Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Online Extra: Political Notes: LGBT groups endorse bi Palm Springs council candidate


Attorney Christy Holstege is running a seat on the Palm Springs City Council.     
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A bisexual woman running for a seat on the Palm Springs City Council has earned the support of a number of LGBT groups.

Attorney Christy Holstege in recent days won the endorsement of both the national Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality California. The Desert Stonewall Democrats, a local LGBT political club in the Coachella Valley, also endorsed Holstege last week.

"This endorsement is incredibly meaningful to me and I will work hard to continue on the work of DSD in my campaign and if elected to City Council," wrote Holstege, a member of the Stonewall club, in a Facebook post following the endorsement vote last Tuesday night (August 22).

All three of the LGBT groups have also endorsed Palm Springs planning commissioner Lisa Middleton, a former Bay Area resident who is vying to become California's first transgender city council person.

Another former resident of the Bay Area, Robert Julian Stone, a gay man who was the Bay Area Reporter's film critic in the 1990s and early 2000s, and worked as a real estate agent while in San Francisco, failed to earn the endorsement of the three groups.

The three out candidates are among six people running for two open seats on the council in the November 7 election. Lesbian City Councilwoman Ginny Foat and City Councilman Chris Mills, who is straight, both decided not to seek re-election.

Long a mecca for gay retirees, Palm Springs elects its four city council seats citywide, and its elected mayor is the fifth vote on the body. The three other current members are all gay men.

Holstege, who serves on the city's Human Rights Commission, does not identify herself as bisexual in her bio on her campaign website. Nor is it disclosed in the one posted on her Victory Fund profile, which merely says she "will maintain LGBTQ representation in Palm Springs."

She did not respond to an emailed question regarding how she identifies, but the Victory Fund confirmed she is bisexual in an email to the B.A.R.

In announcing its endorsement of Holstege Monday (August 28), EQCA also did not specify that Holstege is bisexual, only that she was one of two LGBTQ candidates for local office this fall it had also decided to endorse.

(The other is Whittier City School District Board candidate Carolina "Caro" Jauregui, a senior manager of policy and programs for the nonprofit California Walks. She graduated from UC Berkeley and earned a master's in public policy from Mills College in Oakland.)

In its release, EQCA noted Holstege's work on LGBT issues, "especially addressing the many disparities in health and well-being that affect LGBTQ people," and that she supported the local Transgender Day of Remembrance and created "know your rights" materials for the Transgender Community Coalition's Transgender Resource Committee.

"Christy Holstege has a long and distinguished track record of service to our community," stated EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur. "She understands the challenges LGBTQ people face, and we're confident she will be a passionate advocate for our community and for social justice if elected to the Palm Springs City Council."

Holstege lives in the Sonora Sunrise neighborhood of Palm Springs with her husband, Adam Gilbert, a business owner and a third-generation resident of the city, and their dog Layla. She earned a B.A. in cultural anthropology from UC Santa Barbara and her law degree from Stanford University.

According to her bio, prior to joining her family's law practice, Gilbert & Bourke LLP in Palm Springs, she earned a Stanford Law School-Stanford Public Interest Foundation Fellowship and funding to establish a legal aid clinic for domestic violence survivors within the Coachella Valley's only domestic violence shelter, Shelter From The Storm. Holstege also worked at California Rural Legal Assistance in Coachella, where she represented farmworkers in civil rights, housing, and employment litigation.

"My vision for Palm Springs is to ensure that we build a Palm Springs that works for all residents," wrote Holstege in a note on why she entered the council race posted to her campaign website. "I have dedicated my career to fighting for residents as a local attorney and I have acted as a community leader on local issues, from LGBTQ rights to homelessness. I have decided to run for Palm Springs City Council to achieve real change for residents and obtain real results."

Holstege serves on the Palm Springs Homelessness Task Force's housing subcommittee and on the boards of the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition; Well in the Desert, a poverty prevention and advocacy nonprofit; and Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.

Tackling homelessness and poverty will be among her top priorities should she be elected to the city council. Supporting the local tourism industry and small businesses is another key concern for Holstege, who also wants to attract more technology and green energy industries to Palm Springs.

"I believe that our elected officials should be more responsive to community needs and invest in people, progress, and practical solutions," stated Holstege on her campaign website.


Due to the Labor Day weekend, the Political Notes column will return Monday, September 11.


Keep abreast of the latest LGBT political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @

Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail

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