San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is the first openly gay person to be elected mayor of San Diego and says that this Pride Week is a chance for him to reflect on that milestone.
"For me, it's really a humbling thing because I recognize that there are a lot of folks who sacrificed a lot to provide this opportunity for me," Mayor Gloria said. "I would say it’s a reflection of the decency of San Diegans. I’m a third-generation San Diegan, I’ve lived here my entire life, I believe deeply in how wonderful people we are as a city and the fact that they're willing to judge me on my merits and not my orientation it makes me proud to be a San Diegan."
Gloria says that making the decision to be public about his personal life was deliberate.
"I think when talking about elected officials honesty is important. I always told people that I’ll be honest with people, we can agree or disagree, but I’ll always tell you the truth and that starts with who I am," he said.
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He also said he hopes San Diegans who are members of the LGBTQ community feel heard and represented too.
"I recognize that for a lot of people seeing folks like them in government is also important. Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of people like myself reflected in government and I think that now particularly is an important time to make sure that people feel seen, feel heard, are part of the dialogue, part of the solutions," he said.
Gloria said that he, too, has faced and still faces discrimination and challenges because of his orientation.
"Some of the comments I get today from folks who are maybe opposed to my ideas or vision for the city, you know, it's not uncommon for them to use a term for a gay person as a part of their criticism," he said.
He notes that only ever working for and alongside female elected leaders has also given him a perspective on how to handle unwarranted criticism.
"My goal of course is to be the first, but not the last and the way to do that is to be persistent in this matter and tune out those folks who are bigoted and prejudiced," Gloria said.
This week for the first time in San Diego history an LGBTQ Pride Flag was hung from City Hall.
You can catch the full interview with the Mayor on Politically Speaking which airs on Sunday, June 13 at 4:30 P.M. on NBC San Diego.