At the Table with West Hollywood Mayor Duran

Thanksgiving and traditions look different to every person. But what does Thanksgiving look like when you’re not surrounded by your family? The Pride L.A. sat down with the City of West Hollywood’s Mayor John Duran to talk about his holiday experiences and the longstanding tradition of “Friendsgiving” in the LGBTQ+ community.

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Do you have any comments about the results from the 2018 Midterm elections?

Oh it was a big win for LGBT people it certainly was a big win. First of all we took over the house which means that we can stop all the really bad stuff that the Tea Party or Donald Trump might have had in store.

But beyond that we have you know Kate Brown is now out bisexual Governor of Oregon and Jared Polis, who’s a friend of mine, as the outgoing governor of Colorado and yeah that was big money with out lesbian member of Congress in Kansas of all places.

Let’s launch right into the fun part. Do you have any specific things you like to do each year?

Yes, I go to my mother and father’s. I am a native Angeleno, so I will go back to Santa Fe Springs. My mother passed away in March, so this will be the first Thanksgiving without her. She was an elected official too. She was on school board member for many years and she was the mayor. She’s my inspiration. And so we will carry on that tradition. My father, my brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces… everybody.

That’s wonderful. Any other traditions?

In the evening, I play lesbian poker every Thanksgiving. A [friend] group of lesbians and I play poker and I always lose.

It’s interesting to see like the transgiving or friendsgiving in the LGBT community because a lot of LGBT members can’t go to their families sometimes.

Right, right. Very true. I have both a birth family and chosen family. I’m very fortunate because my family has been supportive since I came out in the 1970s and they’ve been by my side through the last 40 years to this. So it’s been great. It is wonderful. I also created an LGBT family around here.

Is West Hollywood is doing anything specific for the LGBT community around the holidays?

Most  [LGBTQ] people in West Hollywood come from somewhere else. Very few native West Hollywood people are around during the holidays. So often on Thanksgiving Day, many of our residents are traveling. The city… it’s kind of dead Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Cranberries because they’re sweet and tart, just like me! I like them fresh or canned. It doesn’t matter.

What is your favorite type of pie?

I don’t really eat desserts because I’m very much into health and fitness and try to stay physically fit. But I guess if I had one it would be lemon meringue. I feel like it’s light and airy.

Is there anything you want to tell the LGBT community that might not feel that they have the power or support they need?

Moving into the future, keep them positive. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.