My name is Annise Parker and I am the Mayor of Houston Texas.
I knew that I was gay, began putting a name to it when I was twelve, didn’t come out until I was fifteen. I fell in love with a girl who was a year older than I, sixteen. Started a torrid relationship, first love, magnetic, had to be around each other all the time. Unfortunately her mother walked in on us when we were kissing and decreed we could never see each other again and really – some real vicious comments. And so we couldn’t handle that, we had to be together, so we found ways to sneak around and see each other. We would double date, or each get dates with guys, have them take us to the movies and we kind of run into each other so we could sit together. All sorts of things. Anything to be together. So for months and months we had this double life going on. But I would also spend evenings sitting in the dark, staring up at her window – hours and hours at a time. Absolutely miserable. Couldn’t make me be fifteen again for anything in the world.
I spent the summer between my junior and senior year in college living with my parents. And I had not done that since I left home to go to college, but I stayed with them for the summer. And a younger woman from the university that I had been involved with and we carried on our relationship by phone which of course is before cell phones. I was racking up these long distance phone calls and was having a very hard time explaining to my parents why they were there. We went back to school in the fall and her mother went to the university and attempted to have me expelled. Actually, attempted to have both of us expelled because we were in a relationship with each other. And fortunately for me they explained to her that policies had changed. Times had changed. That might have been something that would have been done in the past but they didn’t do that anymore. Now they did call us in and inquire, individually, as to whether we were doing okay in school. Did we have any problems? Did we need any psychological concealing and we both said, “no.” Absolutely terrified. But the university dropped it.
A week or so later I received a letter in the mail from my mother and she had included a letter from my girlfriend’s mother to her and it was 8 pages. It started out, “Last year at Rice your daughter and my daughter had a big love affair” and went on and on about how she’d gone to the university and the university didn’t care and that my parents needed to probably pull me out of school and needed to make me stay away from her daughter. My mother just put it back in the envelope it came in and forwarded it to me. I guess it made her mother feel that I had somehow corrupted her daughter and if I got out of the picture it would be okay again. But no, her daughter’s still gay after all these years. It doesn’t just turn on and off, no.