>It Gets Better if you Give a Damn

5 Oct

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With the rash of all the gay teen suicides in recent weeks (six that I am aware of in less than a month) due to bullying and hate crimes and the like, we’ve seen a rise in organizations like WeGiveADamn.org and the “It Gets Better” project.  Celebrities and high profile individuals are speaking out against these hateful little fucks and letting the young queers know that it’s okay to be who you are.  Suicide is NOT the answer.  
I am having issue, however, with the “It Gets Better” video campaign.  What I am getting from it all is that yeah, it sucks, but cowboy up.  It gets better.  Fuck better.  What about now?  I understand that the underlying message is to just hang in there but I have never been one to lie low.  I never had problems with the whole gay bashing phenom.  I came out at 15.  I was the first openly gay student in the history of both high schools I attended.  I didn’t give a rat’s ass who knew or what they thought of me.  And everyone pretty much knew it.  I got the occasional “faggot” shouted at me in the halls – to which I usually spun around and barked “WHAT?!?!?” right back at them.  So, no, I don’t know first hand what these kids are going through.  But to tell them just to wait it out because “it gets better” seems counterproductive.  What about telling them to stand up for themselves?  What about telling them to be proud of who they are?  What about giving them means and resources to do something about it?  This almost seems like shaming them into submission – don’t make too many waves – until things even out.  This doesn’t seem like a solution to me.  On the contrary, it seems to be adding more to the problem.
Or am I just seeing this all ass backwards and missing the point?  I want to tell them to stand up. Be proud.  Be active.  Give a damn and fight back.  (Can you tell I came from the ACT UP/Silence=Death generation of drag queens and faggots?  We wore combat boots and didn’t take much shit…)
What are your thoughts?  I guess any action – any call to awareness – is better than nothing.  I am just concerned that we are fueling the fire instead of finding a way to put it out.
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16 Responses to “>It Gets Better if you Give a Damn”

  1. Veles October 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    >My heart-breaks every time one of these stories comes out. And it breaks for every one of these stories that never catches the public attention.And I get pissed off when celebrities want to polish their Good Guy Badge by coming out against homophobia when tragedy strikes. These people need to be talking all the damn time if they actually give a fuck.The best thing that was ever said to me, and that I could ever tell anyone else, is that ANGER is a much more productive emotion than fear or shame. Anger can protect you. It can toughen you up and keep you safe. Fear and shame leads to nothing but more dead bodies.

  2. Rabbit (aka Micael Chadwick) October 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    >A-FUCKING-MEN! Thanks for that. Doogie Howser is the one that really set me off on this tangent to begin with. He's done one of these damned videos and it came across as so fucking self serving I was seeing red… Cyndi Lauper's crazy straight ass does more for the gay community than Doogie Fuckin' Howser – unless, of course, there is press involved.

  3. Vencora October 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

    >all i can say is when my buddy came out in high school, he was probably the first gay person anyone in our town even knew of. but that boy was never afraid of a goddamn thing and everyone knew it. that confidence he portrayed (in that good ole' fake it till you make it way), seemed to linger in our community for future classes and generations. my little darling forced upon people's eyes with a screwdriver, and it seemed to work pretty well.

  4. Cheeseboy October 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    >Yes! I am with you. However, I have no idea what it is like to be in that position of powerlessness and fear, so it is hard for me to say what I would do in the same situation.

  5. Nariane October 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    >There is just something about this whole mess, but I'm not sure exactly what it is.I agree with you to be sure. The teen suicides are horrible, as are the reasons. That being said – teen years are horrid. What about ALL bullying and torrmenting? There are teens that are bullied and tormented for being fat, ugly, poor, goth, unfashionable, prudes, sluts, wearing glasses, having one mom, two moms, no mom, being the wrong colour, religion, ethnic background, for being too tall, too pale, too dark, too short, or as in my case being a 'ginger'… Children are horrifically cruel all round. ALL bullying needs to stop.Schools, governments, parents, coaches, etc need to REALLY take this seriously and crack down on bullying, and harrassment no matter what the reason, and encourage kids to stand up and talk to someone they trust (and sadly sometimes that ISN'T a parent)As for the "It Gets Better" – sometimes it doesn't…

  6. Pat Tillett October 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    >I agree, you shouldn't have to "tough it out."I gotta do some heavy duty searching to find info on a TV news segment I saw. It was about a high school in Indiana (maybe) where almost all of the students walked out of class in protest against the fact that their school would do nothing about the bullying a couple of gay students were receiving. It was the first thing I've seen in a while that gave me a good feeling about ANYTHING thats been happening in this country…When these kids are being bullied, there has to be tons of witnesses to it. Why aren't these sadistic bastards (or bastardettes) being charged with anything?And why do the other effing sheep who see it happen, just stand there and do nothing?

