Annise Parker Stuns Doubters with Houston Mayoral Election Victory
Annise Parker’s election as mayor of Houston, Texas, in December 2009 was a sign of the progress the LGBTQ community had made in just a few short decades. As the first openly LGBTQ person elected mayor of a major U.S. city, it merited news briefs on the front page of The Times of India, among other international news outlets.
“Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the doors to history,” Parker said on election night with her partner, Kathy Hubbard, their three children, and her mother on stage with her, the Houston Chronicle reported December 12, 2009. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who thought we could never achieve high office . . . But now, from this moment, let us join as one community. We are united in one goal in making this city the city that it could be, should be, can be, and will be.”
The Houston Chronicle later published a comic with the title “The Gay Agenda, REVEALED,” showing the-newly elected Parker carting in boxes labeled “transportation,” “economy” and “pensions.”
Parker won with help from her “secret weapon,” Victory Fund and Victory Institute. She had gone through Victory Institute’s Candidate & Campaign Training, and when she was Houston’s city controller in 2005, she participated in the Bohnett Leaders Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School. LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed Parker in all of her past campaigns for local office. She served six years as controller, six years as an at-large member of the city council, and as mayor from 2010 to 2016.
“The most powerful political thing we can do is to come out on an individual basis,” Parker said. “Every one of us makes a difference. But when public officials come out and publicly advocate, we have ways to touch people’s lives that other people cannot. The impact is magnified.”
Parker became President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund and LGBTQ Victory Institute in 2017 – the first former elected official to serve in the role.