In Texas, “family values” is all too often code for accepted homophobia, misogyny, or the mistaken idea that young people wait until they’re married to have sex. Texas “family values” have been used to de-fund Planned Parenthood, to teach ineffective abstinence-only sex education, and to permit obviously homophobic attitudes and discriminatory policies.
When I first saw the title of this “What Would You Do” video posted from moveon.org on my news feed, “This Hidden Camera Footage of a Gay Couple in Texas Will Shock You,” I tensed up instantly. I could see from the thumbnail that it involved a family with kids. I was expecting a video where someone stood up for their Texan “family values” by verbally hating on a same-gender couple, something that has happened to my family before.
What I saw instead moved me to tears of joy, Texas pride, and all the feels. Diners in this small Texas town outside Dallas would not sit in silence while a waitress bashed a gay couple and their children. In fact, 24 out of 53 Texas diners stood up for the couple compared with less than 12 out of 100 diners in New York. One lady even insisted on buying the family breakfast and another young man wrote the couple a letter to comfort them and show his support.
When asked why they felt so moved that they had to speak up, people explained that “It is about the quality of the parent, the love that is there in the home.” and “It doesn’t matter where you are, you’re supposed to love people, don’t matter what color, what race, what sex, whatever.”
Those are the Texas family values that I know and love. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.
Mackenzie Massey is a senior at the University of Texas where she serves as the President of the Texas Freedom Network Student Chapter. This is her fifth year to be a member of the Cultural Advocacy Mobilization Initiative (CAMI), a partnership of Advocates for Youth.