September 24th, 2010

Reasons to live

I went to a pretty tolerant high school. No one was openly gay there, and I’m sure there was homophobia that was very hard on some kids, but it wasn’t rampant. In fact, there were a very few older kids who were not  completely closeted. In fact, there were a few of the very coolest whose mystique was augmented by a little sexual ambiguity. For that time and place, that was progressive.

Apparently, there are places in North America where queer youth are treated so badly–“bullying” doesn’t seem like the right word; more like abuse and assault–that suicide is a clear and present danger for them. Sex columnist and occasional author Dan Savage has started a channel on YouTube to try to talk those kids into *staying alive*: the It gets better project is a series of videos about how rewarding and happy and full of love a gay life can be if you outlast the bullies and survive the abuse and don’t kill yourself in high school.

It’s a horrible place to be coming to in our culture, but Dan and Terry (his partner)’s video, which kicked the project off, is so joyful and sweet. It’s really worth watching even if you’re not gay or not youth or neither; who doesn’t like to be reminded that love and family and fun are excellent reasons to stay alive? I would also maybe suggest that sympathetically minded folks post the link to the project wherever they can. Even as sympathetic as we are, we might not know which of our students or cousins or younger acquaintances are struggling; I think one of the big hurdles with bullying is the shame and secrecy.

I wish no one needed these videos but, failing that, I hope so many people watch them, and that they help.

3 Responses to “Reasons to live”

So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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