Gay Mayors, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 15 2009 @ 7:20am

by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

I lived in Houston for over 30 years before moving to the Northwest.  Portland should be counted every bit a major city as Portland, and Providence as well.  Yes, Houston has a much larger population, but it’s also a huge urban sprawl.  We used to drive 50 miles from our house to my parents, both of which were in the city limits.  A lot of cities in mountainous or water-bound areas, would have a much larger population if you took all of the surrounding towns within 25-35 miles and included them in their population.

However, Houston electing a gay mayor is huge, because it’s the first major Southern city to do so.  This isn’t Portland or Providence in the crunchy Northwest or liberal Northeast, but a city in Texas.  And we’re not talking about Austin. While there’s a thriving gay community in the Montrose area, Houston is a pretty eclectic mix of folks.  It has a large African American (as Annise Parker’s opponent was), a huge Asian population, a mix of urban liberals and big business conservatives, and a very large Baptistfundamental population.  While I don’t know if Houston would vote for gay marriage, I’m very proud that my former home town was open-minded enough to elect an openly gay mayor.

Perhaps Houston will be a stop on Conor’s forthcoming road trip through the South. Atlas Obscura, a site we blogged about this weekend, notes five odd attractions in Houston. Here’s the entry for the Beer Can House:

John Milkovisch loved beer. He drank a six pack a day and saved all the cans. When he retired in the 1960s, he put the cans to good use by covering the exterior of his house with them. Not wanting any part of the cans to go to waste, Milkovisch built mobiles, fences, sculptures and windmills out of the tops and bottoms of his beer cans, as well as wind chimes and curtains out of the pull tabs. When he died in 1988, he had spent 18 years covering his house, fence and even his tree with some 39,000 beer cans. In the words of John Milkovisch: “Some people say this is sculpture, but I didn’t go to no expensive school to get these crazy notions.”

I’m sure Dish readers can suggest even cooler, more obscure sites found in Houston. Right?