From Texas Public Radio:
As the first Marine injured in the Iraq war, Eric Alva fought for American freedoms. As a gay veteran, he fought to abolish ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’—after enduring the discriminatory policy for years.
“It was exhausting,” says Alva. “It was stressful, because you’re always having to just lie. You wonder, ‘Is this the day I’m going to go to the brig or be fired?’
And when San Antonio took up a proposal to bar discrimination against LGBT people and veterans in housing, city employment, and public accommodations, Alva visited a jam-packed City Hall each week and fought to gain the understanding of a heated horde of religious opponents.
“I’m a Purple Heart recipient,” says Alva. “I lost my leg. I sacrificed for this nation. I could still be thrown out of a restaurant if the owner wants to throw me out. So, I said that, and the opposition started booing. It was heartbreaking, because I remember going to my car after City Council, and I just started crying.”
It’s been three years since San Antonio approved changing its nondiscrimination ordinance—or NDO—to protect gay, lesbian and transgender citizens. The controversy that surrounded that decision seems to far outweigh the measure’s actual impact today.
In those three years, the city has received just seven complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.