It Gets Better: We're Giving Them Hope

Comments

1
I hope he knows he doesn't have to wait four years for it to get better.

http://www.amazon.com/Teenage-Liberation…
2
@1: Hee! I just clicked here to write that same thing. Read that book years ago. My kid has been to her camp the last three years.

Seriously, why keep sending a kid to a place where s/he suffers? There's just no reason for it, especially a kid who's old enough to educate himself (or find people outside of schools to help as needed). A kid who gets crap for reading all the time? Sounds like school is wasting that kid's time.
3
I think this project is great. It's a great idea and well executed. Having said that, the videos have gotten me thinking about about straight boys who fit the "gay: stereotype and are therefore harassed as gay even though they don't identify that way? Are there some people out there with that history who would be willing to speak to that?

I know this project is primarily aimed at helping gay youth and I support that. But if there are straight people who were harassed during high school and have gone on to have a better life, it would be great to hear from them as well (I haven't seen anyone in the posted videos on the SLOG that fits this description; the closest was the gay guy who referenced a heterosexual twin who was also harassed).

High schools is a very hard time for many people. I feel lucky that I made it through mostly unscathed. But I wouldn't say it was the highlight of my life either. It got a lot better when I graduated and went to college. It was like being granted license to show a more authentic self, rather than the one I constructed to survive high school.

I think that the general message of this project is one that lots of teenagers, gay or straight, ought to hear. As the woman above states, she's not sure if her son is gay or straight. I guess I would just hate to see a harassed straight kid miss (or dismiss) the "it gets better" message, because he or she thinks that it isn't relevant to them (or is afraid that even engaging with it might mark them as gay--something they obviously shouldn't care about but in their fear nevertheless might.
4
It's great to hear that things get better - seriously, it is, and Dan's doing a great thing here - but it's also important to stand up to bullies. It's old advice, but it's true. Pick the ringleader and give back as good as you get. If he swings first, you can claim self-defense, win or lose. You'll get a few shots in either way and he might think twice about continuing the bullying. It won't stop everyone else, but it stands a good chance of slowing it down a bit.

I realize this applies pretty much only to boys, middle class and above. I don't know what to say to girls - a violent girl will only get shunned and whispered about more - or to kids in gang-ridden inner-city schools.where standing up for yourself can get you killed. They have it tougher.
6
@4 My brother just started his freshman year and his whole friend group was being bullies (physically and verbally) by the senior jock assholes. After a week he pulled out his self-defense arsenal on the biggest guy and kicked his ass. He hasn't been bothered since. Violence is sometimes an answer when your opponent isn't reasonable or logical.

Unfortunately, his friends are all pacifists, so that adds more to the "you're a fag" reputation and they're getting hell still. I'm hoping he'll stick up for his friends too.
7
Can we help him get's proper punctuation?
8
@4: Kenny Rogers said it best: Sometimes you've got to fight when you're a man.

@5: came to post the same thing's.
9
I just saw an ad for this (and an quick promo piece from DS hisself) on MTV. One thing about all this though: some of the videos have had a vibe akin to "don't be such a sissy; tough it out".
10
Too bad if you're too uncoordinated to fight eh, tough guys?
11
@7/8 Nice one, grammar queens.
12
I'm one of those straight boys who was the target of anti-gay bullying in middle and high school. For me, it was worse in high school, but it never rose to the level described in some of these videos. There was a lot of taunting and threats of violence. Fortunately, there was very little actual violence. Need I mention that one of my chief tormentors turned out to be gay?

My son started being targeted when he was in second grade. The school wasn't doing anything about it, so we moved him. It started again in 5th grade, and while it took a little too long for the new school to step up and stop the bullying, they did -- at least as best they could. The worst offenders were suspended and moved to other schools after they were busted for other offenses.

He's now in a great high school where he's accepted for who he is.

13
midwaypete, I'm so glad you and your son took action and got some good results! Congratulations.

Psst: Canuck - Canadians have won my Mellowly Adorable in Every Way award: Godfrey and Charley (Charley once was a bully himself!):
http://www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproje…
14
Savage, these videos are great. But what about the here-and-now that the kids are suffering through? I know the Trevor Project offers a helpline and you've got a link to their website on the IGBP page, but maybe it should be put front and center, along with other sources of immediate help. Knowing that in 1-6 years things will be better is nice, but doesn't do much to help with the fact that those kids have to get up and walk through those doors again tomorrow morning, putting their physical and emotional health at risk. Who are they supposed to talk to? How are they supposed to get help? When your school turns a blind eye, and you can't go to your parents to confide in them, where are your resources? When you're a college student and you are maliciously outed, and fearing what people will think, what your parents will think, fearing being disowned and universally hated, where are you supposed to go for help and safety?

