On Wednesday, the Observer's politics site Politicker reported that the wife of 2013 mayoral candidate and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio had written an essay for Essence magazine entitled "I am a Lesbian" in 1979. The piece "frankly discussed her sexuality and expressed gratitude that she came to terms with her preference for women before marrying a man." Now the Post has a source who says the story was... sapphotage (the Post's headline is actually "De Blasio lesbian ‘leak’ was political sapphotage").
Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray met in 1991, when they both worked under Mayor David Dinkins, married in 1994, and have two children together. But in 1979, the then-24-year-old McCray wrote:
I survived the tears, the isolation and the feeling that something was terribly wrong with me for loving another woman. Coming to terms with my life as a lesbian has been easier for me than it has been for many. Since I don’t look or dress like the typical bulldagger, I have a choice as to whether my sexual preference is known... I have also been fortunate because I discovered my preference for women early, before getting locked into a traditional marriage and having children.
She was also a part of a black feminist lesbian group and wrote poetry about being a lesbian, but Politicker noted how her bio on her husband's campaign website doesn't specifically reference her background as a lesbian activist or lesbian poet: It "notes her affiliation with the Combahee River Collective, however it omits any mention of the group’s lesbian roots and simply refers to it as 'a pioneering black feminist collective.'"
After the story came out, Chirlane de Blasio issued this statement on the matter: "In the 1970s, I identified as a lesbian, and wrote about it. In 1991, I met the love of my life, married him, and together we've raised two amazing kids. I'm reminded every day how lucky I am to have met my soulmate."
Okay, so why are we still talking about this? Well the Post's source, an operative "who has been involved in Democratic politics for three decades," claims the story was "designed to prevent any growth beyond [de Blasio's] rock-solid base... This has to hurt him." We can't wait for the Post article that says Alec Baldwin's de Blasio support "has to help him"! Oh wait—here it is.
Meanwhile the Observer's Hunter Walker, who wrote the piece, says that the Post's implication that the stoy was a "leak" is "1,000 percent false." He tells us he found the Essence article when helping a colleague research a Bill de Blasio profile and found his wife's poetry pretty quickly via a Google search. Then he went to the Schomberg Center to make a copy of the article (which he posted with his story). FWIW, Walker's parents are two lesbians; when he was asked yesterday what they thought, he Tweeted, "Spoke to one this morning, she liked it and pointed to Milk's ideas that no one should shy away from discussing their identity."