Mayor issues stern letter about homophobia in Somerville

somerville mayor joe joseph curtatone
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/METRO

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone is publicly scolding the persons who used homophobic slurs to describe the city’s first openly gay alderman. 

In an open letter to the public that was dated Tuesday, Curtatone said the official, whom he did not name, is a friend of his and that the offensive remarks have no place in Somerville. (The full letter can be read below.)

“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,” Curtatone wrote in the letter. “Not only do I personally condemn all anti-gay slurs and insults, the City of Somerville has an ordinance on the books that proudly informs every resident and guest of our city that we stand in solidarity with all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as all residents of any gender, age or ethnicity.”

Curtatone’s letter refers to comments made against recently-appointed Alderman Courtney O’Keefe. She was appointed to the board April 25.

O’Keefe told Metro that there were two comments made against her sexuality, including one person who called her the “dyke candidate.” According to the Somerville Journal, a columnist for the paper was singled out by Alderman Bob Trane for allegedly berating O’Keefe after a meeting. The columnist told the Journal he e-mailed O’Keefe a few hours after their conversation and apologized.

She said the ignorant comments were “disheartening,” but they didn’t change her opinion about serving on the Board of Alderman or running for election in November.

“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.

O’Keefe said she read Curtatone’s letter and never had anyone stick up for her the way he did. She said it was emotional to read.

“He really put himself out there and not only supported me, but every gay, lesbian, transgender person, anybody who is different. It doesn’t even have to be a gay thing. It’s not even a gay thing. It’s about anyone who is different,” she said.

Cutratone’s full letter can be read below:

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Bike-sharing is in Philadelphia's future

The B-Cycle bike that Philadelphia will use is already part of bike-sharing services across the nation and in Santiago, Chile.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

The Word

Taylor Swift has a hard time leaving the…

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

Going Out

Spend an evening in Franklin Square

Support historic Franklin Square on May 15 during the sixth annual Evening in Franklin Square soiree. The evening includes dinner, dancing, a silent auction and…

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.