05 October 2010

A straight guy says, "It gets better"

I appreciate the following video made in response to Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" campaign in response to gay teens facing bullying and ostracizing to let them know that there is joy ahead for them. I've heard/seen Dan Savage online before, and he's an engaging and frank speaker/columnist on issues of queer life and relationships and sexuality who sometimes impresses me with his candor and practical wisdom and sometimes...yes...upsets my more conservative sensibilities or personal standards or makes statements I think are not completely thought through. I believe this campaign is a good-hearted effort to reach out.

To be honest, I feel a little discouraged by some of the videos people have personally made in response to the call to testify "it gets better" on YouTube and other social media because I can't relate or hope I don't become an awkward old queen or a slimy, shirtless manslut. Yes, I'm judging, don't judge. *momentary "wait, what did I just say?" expression* But some I relate to. And I think that's part of the beauty of the campaign: many different faces and voices piping in to say, "Hey, it may suck for a while, but it gets better, even better than we could have imagined. We promise. We're glad we stuck around to find that out and hope you'll do the same."

It may be hard for people in other belief systems to understand, but most young LDS gay guys and gals, along with those in similarly homosexuality-eschewing belief systems, aren't going to find much comfort in this campaign. It's full of people who are "happily" living with their same-sex partners or as out, single gay adults who have become comfortable with their sexual orientation. In a way, it could make it worse: "Oh great, so it gets better, but only if you're living a sinful lifestyle, which I won't do, so what about for me? Does it get better for people like me?" So far, I haven't seen the faces of those who are saying, "Hey, you're torn right now, but don't worry: life gets better as a faithful, single member of the church." I may not agree that same-sex relationships are clearly and inherently contrary to the will of whatever deity may exist, so in one way, I don't want organizations out there sending that message because I struggle to believe it leads to happiness for most who pursue it, but I also know many for whom it is their only option (in their minds) and seems to have led to happiness as they've done it wisely rather than white-knuckling. And I also remember that as an LDS youth, it would have been meaningful to have found video messages of that sort, to see faces and voices of people setting aside doctrinal expositions and assertions of "change" to simply say, "Hey, it gets better."

So whether or not an organization like North Star pipes in with their own version of "It Gets Better" videos, in the meantime, I appreciate videos like this one from a straight guy who can relate on some level to the bullying and "being different", even if not in the same exact way:

PSA from the campaign:


Bravone said...

Working on it.

Lee said...

I appreciated Brandon Kiley's video very much. Having been through some devastating experiences in my own younger life that caused me to have suicidal thoughts, I toughed it out, I know "it gets better", and there's always hope on the horizon. I especially appreciated what he said at the end: "Be who you are." Your sexual orientation doesn't define you. Who you are inside is the reason you are loved by those who know you.