Homophobic slurs directed at alderman at meeting

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WHDH) — A local lawmaker’s colleagues are standing behind her after homophobic slurs were made toward Somerville Alderman Courtney O'Keefe at a city council meeting

"At first, it was pretty disheartening. But I want people to know that it's not reflectionary of the city of Somerville,” said Courtney O’Keefe, Somerville alderman.

One of the comments was reportedly made in the City Hall chamber. Another was relayed through word of mouth.

"To have two people make comments like that, it was hard to hear but it all comes with the game when you become a public official," said O’Keefe.

O'Keefe, unlike those before her, is the city's first openly gay elected official. She was appointed to the board on April 25th. The homophobic slurs soon followed.

"If they want to say things like that, that's fine. It's not how the city of Somerville feels," O’Keefe said.

The mayor of Somerville spoke out in an open letter to the public saying “This is a diverse community…Something city leaders pride themselves on.

So if something like this happens, the worst thing they can do is say nothing.”

"We're going to stand up for individual rights, for decency, anyone who wants to live, work, play or raise their families here. For all human beings. When this type of conduct occurs we're not going to tolerate it. We're going to call it out, and we're going to call it for what it is,” said Mayor Joe Curtatone.

People who live in Somerville say a person's sexuality should have nothing to do with their politics.

O'Keefe says it only makes her want to serve her city more.

"To be somebody that gay and lesbian students can look at and know that there's somebody in their city government who’s just like them, that's awesome for me,” said O’Keefe.

O’Keefe told 7News she’s also received support on her Facebook page.

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