In recent weeks I have attended events for the three major mayoral candidates for this spring’s city elections: former State Rep. Mike Villarreal, former State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, and former County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson.
Even though I had spoken with Mike Villarreal as recently as the HRC banquet in November, when I went to his campaign office opening I stood around for a good 20 minutes waiting to say hello while he greeted everyone but me. I was standing right next to him and he knew I was there, but it took more than 20 minutes for him to greet me. I waited until the event was almost over so I could sit down with him and chat about what is important to our community. He seemed uncomfortable around me. I do not feel that I can trust him with the transgender community.
I also attended an event where Tommy Adkisson announced his intention to run for mayor. Admittedly, Tommy knows me better than Mike does, but the greeting from Tommy was like night and day. Where Villarreal seemed to want to avoid me, Adkisson greeted me right away with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. A few years ago, when I was in desperate need of help, Tommy helped me, no questions asked. He is truly a man of the people and I think I could trust him with the Transgender community.
I first met Leticia Van de Putte in April 2003. Her aunt, Christie Lee Littleton-Van de Putte, a transgender woman, asked me to go with her to Austin to lobby for the inclusion of gender identity in nondiscrimination legislation. I, being just a few months into my transition, looked kind of rough: A dress that was too short and no clue with makeup. Despite that, Leticia greeted me with open arms.
It was Easter weekend and she was returning to San Antonio. She invited us to ride back with her. She insisted that I ride up front so she could chat with me on the way back. We even stopped for lunch and we chatted like we had been friends forever.
Five years later, in 2008, I was a delegate to the district 26 convention. I had been working with Choco Meza on the Hillary for President campaign and was helping to put on the convention. As the State Senator for District 26, Leticia Van De Putte was the MC of the event. The Democratic district conventions were crazy that year and I had been running my tail off, trying to keep people in line to register. I somehow lost my cell phone. I went to Leticia to ask her to announce something about my lost cell phone and a woman I had met once, five years earlier, not only remembered me but treated me like we had never lost touch.
I was a delegate to the state Democratic convention in 2008, 2010, and 2012. Each time Leticia has hosted a party for the district 26 delegates. There have been many times I have asked to see her about projects I have been working on and she has always been available with excellent advice.
In May 2013 I attended her “Governor for a day” event. In her speech she spoke to the Transgender community directly. Later we all lined up to get a picture with Leticia. The local Austin media was there. A day after the event I noticed that one of the local Austin stations had been using our photo togehter as their lead-in for coverage of the event. The next time I saw her I mentioned that the station had chosen to use footage of the Transgender community and she said, “Good! I’m glad they did.”
I could go on and on with other examples like this. The point is that I don’t just think I can trust her, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can trust her with my community. Yes, any one of them would be a good steward of the office, but I am speaking directly to the Transgender community when I say that we need Leticia Van de Putte as our next mayor.
I will be contributing all the time and money I can possibly afford to make sure she is elected and I urge my community to stand with me on this. We have a unique opportunity to greatly advance our community and quality of life with just one vote: Leticia Van de Putte for mayor of San Antonio.
Ruby Krebs is a community activist
Ed. note: This article has been updated to correct an error regarding 2003 nondiscrimination legislation.