The video [above] of Fort Worth City Council member Joel Burns’ impassioned speech made two weeks ago at a council meeting has received nearly two million views on YouTube. Since then, he has been on a media blitz talking about the need to protect children from bullying and bigoted behavior.
The speech came as a response to the rash of suicides of self-identified and questioning GLBT teens across the nation and was a reaction to the hate he received living as a gay teen in rural Texas.
The positive reaction to Burns’ words may inspire him and others to become a strong voice on behalf of inclusiveness for the GLBT community, something that has not surprisingly been lacking from local politicians. Burns’ reputation among activists had suffered after his lackluster support for the patrons of a gay bar were assaulted in 2009 by Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission agents and Fort Worth police. Three TABC agents were later fired over the incident.
Another prominent story coming from the Metroplex involves a transgender teen who has lived and identified as a female for the past year but was denied the opportunity to run for homecoming queen.
By some reports, North Dallas High School student Andy Moreno could have been the most popular candidate, but the principal refused to allow Andy to run. An after-school rally sponsored by Queer Liberaction, a DFW group aimed at exposing homophobia threw “direct action activism,” was widely popular, according to an MTV report. If nothing else, these stories highlight the positive reactions people in DFW are having toward the GLBT community.
With a Critical Eye
Do not misunderstand me. Burns definitely showed courage for speaking up. I know that people in this region of the country might have a reputation for having some backward views, but I think that is changing among younger people, who are probably a bit more skeptical of religious dogma. I think Burns’ central message had a very libertarian theme of promoting freedom of association. His advice was for people to surround themselves with others who support them and appreciate who they are. For that mater, government-managed schools are an abnormal extra-market entity, one in which children are forced to associate with aggressive, bigoted students and teachers.
Last week, members of DFW ALL viewed the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So.” The movie talks about how religious leaders have cherry-picked and misrepresented Biblical text to use against people with different sexual orientations. Is it as simple as the GLBT community being used as a scapegoat by some people to explain their own failings? Maybe.
I see the conflict perpetuated by religious and political leaders as a fundraising scheme and a play for political power. Policy making is concentrated into the hands of a few, who purportedly represent the views of the masses. In turn, the same masses have their children educated under the tutelage of that power elite, perpetuating the cycle of abuse for another generation.
The maintenance of political power requires authority and submission to plunder. The state functions by creating artificial scarcity to accrue profit. The key is to undermine that power by ignoring it whenever possible, and expanding opportunities to do so, and circumventing it whenever necessary.