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Palm Springs Elects Gay Mayor (November 4, 2003)

Ron_oden Rond_oden2 The U.S.'s first openly gay mayor, Kenneth Reeves, was elected in 1993 by voters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  10 years later, on November 4, 2003, Palm Springs, California (population 48,000) elected 53-year old Ron Oden (right) as its mayor, making him the first gay mayor of a gay resort destination. 

 

 

Previously, Palm Springs was most famous for having Sonny Bono as its mayor (1988-92) as well as hosting the Dinah Shore golf tournament, a popular springtime event for lesbians - now known as Dinah Shore Women's Weekend.  Oden also had another thing in common with the nation's first gay mayor - both were black.  (Cambridge has elected two other gay mayors since Reeves.)

 

 

 

U.S. cities which presently have openly gay mayors include Houston; Portland (OR); Providence (RI); Gainesville (FL); and Chapel Hill (NC).  And the newest member of the club, Jim Gray, was elected mayor of Lexington, KY two years ago.

 

Two fun books about Palm Springs are Palm Springs Holiday which provides a kitschy history of the resort from the 1910s through the 1960s and Palm Springs Babylon which recounts tawdry tales of the rich & famous.   

 

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