Today Desert Stonewall Democrats, Equality California and LGBTQ Victory Fund jointly condemned an onslaught of biphobic and sexist attacks against Palm Springs City Councilwoman Christy Holstege and demanded her opponents denounce and end them. Holstege’s opponents and their supporters are relentlessly questioning and attacking her sexual orientation in public forums and on social media, claiming she identifies as bisexual to “gain votes” in Palm Springs, which has a significant LGBTQ population.

Her opponents, their staff and supporters have actively encouraged the attacks and both candidates refuse to denounce them. A staff member for Mike McCulloch, an opponent of Holstege, wrote “I highly doubt Christy belongs to the LGBTQ community” in one of a series of biphobic attacks online. A supporter said Holstege “lied about being a member [of the LGBTQ community] to gain votes” and another asked “how is a nursing mother going to bond with her child and be on council and committees?” Holstege gave birth six days ago.

Dian Torres, another opponent, frequently interacted with and shared the biphobic posts from the McCulloch staffer on her campaign’s Facebook page, including one that said Holstege had an “alleged husband.” In a Facebook comment from the campaign, Torres identified herself as a “gay Mexican American” and again implied Holstege was not part of the LGBTQ community. When asked about the attacks and anti-LGBTQ comments, Torres refused to denounce them and said Holstege was claiming to be bisexual “for personal gain and to manipulate people.”

More of the comments are available in a post on Holstege’s Facebook page.

“These shameful sexist and biphobic attacks underscore the fact that Christy is the only candidate for District 4 fighting for our Palm Springs values of diversity, respect and inclusion,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur. “Christy Holstege has a proven track record of getting results for Palm Springs residents, supporting our small businesses and keeping our communities safe and healthy. Her opponents can’t win on the issues, so they’ve resorted to baseless lies and divisive attacks. We’re confident that voters want an experienced leader like Christy, who unites our communities, not more Washington-style name calling and political games.”

“The coordinated attacks on Christy are biphobic, plain and simple, and it is especially horrific that she faces them just days after giving birth,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Christy’s opponents are deploying outdated purity tests long used to intimidate and silence bi candidates and it is imperative they are denounced by both of her opponents. These attacks are no different than the homophobic and transphobic tactics used against LGBTQ candidates across the country and it is disheartening to see it play out in such a welcoming city. Holstege’s opponents must live up to the values of inclusion Palm Springs embraces by condemning this vitriolic behavior and ending these biphobic and sexist attacks.”

“The countless attacks on Councilmember Christy Holstege do not reflect the values of diversity, equality and inclusion that we hold as a LGBTQ+ Democratic Club and community,” said Miguel Navarro, Chair of Desert Stonewall Democrats. “The smear campaign against Christy is disgusting, unacceptable and will not be ignored. It is up to every single one of us to call out and condemn biphobia, misogyny and sexism on all levels. No one should ever have to defend their sexuality and it infuriates me that Christy is constantly being questioned about hers. Councilmember Holstege has an outstanding record of service and engagement with the residents in our community. This is why she is the best qualified leader to represent the residents in District 4.”


Desert Stonewall Democrats

The Desert Stonewall Democrats is your LGBTQ+ Democratic organization in the Coachella Valley. Since 1999, our mission is to elect LGBTQ+ and pro-LGBTQ candidates to public office at all levels of government and advocate for policies that protect and expand equality.

Equality California

Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, striving to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people.

LGBTQ Victory Fund

LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.