When CW33′s Doug Magditch said he wanted to talk about Mayor Mike Rawlings and the city of Dallas’ “It Gets Better” video on this week’s “The Gay Agenda,” I was happy to oblige him.
That’s because I’m among those who feel pretty strongly that Rawlings recent appearance in the “It Gets Better” video is no substitute whatsoever for supporting the LGBT community in other ways — including signing a pledge in support of marriage equality and backing two pro-LGBT resolutions introduced by Councilman Scott Griggs.
In fact, Rawlings has said repeatedly since he refused to sign the Freedom to Marry pledge almost exactly one year ago that he wants to focus on substantive things he can do to support the LGBT community, not symbolic ones. But it doesn’t get much more symbolic than an “It Gets Better” video, which also ultimately sends a mixed message to LGBT youth.
LGBT youth commit suicide in part because they are constantly told by society that they are less than equal — including that they can’t get married. So when the mayor of Dallas refuses to sign a pledge in support of marriage equality, it reinforces that message — and thus the mixed one.
Don’t get me wrong: City leaders and especially gay employees deserve credit for the “It Gets Better” video, which is a powerful statement. But if Rawlings thinks he’s going to win over LGBT voters in 2015 by merely appearing in this video and at gay Pride, I think he’s sorely mistaken.
To make matters worse, a few days after the IGB video was released, Rawlings stood at a press conference and said pledges like the ones he’s been asked to sign on gun control and marriage equality are “baloney.” Really? Standing up for civil rights is baloney? I think that’s malarkey, which is what I told Magditch. And you can watch it below.
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