Pugh could have selected perhaps one of the area high schools where there were reports of gay students being tormented.
Even if he felt that dealing with the issue has the deadly potential to siphon votes away from him in the race, it would at the same time afford him an opportunity to redefine his identity within the context of the political process.
He should do so especially when most gay advocacy groups around the nation are monitoring his election in Detroit very closely, and praising it as an example of how the nation is marching forward on the ever-burdening question of gay rights.
I don’t subscribe to the notion that Detroit is a straightjacket thinking community, because not everyone comes from the same experience and orientation.
If Pugh had addressed the issue of sexual preferences and how intolerance has affected the lives of many young people in Detroit’s high schools, I believe the majority of Detroiters would view him not through the lens of homophobia but as a real candidate for council.
Politics is about risk- taking and in this business that requires so much, men and women ought to stand for what they believe in. I respect people who stand on the principles that inform their sociopolitical philosophy and world view, not those who waver and hide behind political expediency.
I admire those who operate from their deep-seated political convictions. No matter how extreme their views may seem, at least they are willing to tell us where they stand on the crucial matters shaping our lives as members of this community.
That should be the definition of the call to public service – a belief in the principle of the public interest – drawing from one’s reality and existence.
That is why anytime someone approaches me at restaurants to discuss the candidates and frowns at Pugh because of his sexuality, I always challenge them to make their positions known publicly.
The issue of gay rights is part of the larger debate regarding human rights and the true measure of our conscience, and we in Detroit cannot sideline the issue.
Yes, there could be a political price to pay in addressing this issue. But what hard political decisions don’t come with a price?
“For him it would be political suicide. Detroit is not ready to speak to gay issues and that is why so many men and women are in the closet,” said renowned author Terrance Dean, a native of Detroit.
But I disagree with Dean, who is also gay.
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