  7. ~L October 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    >Actions speak louder than words. Act up and act out for what you believe.Humanity hurts and humanity heals.We live side by side, not against each other.Whoever can touch, can teach.Whoever can learn, can live.please be the change in your community.please listen to our children.Please go with your gut and question your instincts.Heads out of the sand…NOW!peace be with us.<3~L

  8. Georgina Dollface October 5, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    >I have so much to say about this but I am just so tired tonight. It's hard to know what anyone would do when faced with such horrid bullying and oppression. I think that resistance comes in all shapes and sizes. And yeah that can be a pun if you want it to be. Resistance sometimes doesn't even look like resistance. Sometimes just surviving is an act of resistance. Sometimes dying is too. Ultimately it comes down to personal autonomy and the right to choose what is best for you. I think anything, as well-intentioned as it may be, that tries to prescribe the 'right' way to act (ie; "wait it out, hang in there, etc") when being oppressed can be very, very harmful too. – G

  9. Marlene October 6, 2010 at 12:02 am #

    >And now, to add insult to injury we have all this cyber bullying shit…..shitheads who are too cowardly to bully face-to-face (which in some cases would be better so the victim could have a chance to punch them in the nose at least) have found a safe haven online. Until I learn otherwise, I'll assume the turds who posted the video of this student fall into this category. Pisses me the hell off.

  10. Lynne H. October 6, 2010 at 3:16 am #

    >Oh boy..i could rant for days but will do my level best to rein in my pen..Pat nailed the two points square on the heqad: the bulliers and the cowards that allow this crap to take place. They both stem from ignorance.Children are not born hating. Fact..they are taught through parental influence, society, etc.Cowards are merely people who are in fact "diferent themselves as well. So they both are pathetic guilty ones.What to do? Jeezus, rewind to the womb? Not a possibility..The adminstrators/legal system MUST put a hard assed fist in the behind of the bulliers. Why can they not see the fractured soul of the person being injured. It is plain as day to see. The cowards need help. They need to be involved with organizations that wil help them develop the self-esteem to stand up and be heard.I was blessed to be raised to love and accept all. My brother is gay and we were allowed to love and accept him.Beautiful parents I had. I have freinds from all arenas that make up this world. We as citizens have to lift up and guide these youth so that when they are adults the hateful seeds do not bloom. It is our duty..Fuck, I probably made no sense here as I truly could write pages & pages. Bottom line, no person, no matter needs to suffer at the hands of a blind society..

  11. Raven of the Green Mountains October 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    >The way I would put the "it gets better" idea is: Yeah, it will get better when you stand up and say "fuck you" to these bastards who feel it necessary to bully individuals, because of who they are. It gets better when a person knows that they are not alone in the battle against hatred. It gets better when the fucker, who feels it necessary to demean someone to the point that they feel worthless, has their face smashed into the ground(hey sometimes..one has to do this).

  12. The Absence of Alternatives October 6, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    >GOOD FOR YOU!! THANK YOU! I have issues with the whole "just grin and bear it for now" thing with the entire bully thing too. But somehow I feel less qualified to complain about it since I am not "in the community" and I grew up in a culture where being academically successful actually makes you a star and get away with a lot of things. So in theory "I don't get it" so I keep my opinions to myself. On this matter. I wonder whether you grew up in a metropolitan area so your standing up for yourself did not result in anything horrible. The whole bullying thing affects not just the LGBT community, it affects all of us. And anybody that subscribes to the rigid gender stereotypes that are so unique to the US is responsible and contributing to the rampant bullying phenom that's been in our schools for decades.

  13. The Absence of Alternatives October 6, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    >By the way, I am loving the rabbit drawing. Did you do that? Do you make greeting cards with it? And I am tweeting this post.

  14. Robin October 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    >I was bullied for years in middle school and high school, not for my sexuality but other things, weight, my breasts. I think, at least to me, the point was that being a teenager is fucking awful and will always be fucking awful and if you can get through it, to the other side, it will get better. I wish I'd had videos and sites like that when I wanted to kill myself. I think it's easy to feel like nobody is doing enough and I agree in a way, there is so much MORE that needs to be done but if some of these videos makes a teenager feel less alone just for a little bit then that gives me a small sense of peace.

  15. Susan October 8, 2010 at 1:29 am #

    >It is NOT just "it gets better" it is to say that all teens struggle with finding themselves, but GLBT have more of an issue with it. It does tell them to be proud…Neil Patrick Harris tells them, "act with determination, Act with pride, act with courage" Additionally the message he and most of the other celebs give is to seek out the people that ARE supportive, and not get hung up on the negative ones. They further tell the kids to call THE TREVOR PROJECT.Susan

  16. Jane October 8, 2010 at 5:43 am #

    >There is so much to say about this subject. Over 12 years ago I hired a high school student to help me out with my son for a few hours after school. She attended a fancy private school in our area. She had quite a few friends there that were bi and gay and nobody seemed to have a problem with it. In fact, it seemed trendy and fashionable at that time to have a girl on girl experience. It made me sad that males still seem to have a harder time with being gay than females. Even sadder when females are objectified. Am i wrong? These rash of suicides are tragic and it sometimes surprises me as it seems that we've made some progress as far as coming out and celebrating our choices. Bullying in general is and will always be a problem. Kids are kids. Teens are even worse. Fucktards. Add to that a whole new generation that is tech savvy and ready to bully on a global scale with social networking sites. I get angry that schools push the "no bullying tolerated" thing and the minute the teachers turn their backs, bullying goes on. My son goes to a private school for kids with learning differences and the bullying there is worse than it is in public school. You'd think that kids at my son's school would have an understanding and certain tolerance for each other. I don't know what the answers are but I think bullying against anyone who is "different" will go on for a long time.

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