Friday, October 15, 2010

Gay Texas Councilman Makes Emotional Plea to Gay Teens

This is all the more remarkable because it happened in Texas, heart of red state USA. I’m left with two impressions there are hopeful signs: (1) Homophobic, anti-gay attitudes such as expressed by Tea Party candidate for governor in New York, Carl Paladino, are largely generational. Young people simply do not carry with them the attitudes and prejudices of their elders. Paladino’s own nephew, who is gay, repudiated what he said. And (2) social conservatism, which includes the Christian Right (47% of Tea Party identifiers) and has manifested within the Tea Party with such ugliness in this campaign — from gay bashing to Islamophobia and extremist anti-government rhetoric — is about a mile wide and an inch deep.

The Tea Party reflects the narrow, dying convulsions of a generation of older, whiter bigots who were seemingly bypassed by the major civil rights advances of the past half century. It does not represent the America Councilman Joel Burns of Fort Worth, Texas, an openly gay man, lives in and most of us recognize. They will not succeed in bringing our country down or turning back the clock. As Councilman Burns said:
“Attitudes will change, life will get better, you will have a lifetime of happy memories if you just allow yourself and give yourself the time to make them … High school was difficult, coming out was painful … I want to tell any teen who is watching this, life will get better.”

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