Embattled Northside San Antonio City Councilwoman Elisa Chan says she has received a true lesson in intolerance in the past week, but if the hatred and bullying directed at her was meant to intimidate her into supporting the controversial Gay and Lesbians Anti Discrimination ordinance, it didn't work.
In an emotional interview with 1200 WOAI's Joe Pags, Chan, who's secretly recorded comments in a City Hall strategy session about the ordinance were leaked by a former staffer, said she never even considered bowing to loud and hateful comments directed against her, including a bizarre comment from Mayor Castro that Chan is 'ignorant,' and either 'shutting up' on the issue or voting for a measure which she does not support.
"There are a lot of languages in this latest draft that I am very very uncomfortable with," Chan said when asked whether she will vote for the proposal. "It will be very difficult for me to support this with the current draft."
Chan pointed out that she can't make a final decision on whether to support the proposal because the final draft has not yet been written.
But she said the over the top reaction of supporters of the ordinance convinced her that their goal is not to support gays and lesbians at all, but it is to 'shut up and silence' anybody who disagrees with them.
"I believe that each one of us are entitled to have our own opinions, our own believes, especially when those thoughts, those private thoughts, were shared in a private confidential setting," she said.
Chan said growing up in Taiwan, she always looked to the United States as a place where freedom of speech was respected, but she is 'afraid' that certain radical elements are determined to stifle the free speech of those they don't like.
"This is really about can we have our own opinions, can we have our own opinions, and not be blasted over the media."
Chan also said the media 'wasn't very smart' in the way it described her remarks. She was repeated accused of 'homophobia,' which is a 'fear of homosexuality.' She says there is nothing in her secretly recorded comments that indicated she is afraid of homosexuals or the homosexual lifestyle, and she stressed she supports the right of all gays and lesbians to practice their lifestyle without facing any type of discrimination or intolerance.
But she says she, not gays and lesbians, is the one who had to deal with intolerance.
"I didn't do anything wrong," she said. "I just held on to my own personal beliefs, which should be protected."
As for that secretly recorded and leaked private conversation at her City Hall office, Chan says it was 'hurtful' to have somebody she had trusted betray not only her trust, but betray the confidentiality agreement that the individual signed.
And as to the former staffer's claims that he released the tape because he was concerned about the tenor of Chan's comments, Chan pointed out that after the conversation, the staffer asked her to be bumped up from part time to a full time position on her staff, so he must not have been that outraged by her remarks that he didn't want to keep taking his salary from her office.