LGBT+ Pride Month - Bob McCranie

 
Dallas Business Headshots Bob McCranie
 

Aside from being an amazing and loving husband, Bob McCranie is passionate about human rights and the equal treatment of under represented and repressed communities. He was among the first people on the list of people that I would be including in this project to bring awareness and understanding to why LGBTQ+ Pride Month needs to exist.

Bob is very vocal in his fight for housing equality for all. As of the time of this article there are still no national protections against housing discrimination toward members of the LGBTQ+ community. You can literally be denied the purchase of a house or loan just because of the way you love. Bob is a voice for equality when working with the Texas Realtors and National Association of Realtors to bring awareness of why these protections are so important.

Bob McCranie:

Hi, I'm Bob McCranie, I live in Carrollton, Texas. I've lived in Texas 31 years. I have lived in Carrollton since 1998, and I'm the broker and owner of Texas Pride Realty, which is a brokerage here in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas. I am also the founder of Carrollton Pride, and thank you for having me here.

TMP: What does Pride Month mean to you?

Bob McCranie:

Pride Month means to me being visible, and being out and honest and authentic about who you are. One thing I have always heard is you never know when somebody's looking up to you. You never know when you're out and about and you're just going grocery shopping, and you are who you are, somebody could be watching you and going, "Wow, I really admire this trait," or "I really like the fact that they can go out as a couple and be fine." Somebody somewhere is always watching your visibility and saying, "That gives me strength. I'm so glad I got to see them, now I can take a little bit more of a risk."

So, being out is something that is... It's hard. There are times that it's really a struggle to feel safe, but I can remember back not more than 15, 20 years ago, people used to take out... You know, they took out a full page ad for National Coming Out Day to announce that they were out, and that was a big step because some people were scared to death to put their name in that... The Dallas Morning News article. And nowadays it's gotten a lot better, over time. You know, the process of coming out to families and to offices and things like that has really changed the landscape.

Back in the day, we didn't have openly gay characters on TV, or openly gay actors, or openly gay politicians, or openly gay anything. And the state of Texas, I believe, is one of three states that still has a sodomy law on the books, in Texas it's... I believe it's 21.06, is the paragraph for the law. It's still out there on the books, and if we lose one Supreme Court Justice, or some court case overturns our equality, that law still exists and that's why they leave it there, so that if there is ever a chance that they can push us back into the closet, they will. So that's why it's important to be out, to be visible, and to participate in our government.

TMP: For those that feel they are alone and unable to come out, what message do you have for them?

Bob McCranie:

For those who feel alone, just realize that you now live in a generation and an age where your cell phone can give you a community. You live in a generation and an age where that laptop or that computer can connect you to people around the world. Back when I came out, this was not an option. Computers filled a room and had their own air conditioners, they didn't have the networking that goes on. I can tell you that there was a generational shift when sites like America Online and CompuServe came on, and LGBT people could find each other across different chat rooms and across different parts of their city or the country. That really sort of opened doors.

It used to be you had to go to a large city and hope that they had a gay bookstore or a gay club that wasn't being raided by the police all the time. Every phone book that I knew of at the time had, in the white pages, they had a little... A gay helpline. So if you were new to town and wanted to know where it was safe, you could call them, or if you were just feeling down and depressed and suicidal, you could call the gay helpline, and they... Call them and somebody was a volunteer on that line.

When I came... Well, when I first came out in Washington D.C., that's... Was the first call I made when I finally decided to reach out for help, and this was 19... Probably '85, '86. So, the idea that you are alone is wrecking and horrible, but reach out to people. There is a whole realm of electronic interaction that you can have until you can get out of the place you're at and get to a safer community.

TMP: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self to help you with your coming out experience?

Bob McCranie:

I would just tell myself, "Stay true." I would tell myself to focus on what was important at the time, which for me was getting my college degree, and then to not be scared of so many things. And I don't necessarily agree with the idea that we should go back in time and give ourselves a message to do something different, I'm not sure that... That would change who I am today, and I'm not sure that would be something I would do, but basically I think if it was be anything, it would be feel confident in yourself. Don't be so skittish as to deny yourself, and to just relax and realize things do get better. There are supportive people out there, you just haven't found them yet, and you will.

TMP: For those that are not part of the community, but want to be allies, what would you impart on them so as to be most helpful?

Bob McCranie:

Ask questions. Get to know us. Get to understand who everybody is. Now, I will tell you that we've added a lot of letters to the acronym. It used to be the Dallas Gay Alliance, then it was the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and now... Then they added bisexual and transgender, and questioning, and the... There's a plethora of new initials that even people in the LG community aren't fully cognizant of or fully embracing, which is sad. We can't fight for the freedom of one without fighting for the freedom of all, so... And the concept of self-definition has really grown in the last five to seven years. People can now define who they want to be and what they want to be, and that's something, whether we realize it or not, we were fighting for all along.

So if somebody wants to be an ally, find people and talk to them and get to know who they are, because I'm not sure that the label LGBT, et cetera, is going to fit everyone exactly, so I would urge you to get to know the individual and to advocate for individual rights, and to just think about it as far as everyone is equal under the law, Fourteenth Amendment, and everybody should be equal in this society.

And I know that's a pipe dream, not everybody is equal, it just... Just unfortunately we're not there yet, but if you want to be an ally and a supporter of the community, come get to know the community. Our meetings are always open at Carrollton Pride, you are welcome at our table. As long as you're respectful, we're respectful, everything's great. And frankly, we would not be where we are today without allies. This is not a movement in a vacuum, this is a lot of people pulling together and working and helping, so I invite you to come meet us, and to come to our meetings.

TMP: What is something that you would like to say to those viewing this, that we have not specifically covered?

Bob McCranie:

I guess my advice to the future, and to those that are watching this, is get involved, go vote, participate in your community, participate in Pride activities, be a volunteer as much as you are anything else. Give back and help those who need the help. Today's young activists will be tomorrow's legacy volunteer, and you are seeing a community that is still in a process of changing. I can look back at the changes to the Oak Lawn community from 1992 to today, and just it's marvelous the things that have changed. There are some things that are still horribly needing to be fixed, and we need more volunteers for that.

I can look at our national landscape and see amazing changes, and then the dread of the pendulum swinging back. We hang in the precipice of equality by one Supreme Court Justice. And none of our rights, I don't believe any of our rights came through the legislature or came through the executive branch, except for perhaps Don't Ask, Don't Tell being reversed. But most of our rights came through the judicial system, and if we don't get out and vote and... And by "Vote," I mean vote at the county level, the city level, the national level, vote in every election you possibly can, for people who support your community.

I'm not going to tell you which party that is, you can figure that out for yourself, but if they don't support you as a human being, then having lower taxes is irrelevant. If they don't support you as a human being, anything else is not on the top line of the list. So that would be my request for those watching this, is get involved, volunteer, and get out and vote.

A big thank you to Bob for his contributing to this project. Also a special thank you to Bobby Jo Valentine for his support of this series through providing the backing music to all of the interviews.