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Outed Austin Fire Chief Not Gay

Outed Austin Fire Chief Not Gay


The president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP says he outed the city's fire chief as a way to defend her, despite her claims that she is actually straight.

Austin NAACP president Nelson Linder was expressing his concern about intercepted e-mails among city officials with unflattering opinions of Austin fire chief Rhoda Mae Kerr. In one e-mail, Mayor Lee Leffingwell referred to Kerr as a "company man." Another e-mail from Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez shows him calling city manager Marc Ott and assistant city manager Mike McDonald, who are both black, "jokes."

Linder said it's clear that Martinez has animosity toward Kerr over her promotion of black candidates for jobs in the past. He also said that because it was "public knowledge" that Kerr is a lesbian, calling her a "company man" is "implicitly a sexual slur."

"I just think it's ugly," Linder added, according to the Austin Chronicle, "and those kind of comments in this kind of context, with three folks who are black and one white female who was gay -- that was my take on that."

Later, Kerr told reporters that she is not a lesbian and that the Chronicle did not confirm her sexual orientation.

"I am not a gay woman," Kerr told the Austin-American Statesman Thursday. "I am totally supportive of all of my LGBT friends and workers and employees. I would just like the record to be straight that I am not a gay woman."

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