Neil Giuliano (R)
Born October 26, 1956
Elected to City Council 1990
Elected Mayor 1994
Came out in August 1996
Re-elected 1998, 2000, 2001 (term expanded to four years; Giuliano served until 2004)
Neil Giuliano is the youngest person ever elected Mayor of Tempe and he served 10 years. He became president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in September, 2005.
From Out and Elected in the USA
Excerpts from a speech delivered to the San Francisco Log Cabin Republicans Annual Dinner, June 27, 1998:
…There is one thing you need to know as I begin my remarks. In the interest of full disclosure, you should be aware that in Arizona, local elected officials do not run with a political party designation – we’re elected on a non-partisan ballot and in fact, I very much appreciate that it has been a very broad coalition of voters in Tempe who have supported my public service involvement over the years.
Being an openly gay Republican elected official in Arizona these days is interesting. Just being out has provided important opportunities to educate and challenge the stereotypes and the long-held feelings about gay people by many Republicans…. Living in Arizona, one of the earliest Republican presidential primary states, we’ve been having a steady stream of presidential contenders come to town…
I attended a breakfast with Elizabeth Dole several weeks ago in Phoenix. It was a lovely event. Mrs. Dole was charming and gracious as usual. During her remarks, as she tends to do, she was introducing and commenting on people in the audience. She is very good with this format. She said how pleased she was that Mayor Giuliano was here this morning. That his support of the American Red Cross has always been terrific. I smiled, thinking she couldn’t possibly know of that $20 contribution in 1997. She went on to say how great it was that, how along with my family, I was a volunteer that made a difference. Now, I’m smiling, but getting nervous about where she is going with her comments. The best part comes when she says she’s just sure I’ll still make time for the Red Cross, even being as busy as I am now that I am the father of triplets! (It was the mayor of Phoenix who has triplets!) The audience was very polite, and aside from some great snickers at my table and smiles from those in view, the moment passed. But the best is yet to come.
Immediately when she finished her remarks, which were nice, appropriate, and well received, one of her staff is at my side. “We’re so sorry Mayor Giuliano, Mrs. Dole would very much appreciate it if she can apologize in person.” I said, “Sure,” and felt relieved someone had clued her in about the mistake. Those things do happen.
She was having photos taken and receiving guests when we approached. She stepped aside and, with everyone watching and listening, put her hands on the side of my arms and in her most soft spoken voice said, “Mayor Giuliano, I am so sorry.”
“No Problem,” I say, “I understand these things can happen.”
“Well,” says Mrs. Dole, “I am just so embarrassed, the only person who could possibly be more embarrassed and shocked about me saying you had triplets would be your wife!”
I just smiled, said, “Thank you,” and took leave before having a good laugh. As did everyone else. I’m told she called the wife of the mayor of Phoenix later that day – I wonder if she was ever told the entire story! So, life can be quite interesting as a gay Republican, giving people reason to rethink old stereotypes and fears, especially in circles that just don’t want to deal with such topics most of the time. Which is why your being here tonight is so important. Your involvement and your visibility in the Republican Party do make a difference. It does provoke thought, discussion and a level of “dealing with such topics” that is very necessary for our party and our nation….
For information on a touring exhibit version of Out and Elected in the USA: 1974-2004, contact Ron Schlittler at firstname.lastname@example.org.