Joel Burns

Dallas Morning News Metro columnist Jacquielynn Floyd writes in Sunday’s edition that she thinks Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns should be the newspaper’s Texan of the Year:

The 40-year-old council member’s speech followed an appalling rash of U.S. suicides by gay teenagers driven to despair by ostracism and abuse. He described his own adolescent misery with the promise that “it gets better,” borne out by his own subsequent happiness and success. The 13-minute address, hastily written over his lunch hour that same day, made global headlines.

The overwhelming response to the video has been one of emotional resonance. You don’t need to be gay or a teenager to experience the raw therapeutic power of its decency and compassion.

Burns’ message surely inspired hope and changed hearts. It may have saved lives.

And there’s an ancillary benefit, expressed in a flurry of gee-whiz comments from all over, along the lines of “I can’t believe this was in Texas!”

In case you’re wondering, columnist Steve Blow says Claude Jones, who was wrongfully executed in 2000, should be the Texan of the Year, while James Ragland says it should be the tea party voters.

Texan of the Year will be announced Dec. 26, two days after Dallas Voice announces its LGBT Person of the Year.