Rue Landau Is First Out LGBTQ+ Person Elected to Philadelphia City Council

Author: Trudy Ring

Philadelphia made history Tuesday by electing its first out LGBTQ+ City Council member, lesbian Rue Landau.

“I have three simple and powerful words for you: We did it,” she told supporters gathered at Cockatoo, a bar and restaurant catering to the LGBTQ+ community, TV station WHYY reports.

Landau, a Democrat, was elected to an at-large (citywide) seat on the council. There have been closeted LGBTQ+ council members previously — John C. Anderson and Ethel Allen — and Landau gave a shout-out to them in her victory speech. She also mentioned Gloria Casarez, the city’s first director of LGBT affairs, who died in 2014.

“They remind us of the progress we’ve made and the work that remains,” Landau said. “I thank you and know that you’re watching right now and to one of my dearest friends and personal heroes and mentors, I wish so much I could share this moment, Gloria Casarez. … You’re as much a part of tonight as any of us.”

Landau, who had no significant opposition in the election, is a longtime activist. She was director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and the Fair Housing Commission for 12 years. She also has been an attorney with Community Legal Services, and early in her activist career, she was a member of ACT UP and other grassroots organizations. She and her wife, Kerry Smith, were the first same-sex couple in Pennsylvania to receive a marriage license.

Landau was endorsed by the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund. Its president and CEO, Annise Parker, released this statement: “Rue’s victory … is a cause for celebration for Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ community, who will be represented on in City Hall for the first time. Voters spoke loudly and clearly — Philadelphians want to make progress and they trust Rue to bring their voices to the Council. We’re excited to see Rue take office and get to work making Philadelphia a more equitable city for all.”

LPAC also endorsed Landau, and its executive director, Lisa Turner issued this statement: “Philadelphia has gone without LGBTQ representation in city government for far too long. We’re thrilled that Rue Landau, who has spent her career fighting for social justice and equity for our community, is the one to break this barrier. We’re proud to stand with Rue as she begins this next chapter in elected office.”

Landau will be sworn in January 2.

“Without a doubt, I am the first and I absolutely will not be the last,” she said at her victory celebration, according to WHYY. “I am hoping there are many more seats on council and [a] variety of other levels of government for any LGBTQ+ person who wants to hold those positions. And I sure will help folks get into those positions.”

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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