decide their lives are not worth living and end up killing themselves.

These are the remarks your LGBT friends, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, sons and daughters, mothers, and fathers are forced to continue to put up with in Texas, and more than half the country, legally. Councilwoman Chan is not a true representative of the people of San Antonio. And she's not a true representative of American values.

But not all is bad in the world. Check out Stephen Colbert's “People Who Are Destroying America,” segment of the story of openly gay Mayor Johnny Cummings of Vicco, Ky. The town became one of the smallest in the country to pass a non-discrimination ordinance this year.

Watch the segment until the very end. It might help restore your faith in humanity.

Updated 8.17.13

Community coalition CAUSA, Community Alliance for a United San Antonio, is calling for Councilwoman Chan to resign.

According to CAUSA spokesman, Daniel Graney, Chan solicited the group's support — which mostly consists of LGBT organizations — two years ago when she was running for office. They say she offered to support the employment non-discrimination ordinance that would provide protections for LGBT people.

Chan was shamelessly giving the LGBT groups lip service to get their votes.

“Because of the clear animous she holds against a segment of her constituency, she is no longer fit to remain in office. CAUSA, therefore, demands that she resign immediately,” said Graney.


About Author

Omar Araiza

Staff writer Omar Araiza covers immigration, Latino voters, the U.S.-Mexico border, and LGBT issues. He is a proud South Texas native, born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Omar tweets from @AraizaTX.


  1. She needs to resign
    As evidenced by her bigoted remarks, District 10 Councilwoman Chan is an embarrassment and needs to resign.  

    Also heard in this recording is Jeff Bazan, who is now the chief of staff for District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg.  In the recording, Bazan can be heard making slippery-slope arguments about bestiality and adult-on-adult incest.  He too needs to resign.

    Incidentally, the photograph above also shows District 9 Councilman Carlton Soules, who opposes adding sexual orientation and gender identity to San Antonio's nondiscrimination ordinance, citing concerns about which restroom transgender individuals would use if such discrimination were banned.

      • From Councilman Ron Nirenberg
        Councilman Ron Nirenberg released the following statement today:

        SAN ANTONIO (Aug. 16, 2013) — “Over the last several months, our city has engaged in a dialogue about what it means to be equal under the law, about discrimination, about hate, and about treating people with fairness and dignity. The intent of the nondiscrimination ordinance being debated is to ensure that under no circumstances should the government enable a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen to be discriminated against for who they are.

        In a larger sense, the ordinance itself forces us to look within ourselves, and consider at what price we are willing to reaffirm the founding principle of our democracy: that in the eyes of the law, all people are created equal.

        The tape recording made of Councilwoman Elisa Chan's staff meeting revealed some very ignorant and disturbing comments, some of them made by Jeff Bazan, who has since become a member of my staff. I have spoken with Jeff, and he has apologized for those statements, which he says do not reflect his personal feelings. I believe him to be sincere. I also met with my entire staff, letting them know that those comments do not reflect my views and they are unacceptable for any member of my team. Further, Jeff would not have been hired if I thought him to be the person I heard on the tape.

        Hate has no place in San Antonio. We cannot turn our backs on the existing divisions that have revealed themselves during this debate. We need to heal our divisions as a community, and we can only achieve that by revealing them and addressing them together.

        Our staff has experienced that today. Effective immediately, I have placed Jeff Bazan on an indefinite administrative leave. I hope that he will take the time to reflect and to heal. Our community must now engage in similar reflection over the issues that divide us. I believe that the successful passage of the nondiscrimination ordinance will be an important step in that process.

        That is why, after months of deliberation and refinement, today, I am also announcing my support of the latest draft of the nondiscrimination ordinance. Every San Antonian deserves equal protection under the law, and I look forward to casting my vote to ensure it.”

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