Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano became mayor of Del Rio, Texas by 62 percent of the vote. The first-time candidate is a veteran who served in the U.S. military as a security patrolman. He defeated Robert Garza a four-year incumbent. By defeating Garza he became the first openly gay elected official, and the youngest.
Last year during the Veterans parade he choice to march in the parade in high heels. He admits that he was prepared for the “worst-case scenario” – but the response he received was positive. Women and teenage girls hugged him as gratitude for his bravery.
Lozano has not been without his fair share of prejudice during the campaign. Several memes which show the politician wearing heels and a tutu, accompanied by messages calling him a “faggot” with AIDS. But the attacks did not deter him from running for office. He just moves forward just as he did when ordered to be a part of the enforcing of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during the Clinton administration. Lozano’s job was to tell gay service people that they were discharged. Enforcing the policy was “heartbreaking” he stated, furthermore, “I am not ashamed of who I am, so I chose not to reenlist, and I kept going. I moved on with my life.”
During his campaign, he believed it was important if not crucial for him to speak freely about his sexuality. “Stonewall happened because drag queens and a minority group stood up to animosity, and I had to go back in the closet because of that same hatred,” he said
It appears that the citizens of Del Rio have accepted him. Lozano basically used the policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration with regards to border towns. Using Trump’s own words against him in which Trump called them hotbeds of crime and violence. “We don’t have this war zone going on,” said Lozano. “It’s beautiful down here.”
“The Baby Boomers have been running the government over the last 20 to 30 years. Del Rio needs investment and infrastructure, flood prevention, and then they also need economic growth.” He admits that in the ‘90s and 2000s LGBT people moved away to cities that were more friendly, such as Lakeview in Chicago, Chelsea in New York or the Castro in San Francisco. “But now we’ve started to go back to our communities and be part of it. I think it’s such an amazing opportunity to show that we are equal.”
It will be interesting to see how he does and to see how the city of Del Rio embraces its new Major.