Monday, November 7, 2011

It Gets Better? Really?

The "It Gets Better" campaign is doing a really wonderful thing. I really believe that. It's clear with the number of gay suicides we're hearing about (and what about the ones we don't hear about? The ones that aren't publicized? Or the ones where nobody knew he was gay?) that this is something that needs to be happening right now.

But I find the campaign kind of frustrating at times.

People bullying you at school? It'll be okay. Someday you'll get a job and you'll make real friends who are nice and not bullies. Besides bullies just bully you to feel better about themselves. Feel alone? You're not alone, promise. And look, we're all in adorable relationships and are super successful now and some of us have cute kids!

Which is great and all.

But have you noticed that the people in the videos never really talk about their parents?

So what about if your friends are super supportive, you go to a school where you can be really open without fear, you have a beautiful girlfriend, you're smart and on track to be successful, you're confident...and the only source of sadness in your life is the knowledge that your parents will not and cannot accept you?

They never seem to talk about that.

When your father says the words, "I love you and I will always love you, but I cannot support the choices you're making right now. This is a path that only leads to darkness and sadness." When he can't say the word "gay" or "homosexual" or even your girlfriend's name out loud.

They don't talk about what it's like to know that someday you will have to choose whether to go to a family event or to pretend you're not happily married while you're there. Because bullies might go away. But your family? You don't leave your family behind.

They just might leave you behind.

So does it get better? I don't know. I wanted to believe for so long that it would. But now I'm not so sure. Christmas morning with my family and us as a couple is such a beautiful dream, but I think it will only ever be a dream. A dream I shouldn't have because it just makes me sad to dream it. It builds false hopes. I keep hoping that it'll "get better" and I've put so much stock behind this idea that "it gets better" and I think...I think it's time to give up that dream.

I think it's time to accept that it getting better depends on what "it" is.

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  1. I think a large part of the premise behind the It Gets Better Project is based on the idea that most of these kids are in high school. If we can just get them to hang on a little longer, they can get away from the community that is harming them. They can move away from their school, from their family, and from their community. They can find a new life, new friends, and a new family that will love and support them for who they are.

    It's not a wise idea to give up on our families overnight. It took most of us a few years to come to terms with our sexuality, and we need to extend some of that leniency to them. That said, blood relation does not give you the eternal right to bring nothing but pain and misery into my life. Families should treat each other in a certain way, and if that kind of love and respect can't be found in my traditional family, then I will find it in my gay Family.

  2. Thank you for this. I totally agree with you. But I just have to remind myself that the campaign doesn't say, "It Gets Perfect," just 'better.' But I am still frustrated, like you, because they don't say, "It will probably get much worse before it gets better" because, personally, I'll take the bullying of my peers every day if I could have loving acceptance from my parents.

    @El Genio-I think the message of "new family" is well-meaning, but I don't like it. It would be amazing if my parents would one day not only accept my partner and children, but embraced us. But I highly doubt my mother would ever encourage me and a partner to have kids, as great as that would be. So, I have been told that my friends can be my family. And, like you said, I "can move away from... [my] family." But in no way would that be a world that is "better" for me personally.

    But sure, these gay kids will probably find friends later in life who are like them and awesome, so that is better!

    But being gay still kind of sucks sometimes.


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