Recently, a friend clued me into Dan Savage's online project called 'It gets better.' You heard of this? Basically, it is Dan and his boyfriend sending an internet message to queer youth that life gets better, ie livable, after high school. They did this in response to the rash of suicides of queer kids across the country. What news does not get to me via the few hours I am tuned into NPR must get to me via the few hours I see my friends. This trend is news to me. Which explains my initial reaction to the video: Is this a joke? Are they for real? It seemed laughable in it's sincerity, in it's implausibility. As in, this is really necessary? Life is not like Capitol Hill - a big gay bubble? Then my incredulousness turned to something else. Whatever it is called when you suddenly realize that, no the rest of the world, especially Small Town, America, is not a big gay bubble; when it sinks in that people exist in the world that really do hate queers. Oh, shit, I thought, this isn't joke.
Then I just got pissed. Where the fuck are the out of high school jerks making videos for the still in high school jerks telling them to 'Knock it the fuck off! Beating people up and hating is not cool!' ? Why is it just the older queers having to tell the youngins to just Deal with it, grin an bear it, there is nothing you can do, there is no one to help you now so just hang on. That fucking sucks that this is their message because what they are saying is tragically, inarguably true.
Dear Young Ones, Adolescence is rough, kids are mean, your peers are cruel. And unfortunately, adults can be the same sometimes, too. 'Cept they don't have to hate you outright, they can just allow their kids/other kids to hate you for them and make it seem normal, make it seem like you are crazy and immoral and worthless. I had supportive parents and teachers and friends and it still sucked. I cannot imagine having to go thru that with no one having my back. This makes me infinitely sad.
Writing this from my apartment in Gayville, USA, I cannot help but feel a bit helpless. What can I do to extend love to those who need it? Dan, your video makes sense to me now. I applaud you. I mean, I saw what you were trying to do in the beginning, I just had a giant reality check get in the way for a minute. There is talk in my friend group of joining the project, posting more videos, extending their support. Cuz believe it or not, it does get better. SOOOOOOO MUUUUCH BETTER. You 'just' have to make it thru high school; graduate, move the fuck out of your town. For now, that is the solution. And if you can't make it to 18, make it to 16 and move and finish your education at a Community College. If you need a place to crash, I have floor space. High school can be a sick joke, but it doesn't last forever. Ignore the meanies as best you can, learn to love yourself, life, yourself, learn as much as you can.
In the meanwhile, we who have graduated have some work to do in the realm of changing the minds of folks our age, making this place more acceptable, expanding the gay bubble to include all. This shit takes time, so apologies, but we need your patience. And know that we also need you, Alive and kicking, to add to all the coolness that exists in this world. Gay people can't just conjure up gay babies out of thin air, we use straight people to do the dirty work for us. The draw back is that we don't get to hold you and squeeze you and tell you how much we love you until you are like 18. Which is totally backwards, we know, but it's what we have to work with at this point in time.
So, Dan, thank you for doing this. Queer youth, we love you. Jerks, knock it off. Everyone, it's time we focus our energies on something a little more productive. May I suggest a little something called love.