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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A LETTER TO DAN RAMOS (by Michael Watts)

For those unfamiliar with the comments that Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Dan Ramos made, here is a link to an interview conducted with the San Antonio Current on 11 March 2011.

Michael Watts is a member of the Stonewall Democrats of Denton County and the Chair of the Texas Young Democrats Veterans-Military Affairs Caucus. He is a veteran of the United States Navy.

He lives in Denton with his wife, Stacey Langely-Watts, who is the Chair of the Texas Young Democrats Stonewall Caucus. Both are passionate and fierce advocates of the LGBT Community.

Here is his letter that he sent to Chairman Ramos.

Chairman Ramos:

Your comments in the San Antonio Current on 11 March 2011 and in subsequent interviews with other San Antonio media outlets were incendiary and offensive to not only the lesbian gay bisexual transgendered (LGBT) Community but to all communities across Texas.

The Texas LGBT Community is truly a snapshot of our nation. We are comprised of women and men; persons of color; all religious backgrounds; the young and young-at-heart; all economic statuses and physical abilities; and yes, the LGBT Community contains some military veterans who have proudly served this country despite not being afforded the same rights as their straight counterparts. Even with that obstacle in place, they are proud of their service and believe in the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America like I did for six years in the United States Navy and still do to this day.

I am not gay myself, but I am active in this very diverse and welcoming community that contains people that I care deeply about.

My spouse is a bisexual woman who has twenty years experience in LGBT Advocacy, and I have gay family members on both sides of my family that are close to me. You have engaged in a fight against a coalition that strongly believes that an attack on one is an attack on all. An example of that belief comes from Section V of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) signed on 4 April 1949, which states that: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”

I strongly believe in that statement due to my strong personal connections to the LGBT Community. Your comments have besmirched the LGBT Community, and I, like my fellow Democrats across the great state of Texas, are united in their defense and holding you accountable for your statements. As a Caucus Chair within the Texas Young Democrats, our party platform states that “we take a firm stand against all forms of discrimination including but not limited to race, gender/gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious belief or age.” Not only is my stance firm against your comments, but it is unwavering, unrelenting, and non-negotiable.

The LGBT Community is not a fixed stereotype as you have falsely claimed in that article and subsequent interviews. If you made the effort to educate yourself, Latinos hold visible positions of leadership in the Stonewall Democratic organizations of Dallas, Denton, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley. These leaders are advocates in issues that are not specific to the LGBT Community, but the Latino Community on immigration reform; Women’s concerns on their health care issues; Labor calling for the passage of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA); and our Veterans with the passage of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Act of 2010.

As a county party chair, you are sworn to support and uphold the platform of the Texas Democratic Party. In the Rights and Freedoms Section on Page 33 of the 2010 Texas Democratic Party Platform, it specifically states that: 

1.     Democrats believe our Constitution is intended to prohibit discrimination in all forms.
2.     To protect our rights and freedoms, we support action against all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment; repeal of discriminatory laws and policies against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community;

Sir, it is evident that you are clearly not in support of these ideals with your rhetoric and have violated the trust of those that supported your candidacy for county chair.

The Bexar County Democratic Party deserves a party chair that supports these ideals in order to distance itself from this unfortunate episode in their proud history and focus on the difficult task at hand: to unite the party in the common goal of electing Democrats on 6 November 2012 in order to push back against the Republican supermajority in both chambers of the Texas Legislature, regain control of the United States House of Representatives, maintain control of the United States Senate, and ultimately re-elect Barack Obama as President of the United States.

In conclusion, your comments have shown that you are derelict in your duties as chair, and you are no longer fit to serve. It is time to place the interests of the party ahead of your own personal ambitions. For the Bexar County Democratic Party to achieve its goals for the future, its first step must occur in the present. A simple statement that you are relieving yourself of duties as the Chair of the Bexar County Democratic Party is the best way to move the party forward and preserve your remaining honor, if you have any.

Although the organizations I am affiliated with have already submitted statements calling for your immediate resignation, I am submitting my name to the rapidly growing list in a sign of support and unity and letting them know that they have a fierce advocate in their corner.


Michael Watts
Member, Stonewall Democrats of Denton County
Chair, Texas Young Democrats Veterans-Military Affairs Caucus
MM2 (NUKE/SW), United States Navy 2002-08

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