Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser is not a lesbian but is "proud to be a straight ally of the LGBTQ community," she said this week in response to an activist's query.
Bowser was at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday for D.C.'s first homeless shelter dedicated to LGBTQ+ adults. While she was speaking, the Washington Blade reports, activist Ahmar Mustikhan said to her, "Mayor, I'm extremely grateful to you for the all the works that you have done so far for the LGBTQ community, including this shelter here. Mayor, I'm a little concerned because there is this word that you are lesbian and you are in this closet. Why is this the case?"
Bowser replied, "Well, I'm not in the closet," and there was laughter from the crowd before things moved on.
Mustikhan "describes himself on his Twitter account as the 'first openly gay man on earth from Balochistan,' a province in Pakistan that borders Iran and Afghanistan with a pro-independence movement,'" the Blade notes.
A reporter with TV station WRC, Washington's NBC affiliate, spoke to Bowser about the exchange Friday at a Democratic Party event. "I'm very proud to be a straight ally of the LGBTQ community," the mayor clarified. She said many people have commented that Mustikhan's question was "very inappropriate," adding, "I gave a very nuanced response to shut it down."
"We should not be, as elected officials, going into situations like that where we're talking about very real issues where people want to make them personal," she continued.
Bowser is running for her third term as mayor, having won her primary last month. She has a gay brother, Marvin Bowser.
The Blade has sought further comment from her but has received no response so far.
Major cities that have or have had lesbian mayors include Chicago, where Lori Lightfoot is currently in office; Tampa, Fla., where Jane Castor is mayor; Madison, Wis., where Satya Rhodes-Conway is in the post; Seattle, where Jenny Durkan held the office from 2017 to 2021; and Houston, where Annise Parker was mayor from 2010 to 2016.
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