Oklahoma’s first openly gay legislator visits Dallas

Posted on 18 Jan 2007 at 7:06pm
By David Webb Staff Writer

McAffrey says Democratic Party shouldn’t dwell on social issues



State Rep. Al McAffrey

From one “blue” region to another, gay Oklahoma Rep. Al McAffrey is coming to share his experiences with Dallas’ political activists.

“We have a lot in common with his district,” said Jesse Garcia, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. “He’s in a little blue island of Oklahoma City, and he’s coming to Dallas County where there’s another blue island in a sea of red.”

McAffrey, who will make three appearances in Dallas over this weekend, Oct. 19-21, said in a telephone interview he hopes to help inspire members of the Dallas County Democratic Party to turn out the vote when he addresses them at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19, at a fish fry at SOKOL, 7448 Greenville Ave.

“We’ll talk about being Democrats, and how we have to get out and get other Democrats out to vote,” McAffrey said. “We need to quit worrying about social issues. Social issues will come. I truly believe this.”

McAffrey said has seen, even in Oklahoma, that new people coming into the Legislature are more open toward accepting LGBT people.

“Gay issues are not issues with them,” McAffrey said.
McAffrey said he hopes Democrats will develop a strategy to prevent conservative Republicans from using wedge issues against them.

“Don’t let the Republican Party have the voice on abortion, gay rights or any other controversial issues,” McAffrey said. “When they bring those up, let’s talk about the issues that matter to all Democrats and all people in the U.S.”
McAffrey said it is better to focus on issues such as health care and senior care.

“These are the things we have to talk about that really make a difference in everybody’s lives,” McAffrey said. “We talk about those issues, and the other social issues will be taken care of.”

McAffrey said when he makes presentations at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, to Stonewall Democrats of Dallas at 698l Forest Glade Circle at 6 p.m., and to LGBT residents at a meet and greet on Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Metro Grill from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., he plans to talk about being a gay politician in the Oklahoma Legislature.

“I want to talk to the gay groups about how I won the election and about how I am perceived now as an openly gay legislator in the state House of Representatives,” McAffrey said.

McAffrey said it is important for LGBT people to get involved in volunteer work and in helping fund campaigns.
“We’ve got to find people who are willing to step up to the plate,” McAffrey said. “If you want a representative you can call, you have to support them.”

Garcia said he met McAffrey last summer and was impressed with him.

“He’s an amazing person,” Garcia said. “I just have nice things to say about him.”

Garcia noted that he contacted McAffrey, asking for his help in the unsuccessful effort to stop the Oklahoma Legislature from passing anti-immigration legislation. Although the effort failed, McAffrey worked hard to prevent the legislation from passing and voted against it, he said.

“He was able to help get us a voice,” Garcia said.

Attending McAffrey’s appearances on Friday and Saturday require the purchase of $25 tickets. Admission to the meet and greet on Sunday is free, and the first100 people to arrive at the event receive a free drink.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the October 19, 2007 edition of the Dallas Voice.

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