Throughout my public service career, I have quietly promoted an issue that is close to my heart: the importance of civil rights for LGBT individuals. Over the years, my husband Christopher has attended numerous public events and functions with me. The Redondo Beach and South Bay Community has personally become familiar with the two of us being together and doing the things that any other married elected official couple would do. Redondo Beach residents would frequently see and converse with us while shopping for groceries and running other errands through town. In 2012, I was honored as the Morris Kight Political Grand Marshal of the Long Beach, CA LGBT Pride Parade.
In 2011, I had the honor of appearing on NPR’s “All Things Considered” program with Karen Grigsby-Bates. Ms. Grigsby-Bates interviewed several Mayors from throughout the county for her piece “Governing in Tough Times” and discussed how each Mayor was dealing with the Great Recession in their cities. During the program, Ms. Grigsby-Bates highlighted a photo of me and my husband, Christopher. After the program aired, I received many positive and supportive comments from the community and beyond, that my husband was featured on a national radio program. While the program was not specifically geared towards LGBT issues, I found an opportunity to help spread the importance of civil rights for LGBT individuals throughout our community and Nation.
One of my proudest moments on a national stage came during my farewell speech in January at the 2013 Winter Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. Since 2009, I have had the honor of serving on the Advisory Board of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). The USCM membership is comprised of Mayors of the principal cities from throughout the United States whose cities’ populations exceed 30,000. At the end of my farewell speech, I pointed out my husband Christopher in the audience and personally thanked him for always being with me throughout my service as Mayor. The room full of several hundred mayors from throughout the United States gave me a standing ovation.
Michael A. Gin is Mayor of Redondo Beach, CA.