Following Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s announcement of his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Rand Paul, listener Tracey wrote to us on Facebook, “I would like to ask that the reference to Mayor Gray as Lexington's first openly gay mayor be stopped. It's irrelevant to his campaign. If the descriptor remains, then all the candidates should be described by their sexual identity also.”
We wrote back to Tracey agreeing that hers is a valid and appropriate question that we take very seriously. News Director Jonese Franklin and I have discussed it and it's been an issue often discussed in journalistic circles. We agree that a government official or candidate's sexual identity should not be an issue.
In the case of Mayor Gray, his election as an "openly gay man" was historic in Kentucky and was noted at that time. Our News Department felt that his candidacy for the Senate is a similar situation, deserving similar acknowledgment. We do not expect it to be a major issue during the upcoming campaign but, should Mr. Gray become the Democratic nominee or elected, his sexuality will almost certainly be acknowledged at such times as well.
We see such references as similar to those regarding racial minorities or other factors that become part of public conversations during political campaigns and elections.
Here’s another Facebook comment. This one from Alyce, following last week’s winter storm, “Thank you for being on the air when most could not get out. That's dedication.”
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