I haven’t watched Glee in over a year, but like most people with an ear to the ground, I’d been expecting (SPOILER ALERT) one of the show’s gay characters to attempt or complete suicide this season. That finally happened this week when gay football player Dave Karofsky made a failed attempt. Fashion/Pop Culture bloggers Tom & Lorenzo (hereafter T Lo), who had praised the introduction of the gay romance last year, had some harsh words for the episode, and even harsher â€“ and truer â€“ words for the It Gets Better Project.
[K]ids only get so much out of “It Gets Better.” You know why? Kids, by their very natures, are not forward-looking; everything is RIGHT NOW and of the HIGHEST IMPORTANCE. We canâ€™t think of any message from an adult more condescending to a teenager than “Shh. It’s okay. Just dream of ten years from now.” Especially since the message of “It Gets Better” pretty much accepts anti-gay bullying as an inevitability; something for the kid to just hunker down and get through. In other words: the message of “It Gets Better” whether it intends it or not (and obviously, it didnâ€™t) is that the victims of anti-gay bullying have to do the work of dealing with it, but no one else does. “You’re on your own, kid. Chin up. The good news is, you might be happy in a decade.”
In the interest of full disclosure and bragging a little bit, I’ve internet-known Tom of T Lo for over a decade. Well before their website so deservedly took off, his and Lorenzo’s example was one of the reasons I finally came out in 2007, so I’m probably biased in favor of their opinion.
On the other hand, it could just be that they’re right.
The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and weâ€™ll sign on in nano-seconds. Because the people who need to address anti-gay bullying definitely arenâ€™t the victims â€“ and not the bullies, either. Itâ€™s society that needs to change its attitudes toward gays, from the top down. And when the majority of people are righteously angered by any attempts to dehumanize gays or treat them as inferior â€“ and more importantly, moved to act on that anger, rather than sitting at their computers and shaking their heads over it â€“ then anti-gay bullying will practically evaporate. Every time a gay kid takes his life, itâ€™s not he whoâ€™s at fault, nor is it the parents, the bullies, the church or the school district. WE ARE. WE ALL ARE. You should be furious about it, not gently weeping over music videos.
You know how I know T Lo are right? Because of this video.
February 21, 2012: Tanya Ditty from the anti-gay Concerned Women for America (Georgia chapter) compares gays to pedophiles, necrophiliacs
Anti-gay forces have been using this “23 sexual orientations” lie for years now, most memorably in 2009 by Rep. Steve King during debate on the Matthew Shepard Act (following then-Focus On The Family head James Dobson’s lead), when it was thoroughly debunked on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Following Ms. Ditty’s lying testimony Tuesday, the LGBT workplace protections bill was killed by Georgia House subcommittee. She was the only witness who spoke against it.
So here’s my question: How many newscasts have featured this prime example of what T Lo are talking about? How many national news sources have shown Ms. Ditty’s lies? What the hell, let’s open it up to Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly, and all the rest. Tanya Ditty’s blatant, pre-debunked, harmful, hateful lies most certainly contribute to the atmosphere of scape-goating and hatred and death of gays; how many times have they been shown for what we know they are?
The answer is none, and I’ll bet you a nickel it will remain none. Unless you’re pretty doggone plugged into LGBT political blogs, you haven’t seen this video because quite frankly, it’s still okay to tell these kind of lies about lesbians, gays, bi, and trans people. Worse, telling the truth about us is still a liability. The network heads know what we all know. There is no “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” movement in America, nor will there be. Americans just don’t have any righteous anger about the mistreatment and dehumanization of LGBT people, and with It Gets Better‘s transformation from first aid to supposed cure, the gay community has let them know that being a little sad when our kids kill themselves is close enough for us.