We all need to be ‘future pioneers’
I am deeply honored to be considered one of the "future pioneers" listed in Dallas Voice’s 25th anniversary issue. I am inspired and humbled by the stories of those who have changed and continue to change the very community in which we live. For every "notable" and "future pioneer" mentioned, there are at least 20 others who deserve to be on that list. I am constantly amazed that such prophetic voices could be found in "conservative" Texas.

As I said during the Day of Decision Rally on Tuesday, May 26, we need you to be a part of this movement. I challenge each of us to stand up and be counted as a voice for our community. We need you to take to the streets during a rally. We need you to volunteer at the numerous organizations that keep our community moving ahead. We need you to offer support to the organizations and leaders that are helping to make the lives of LGBTQA people better.

We need you to be the face of our community at school, at work and at home. We need you to realize that our lives, our responsibilities and our freedoms do not stop once we leave Oak Lawn. Working and volunteering in our community is not always an easy task. I am often asked by friends, family members and past partners why I do the work that I do. My answer is always that I do the work that needs to be done so that the next generation can live a better life. It is not too late for you to make a difference.

We may not always agree, but now is the time for you to get involved. Join the organizations and leaders of our community as we come together as one united voice. Stand up and be counted.

Not sure where you fit? Drop me an e-mail and I would be more than happy to help you find an organization that you can get involved in. It takes all of our voices to make the change we want to see in the world. Speak up.

Beau Heyen

Both gays, right-wingers guilty of intolerance
I was watching a movie about Sgt. Alvin C. York, who won the Congressional Award of Honor during World War I for saving many lives — not just his fellow servicemen’s lives, but also his enemies, by taking them as prisoners while only killing a few. He was a conscientious objector and a very devout Christian. What made him decide to go to war was the words he read in the Bible: "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and what is God’s give to God." It made me think twice myself as a Christian whose interpretation of Scripture leads me to believe that "gay is not OK."

I still have several friends that I love who are gay. I am a strong believer in separation of church and state. Also, I believe in tolerance, and feel all professed Christians should, too.

I also believe Christians should be for nondiscrimination, something that our Declaration of Independence guarantees, including freedom and justice for all. Give Caesar what is Caesar’s.

It’s funny how some far-right, so-called Christians attack gays in the same way that Miss California was attacked by the gay community. Then gays attacked Carrie Prejean but not Obama for believing and saying the same thing.

What pertains to gays pertains to my own Christian community as well. Both communities can be quick to judge, both within and outside their own communities. And all the while, maturity and unity in any community would better serve them in putting forth their effort and reaching their goals.

Instead, some people are intolerant, discriminating, mocking and judgmental. A whole group should not be judged by actions of a few.

I’m not OK, and you’re not OK, because both sides of the fence regarding this issue who truly believe in tolerance and non-discrimination must "endure or sustain pain and hardship." It is the meaning of tolerance according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Put simply, tolerance expresses the principle of freedom and nondiscrimination expresses the principle of equality.

Gail Blessing

We welcome letters from readers. Shorter letters and those addressing a single issue are more likely to be printed. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity, but we attempt to maintain the writer’s substance and tone. Include  your home address and a daytime telephone number for verification. Send letters to the senior editor, preferably by e-mail (nash@dallasvoice.com). Letters also may be faxed (214-969-7271) or sent via the U.S. Postal Service (Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor, Dallas TX 75204). All letters become the property of Dallas Voice.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 29, 2009.
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