From your gay former Texan with New York values.By: James ClarkA few days ago GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz made the claim that Donald Trump held New York values. The argument was laid out to inform voters that New York isn’t socially conservative. Personally, I believe we can all find that agreeable. However, it was a huge insult to the New York City community, and even Trump himself took it as a blow.Forget Trump for a moment and focus on the attack at large. I am from Texas, the state Cruz is a senator for, and I now live in the East Village in Manhattan. I would love to sit down and talk with Cruz. Dear Ted Cruz,I grew up a closeted gay in a small town 45 minutes west of Waco, and it wasn’t easy. Now I am 21 years-old , proudly vote democratic, open about my sexuality, and I have an amazing boyfriend. Yes, people like me are your constituents. For the remainder of your time in office you represent me. In the unfortunate likelihood you become our next president you’ll represent more people who share my story.So, let’s get to know each other.The first time I realized I liked boys was in the fifth grade when I sat at a lunch table and heard other male peers talk about girls they liked in the class: I didn’t feel the same way. The first time I realized I could love a man was in college, but realizing a man could love me back has been a recent phenomenon. I didn’t come out until I was 18. The culture of Texas forced me in the closet for years. I lied to people I loved while trying to force myself to be something I was not.This is hard to hear Ted: I was molested by a coach when I was 13-years-old in his office while other students were changing in the next room to go to class. I talked to a counselor, and was told I probably misunderstood what happened to me. After,I did what most teenage Baptist boys would do: I went to my youth pastor who told me, “crying wolf gets you nowhere.” A year later I told him I was gay he asked, “Is that why you blamed a coach for abusing you?”Flash forward to the summer after my freshman year of college and I was finally out of the closet. I attempted to start a book club about building bridges between the Christian, LGBT and sexual minority communities. I went to my old church in hopes for a partnership, and gave my testimony to my pastor.“You probably think you’re gay, because what happened to you when you were a kid,” he said. “Being gay is a sin rooted in evil.”I guess my molestation possessed, tainted, and excluded me from acceptance and love in the community I called home. It wasn’t until the past year when I moved to New York that I got the courage to tell my family what happened to me, and I received an overwhelming amount of love, support, therapy bills, and the conclusion that New York is the place I learned to be my true self.Now you know a little about me.Ted, you honor homophobia, and you encourage deceit. Since you attacked New York’s values let’s look at Texas’.Texas’ values include one of your former church deacons using Grindr (a gay dating app) requesting a hookup years after you had his and his wife’s Sunday school class. Texas values are a girl googling a coat hanger abortion because she fears getting kicked out of her conservative college because of her pregnancy. It’s a group of college students rallying against a newspaper for reporting the indictment of a male student who raped a girl on campus. It’s a state congresswoman denying the right to religious freedom to hundreds of muslim men and women on the capitol ground on their one day of recognition.Those grievances can go on forever, but I won’t because I believe in progress. New York has taught me me to look to the future, promote acceptance, patience, love, peace, community, and hope: I wish those all for my home state, and everywhere across this country.Ted, the truth is you’re too afraid to get to know people who live around you. In your eyes anyone who is different than you doesn’t deserve constitutional freedoms.I believe, Senator Cruz, that if you accept different people’s values while still acknowledging your own you’d be a notable leader. I don’t agree with you, but I will respect you: That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned in New York. But please on behalf of a Texan living in the city of his dreams don’t even talk about New York values when you don’t know New York values. Best of luck, James Clark PS: We all want change. We all deserve peace.
An Open Letter to Ted Cruz
Dear Ted Cruz,I grew up a closeted gay in a small town 45 minutes west of Waco, and it wasn’t easy.