Knowing it gets better works for "good" days, but it does jackshit for those days from hell, when you're suffocating from the pain and isolation of torment.
15
@3 when the project started many of us mentioned that this message was good for all bullied kids, not just the GLBT ones. However I can see the point of centering this project on GLBT adult videos. The difference between a straight bullied teen and a GLBT bullied teen is that the straight teen has examples all around him or her of healthy, productive, well-adjusted straight adults. Of course that doesn't make it all OK, not by a long shot. However GLBT have to go through all the same shit as a bullied straight kid PLUS often has absolutely no point of reference or example of a healthy, well adjusted happy gay adult in their lives. To them, it seems like the very fact of being who they are automatically precludes them from happiness. Hence the need to concentrate the videos of GLBT adults (incidentally, I haven't seen any trans adults yet, and trans kids are often most victimized, so here's hoping for a video) in a place where it won't get buried under the onslaught of straight videos.
I'd love to see an offshoot project oriented towards all teens though. I'm personally itching to make a video to all the awkward nerdy girls, to tell them that it gets better for them, too.
16
Oh, gus, what a sweet video ("why are you laughing at me?" "I'm not!" -snicker-)! At first I thought they were the same two guys who were sitting in front of my son and me at the Scissor Sisters concert (they weren't)--a big, stoic guy, and his smaller boyfriend, who kept snuggling up to him--very cute!

PS Aforementioned son claims to not know what a hipster is (he's 14), while at the same time showing me some retro eyeglasses on Etsy that he will get "if he ever needs them"....
17
Canuck, by golly, either your son's tender age lets him transcend the hipster-or-not binary we mere mortals are stuck with - or else his generation just has a different word for it...!
18
" Are there some people out there with that history who would be willing to speak to that?"

Sure. Me. I was a straight kid that didn't fit "the profile" -- I hated sports, I was smart, I dressed well, I was small and thin and never exactly stereotypically "masculine," and I resolutely refused to change who I was to fit in. So as a reward, I got harassed every single day for all three years of high school. Not a day didn't go by when I didn't get called a fag, or get shoved into a locker, or pushed in the hall, frequently multiple times a day. The administration refused to do anything about it -- my principal at the time actually used the phrase "boys will be boys," and I was told that I should try to fit in more if I didn't want to get harassed. I'm just lucky it didn't go any further than that -- I only got an actual ass-kicking a total of once.

And yeah -- it sure did get better. The minute I graduated. I skipped my graduation ceremony and just got the hell out of there. College was just fine and I felt such a sense of relief. It took until my 30s for my self-esteem to repair itself from all those years of harassment, but it happened.

I do think the message appeals to ANYBODY who has to suffer bullying but it makes sense to target it at gay youths because I think they get it worst of all. Power to all of them suffering through this and I hope your message gets out to as many of them as it possibly can.
19
I am so glad to see this center of support for struggling gay youth. When I was a teen I was an outcast girl and every gay person in school came out to me, because I was raised by my gay uncle and understood being on the outside. I am so proud of the gay community and the huge strides that have been made in the media and in the ordinary everyday lives of LGBT people to elevate positive images in our society. You have worked so hard and come so far.
I have a 14 year-old son, and my heart breaks for those families who lost their children to suicide. It struck me this week, that it is up to the straight community to step up our game and protect our communities and our LGBT brothers and sisters from the scourge of intolerance. We need to lend a hand and fight harder, because there is too much work to be done and too few to push back the tide. Being gay should not limit choices and make your world feel smaller, but it does. Every gay person I know has had to be 10 times more badass than anyone else just to openly move outside of the (admittedly beautiful) gay ghettos and into new territory. This is America and it makes me sick that not all of us are free.
20
I am so glad to see this center of support for struggling gay youth. When I was a teen I was an outcast girl and every gay person in school came out to me, because I was raised by my gay uncle and understood being on the outside. I am so proud of the gay community and the huge strides that have been made in the media and in the ordinary everyday lives of LGBT people to elevate positive images in our society. You have worked so hard and come so far.
I have a 14 year-old son, and my heart breaks for those families who lost their children to suicide. It struck me this week, that it is up to the straight community to step up our game and protect our communities and our LGBT brothers and sisters from the scourge of intolerance. We need to lend a hand and fight harder, because there is too much work to be done and too few to push back the tide. Being gay should not limit choices and make your world feel smaller, but it does. Every gay person I know has had to be 10 times more badass than anyone else just to openly move outside of the (admittedly beautiful) gay ghettos and into new territory. This is America and it makes me sick that not all of us are free.
21
I am so glad to see this center of support for struggling gay youth. When I was a teen I was an outcast girl and every gay person in school came out to me, because I was raised by my gay uncle and understood being on the outside. I am so proud of the gay community and the huge strides that have been made in the media and in the ordinary everyday lives of LGBT people to elevate positive images in our society. You have worked so hard and come so far.
I have a 14 year-old son, and my heart breaks for those families who lost their children to suicide. It struck me this week, that it is up to the straight community to step up our game and protect our communities and our LGBT brothers and sisters from the scourge of intolerance. We need to lend a hand and fight harder, because there is too much work to be done and too few to push back the tide. Being gay should not limit choices and make your world feel smaller, but it does. Every gay person I know has had to be 10 times more badass than anyone else just to openly move outside of the (admittedly beautiful) gay ghettos and into new territory. This is America and it makes me sick that not all of us are free.
22
Sorry about the triple(!!!) post. Dunno what happened....
23
I hope every young person can live with hope and a sense that they are loved. I work with college students as the campus chaplain and am part of our "Safe Zone" training to give gay students a safe place to talk and question. We all need to work together to stop these senseless deaths and help every person live fully and freely. God Bless Us All-No Exceptions!
24
My gay teen son has JUST made it to university, a good one, where he is 100% OUT and happy! The last 5 years have been very difficult, in spite of having protective factors, such as loving support from Dad and Mom and PFLAG. (We are rural). What you are doing is great. In spite of my son being tall, he was bullied verbally and pushed a lot in the halls. He invited, much to my chagrin, the bullies to meet him at a certain spot to fight it out after school, but they never showed. A teacher in a classroom had a rainbow sticker in her class. He knew she had a safe classroom- that made all the difference to him.
Although we as parents are just "coming out", we have already been "dissed" by others as the saying says but the friends and churchmates that love us and our son are true and steady. It's hard, Moms and Dads of gay kids, but it gets better.
25
As a geek from high school, all I can say is it does get better - regardless of sexuality. Hell - I even got laid once before I got married. ;-)

