Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Defining Minority: Controversy Surrounds Salt Lake City's New Minority Affairs Coordinator, Blythe Nobleman, Who Is Not Only White but Also an out Lesbian. (Behind the Headlines)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Defining Minority: Controversy Surrounds Salt Lake City's New Minority Affairs Coordinator, Blythe Nobleman, Who Is Not Only White but Also an out Lesbian. (Behind the Headlines)

Article excerpt

Hispanic activists and several religious leaders in Salt Lake City are more than a little upset about the mayor's choice for the city's new minority affairs coordinator. In mid April, Mayor Rocky Anderson appointed Blythe Nobleman, a 41-year-old white lesbian, to the position.

Latino leaders in Salt Lake City swiftly denounced the mayor for appointing an Anglo, while members of the Christian right lambasted him for appointing a lesbian. Others criticized the mayor for appointing an Anglo lesbian, suggesting that Anderson, a liberal Democrat, was simply trying to court the growing gay vote in his bid for reelection November 4.

Anderson has defended his appointment, and Nobleman, who left a teaching job at the University of Utah to assume the post, has defended Anderson.

Nobleman's job is twofold: to represent the mayor to minority groups and to help minority groups participate in civic life. The Advocate caught up with her on a Sunday afternoon less than three weeks into her new job.

Critics have said you came out for this position.

Certainly not. I came out when sperm met egg. When the mayor appointed me to this minority affairs position, it was a very courageous move on his part. It was a very bold way to openly acknowledge the GLBT community and the important role GLBT people play in our city. But I've been called derogatory names. I've been referred to as a "nonheterosexual," which seems entirely absurd. That's just silly.

There was the reference to "self-proclaimed lesbian" in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Yes, a "self-proclaimed lesbian." I don't even know what that means.

Did you anticipate the controversy?

I did, but not that it would continue this way.

Was your appointment election-year politicking?

No, that's totally untrue. At this point everything Mayor Anderson does is spun into election strategy. …

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