Be thankful for rights we do have
I thank God (you may substitute any spiritual entity or philosophical thought) I was born and raised in the U.S. I thank God my parents made an effort to understand my sexuality. I thank God I have the intelligence to choose what is right and wrong. For 35 years I have listened to, read about and seen individuals who bash our country. It’s about "gay this" or "gay that." "Gay marriage, gay rights, we’re denied this, we don’t have that!"

Living in the U.S. I have never had the fear of kissing my boyfriend in the morning before we both left for work or in the evening before we went to sleep. I’ve kissed him in public without fear of being hauled off to jail. I have never been afraid of being arrested for holding hands with my partner out in public or snuggling up against him while watching a scary movie at the theater. Last, but certainly not least, I have never had the fear of imprisonment because of my orientation.

My parents were quite stunned when I told them about my orientation. I anticipated their reaction because my parents are Hispanic, Catholic and uneducated. I didn’t make the mistake of "throwing it in their face," or giving them ultimatums like, "If you can’t deal with this, then it’s your problem!" I’ve known my parents for 35 years and I knew the best approach. I was never abandoned, rejected or abused for sharing my wonderful orientation with them. Some parents already know, some will never know — we can only use our own judgment and knowledge of our relationship with our parents to make the decision whether we should tell them. I never allowed anyone to tell me I should tell my parents or "come out" to the public. It’s my business and no one else’s.

Finally, the political or social decisions I have made have not been based on my sexual orientation. I don’t vote for anyone just because they’re gay. I vote for the individual who has experience, is best qualified and addresses the issues that are important to me: lights in my neighborhood, street repairs and the construction of a park for the children in our neighborhood. Yes, Mildred, there is such a thing as a "crooked gay politician."

I don’t shop at stores just because they’re gay owned. I shop where I can get what I want without having to pay an arm and a leg. I often find myself walking by most of the stores along Cedar Springs because they’re overpriced and sell items I just don’t need.

I don’t allow anyone to interpret the Bible for me or tell me Jesus loves me. I live in the real world. I work, pay taxes and take the garbage out. I know we (gays) are targets of crime, but so are heterosexuals. We’re assaulted because of who we are, but so are heterosexuals who are Hispanic, African-American, caucasian, women, Jews, etc. Compare the number of heterosexuals who are the victims of general crime with those who are gay. "Hate crimes" are just that, hate crimes, and we are all victims of those.

At one point in our history, African-Americans and women could not vote. That has changed! No one ever imagined we would have an African-American as president. It’s changed, it’s now a reality. Oh, about the marriage thing … it’s coming. But consider this, the divorce rate in the U.S. is up to over 50 percent. I know, I know, we’re still entitled to marriage, but next time you start complaining about what rights we don’t have in the U.S., think about and appreciate the rights we do have. Just something to think about.

D.A. Anderson

Congratulations, Todd Camp
Re: "LGBT Person of the Year: Todd Camp" (Dallas Voice, Jan. 1):

The past six months have brought tremendous positive changes to Fort Worth’s LGBT community. I was standing next to Todd Camp the night of the Rainbow Lounge raid. His response to the events were immediate and without hesitation. While many people assisted Todd in the Herculean efforts made, the lion’s share of credit goes to Todd Camp for his willingness to take the lead.

The events that night have changed many lives, and Todd Camp is a fantastic role model. I believe the Fort Worth LGBT community has more respect because of him. Congratulations, Todd.

Thomas R. Anable
Fort Worth

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 8, 2010.

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