Ron Oden Elected in Palm Springs, Becoming America’s First Black Gay Mayor
First elected to the Palm Springs City Council in 1995, Ron Oden successfully ran for mayor in November of 2003. This marked the first time that an out Black leader had ever become mayor of an American city. During Oden’s tenure, Palm Springs experienced tremendous growth, and the city’s budget doubled over the course of his term. Oden served one term and unsuccessfully ran for seats in the California State Assembly and Congress. He made a comeback bid in 2015, but lost the Palm Springs mayoral race to Robert Moon.