Fighting for my rights
For years I served this great nation as your guadian, your protector. At night as you slept, I stood guard over you. My family and friends have shed blood to protect that which you cherish. They did so without complaint, going forward to do battle in your name in order to keep all our homes safe. The uncle I never met, the father I lost at 13, the friends I have had to watch with tears in my eyes as the honor guard lowered them into the ground. I know the price of freedom, as did they. You may rest assured that any of us would pay such a price again.
You have sent us to foreign lands, pursuing a war that was questionable at best. We went without complaint, knowing it was our duty. We died in distant fields bringing democracy to those without. On your orders, we set out on a campaign to stop foreign leaders who ruled harshly, their laws derived solely from the pages of a religious book. My comrades and I toppled a regime that had outlawed music and kept the women of their society in bondage, forcing them to live as second class citizens. As we saw the changes made, saw the joy in a young girl’s eyes as she finally received the chance to follow her dreams, we swelled with pride.
If only I realized how little we had accomplished.
I came home in 2002 to a nation torn apart, a society with one foot in the grave. While fighting to stop the harsh rule of Islamic law in the Middle East, I returned to find my government embroiled as many members of Congress sought to impose Christian law in the United States. After my service was done, I was released only to find that I was a second-class citizen in my own home not for the color of my skin or my religion, but because of whom I loved. Every year, I have watched with horror as our commander-in-chief, backed by the conservative Christian coalitions, pushed a constitutional amendment as discriminatory as those my friends died to stop in the Middle East.
I walk with a cane now, one of the thousands of disabled veterans coming home. I still proudly hold the hand of the girl I love. Sometimes people stare at us. More then once insults have been hurled in our direction. The elderly couple at the restaurant, the teenagers driving around in their car. Bigotry has united their generations. I try to ignore them, all the while knowing that this cane is what gives them the right to say such things.
Someday, there will be a new battleground upon which I will find myself. Once more will I take up arms, but no longer will I be fighting for your rights.
I’ll be fighting for mine.
Thanks for the look back
Thank you for the wonderful special report on AIDS. The story brought to mind many of our past and present GLBT heroes: John Thomas, Suzanne Wilson, Gil Flores, Phil Johnson and countless other gay and straight supporters. Dallas should be proud of the active philanthropic and can-do spirit of its citizens. The Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance, The Resource Center of Dallas, Turtle Creek Chorale, Dallas Fort Worth Federal Club, AIDS Services of Dallas and countless other organizations are the fruits of the time, talent and treasure of Dallas. Together we can make a difference in the world!
President, Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance
Total warmth and acceptance
I strongly agree with Wayne Davis’ letter (“Don’t bash welcoming churches,” Dallas Voice, June 30). My partner and I attend St. Stephen United Methodist Church in Mesquite. It is also a welcoming congregation. Both of us have experienced total warmth and acceptance at our new church home. It is a very friendly place of worship more so than many openly GLBT gay churches in the Metroplex. We’ve come to realize over the years that worshiping in a totally gay church is not important. We are all on this faith journey together, and who you worship with doesn’t really depend on whether you’re gay, straight, black, white or whatever.
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 7, 2006.