But seriously - high school sucked. I was a reader, non-athletic (I did play tennis, but as far as the bully athletes were concerned - that was non-athletic), and geeky. Perfect target material for the SOBs. I did have my group of friends, which did make things tolerable.

High school ended after 4 years, and things were much, much better in college. I can count on one hand the number of times classmates pulled the same childish BS as was pulled in HS.

30 years later, I make a decent living, have good friends, and have been able to read the obituaries of the meanest SOBs from HS (DUI), and even about the court case that sent one to jail for life. I'm not joking about any of that - although the first part is the one that counts, the others are simply icing. ;-)
26
As a geek from high school, all I can say is it does get better - regardless of sexuality. Hell - I even got laid once before I got married. ;-)

But seriously - high school sucked. I was a reader, non-athletic (I did play tennis, but as far as the bully athletes were concerned - that was non-athletic), and geeky. Perfect target material for the SOBs. I did have my group of friends, which did make things tolerable.

High school ended after 4 years, and things were much, much better in college. I can count on one hand the number of times classmates pulled the same childish BS as was pulled in HS.

30 years later, I make a decent living, have good friends, and have been able to read the obituaries of the meanest SOBs from HS (DUI), and even about the court case that sent one to jail for life. I'm not joking about any of that - although the first part is the one that counts, the others are simply icing. ;-)
27
I've designed an "It Gets Better" t-shirt that I'm trying to spread the word about. My goal is to bring more attention to Dan Savage's fantastic It Gets Better Project and also to donate a really generous portion of my sales to the Trevor Project.

www.ItGetsBetter.biz
28
I've designed an "It Gets Better" t-shirt that I'm trying to spread the word about. My goal is to bring more attention to Dan Savage's fantastic It Gets Better Project and also to donate a really generous portion of my sales to the Trevor Project.

www.ItGetsBetter.biz
29

Thanks very much for your courageous work.

What everyone needs to understand is that almost everyone is gay, to one degree or another.

See 'Kinsey': www.imdb.com/title/tt0362269/

It is fact well-known to psychology that those who lash out at gays do so because they cannot accept that part of their own nature: psikoloji.fisek.com.tr/jung/shadow.htm

Thus, e.g., we read in today's news:

news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101020/ap_on_re_eu…

Kinsey only rediscovered what the most astute observers of humankind have always known. In ancient times, the men of the Roman, Greek and Celtic armies routinely slept with one another.

Thus we learn that times change, opinions vary.

I know these things from my own experience. As a counselor, I do what I can to be open and accepting of everyone. As a bodybuilder, I have a certain visual appeal. (He wrote confidently.)

So it is, I suppose, that guys hit on me everywhere, all the time. Boy-next-door types. Ruggedly masculine sorts. Virile, married men.

For a while it threw me, but now I see it's really no big deal -- just nature taking its course. But I have the benefit of many years and a measure of learning...

Whereas youngsters all too often only feel a Big Bad within them which they do not begin to comprehend and which frightens them into acting out -- striking out at those who seem to embody what they most fear in themselves.

What else should I say... ~Kurt Cobain