Gay rights worth fighting for
In answer to D.A. Anderson’s letter "Be thankful for rights we do have" (Dallas Voice, Jan. 8): I, too, am a Hispanic male with a Catholic upbringing, born and raised in the U.S.A. I’m not sure where you were raised, Mr. Anderson, but for me and many of my LGBT brothers and sisters, regardless of ethnicity or religious background, acceptance from our families, friends and local communities was just not there.
Being LGBT is not illegal in the U.S., nor are public displays of affection. PDAs, as equalizing as they may feel, do not give true equal status to all.
That is the whole point of all the "gay this" or "gay that," isn’t it, to have equal status? The only reason you are able to enjoy the freedoms you do have as a gay man is because of the hard work put in by those who came before you.
However, this is not the case in "Anytown" U.S.A., where even today LGBT people are harshly discriminated against.
Think about it like this. Let’s say you ordered some delicious apple pie at a diner that you see others enjoying. When the waiter brings you a portion that is half of what others received, wouldn’t you question it?
All that we are asking for is an equal slice of the pie — nothing more, nothing less.
I pay taxes just like anyone else, so why can’t I enjoy the right to file taxes jointly with my partner, or serve the military as an openly gay man, or to peel away all the red tape we go through just to ensure our loved ones gets taken care of if one is to pass on?
Currently there are more than 1,100 federal legal rights and benefits not afforded to the taxpaying LGBT couples of the United States of America simply because of their sexual orientation. Obviously you don’t care, but many people call that discrimination.
You were lucky with your parents, though. Not every parent is as open to discussion about a child’s sexuality as yours were. In fact, many teens attempting to speak to their family intelligently about their orientation get the very same attitudes you insinuate LGBT people give their families when coming out.
According to an article on DiversityInc.com, LGBT teens are between 30 to 40 percent more likely to attempt suicide than straight teens. Even with more exposure and acceptance of LGBT people, LGBT youth are prone to be bullied or harassed because of their sexual orientation.
While I agree with you on the point of selecting a politician who is right for the job versus one who is gay, if I had to choose between two candidates who are equal on the playing field, I would choose the LGBT candidate simply because there are too few of us in political office today.
From a retail perspective, we all choose to shop where we want to shop, especially in these economic times. However, I would challenge you to educate yourself on where you are spending your almighty dollar. I do my very best to spend my money at companies that cater to LGBT people, offer domestic partner benefits for their employees, donate to local LGBT charities, have gay-friendly policies or benefit LGBT causes in one way or another.
In regards to your incorrect definition of a hate crime, yes, we are all subject to a crime at one time or another, regardless of who we are. However, according to the Human Right Campaign Web site, "a hate crime or bias motivated crime occurs when the perpetrator of the crime intentionally selects the victim because of who the victim is."
The reason why numbers for crimes against gays seem to be lower is because so many go unreported. Have you forgotten Matthew Shepard? Or even Jimmy Lee Dean, who was brutally beaten on Cedar Springs after being targeted for being gay? It is because of these types of crimes that legislation was enacted to combat it.
African-Americans and women are able to vote. Interracial couples were given the right to marry, not because they sat on their laurels, content with kissing their loved ones or discussing dreams of voting on their front porches. It is because they acted upon their dreams until they came to fruition.
Yes, we are entitled to marriage and all the federal rights that go along with it, unless you are satisfied with that half a slice of pie I spoke of earlier.
As much as I love my country, I am really upset about the fact that LGBT people are not seen as equal citizens. The fight is continuing; great strides have been made. But as long as I cannot marry my partner, with all the rights afforded the rest of the population, with our marriage recognized throughout the U.S.A., I will continue to protest, will continue to raise a flag, vote for that outstanding LGBT politician, spend my money at stores that support LGBT causes and yes, Mildred, even show PDA towards my partner.
So, Mr. Anderson, while you are entitled to your opinions, please do your LGBT brothers and sisters a huge favor. Please do not dissuade others from doing what is needed in order to move LGBT causes forward. In the words of one flamboyant but fabulous teacher from my past, "Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way!"
Just something to think about.
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 15, 2010.
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