(#40 in a series of people who changed the course of my life)
I’m not sure how I actually met the David Mack Henderson. But I know ever since he extended his friendship to me, he has inspired me.
Before I moved to Dallas and got involved in the community here, David “took me under his wing” so to speak and included me in his passions around equal treatment for LGBT people.
I would observe his passion so visible in the gleam in his eyes when he talked about Fairness Fort Worth and the powerful work they had done, particularly in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid. I would hear of the countless volunteer hours—time outside his paying job—he would pour into causes he was involved into continue the momentum of equality in Tarrant County and across the state. I’ve benefitted from his encouragement and the hard-earned advice he’s freely given me. And I have learned firsthand the power of tenacity—to never give in or be satisfied with a response that falls short of your goals. (One of my favorite moments was when he was speaking to the Dallas city council about its LGBT rights stance, encouraging them to look at Fort Worth for an example of doing right by its citizens! Talk about chutzpah!)
Most of all, I recall how he did not view the “movement” as an inner circle that could not be breached. Rather, David modeled for me a way I strive to be today: we all have a place and all come with some gift, a talent, or expression that can be combined with others’ to create change around us.
I am grateful to have in David not just a mentor, but a friend. His passion and willingness to step up have not gone unnoticed.
Nor has his chutzpah.