McElhaney opens up about loss of queer son

Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney said people are wrong about her late son, Victor McElhaney.

"The narrative most people believe was that he started drumming when he was 3," Lynette McElhaney told the Bay Area Reporter. "He was drumming as soon as he could sit up. When I asked, at age 1, 'how are you?' He'd say: 'I drum.'"

Victor McElhaney grew up to become a 21-year-old jazz musician at the University of Southern California. This month's Oakland Pride prompted his mother to open up about his killing last year.

"Victor was a very dynamic human being — one of those people who was truly renaissance," McElhaney, who has represented District 3, which includes West Oakland, Jack London Square, and nearby neighborhoods, on the Oakland City Council since 2013, said. "He was fascinated by science, read existential poetry, listened to jazz music — he was a master — and was a hip-hop head."

Victor McElhaney had rejected definitive sexual labels, his mother said, but he was dating Michael Davis, "the [person] who would be quite literally the love of his life," she stated in a September 8 email to supporters commemorating Oakland Pride.

The email is believed to be the first time that Lynette McElhaney had publicly stated that her son was queer. She said she was talking about it now because it was one of a series of "personal reflections" she wrote called the #D3Chronicles.

"It's just one in a series of personal reflections that have chronicled my life in service," she said.

Lynette McElhaney is up for reelection in November, and faces several challengers, the most notable being Carroll Fife, a leader of Moms 4 Housing that organized the takeover of a vacant house in West Oakland by homeless and insecurely-housed women earlier this year. Fife, who won the Alameda County Democratic Party's endorsement in the race, declined to comment for this story.

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