I have said before that perhaps the matter that concerns me most in the GBLTQ community is our kids. Our kids go through hell on a regular basis. None of my close friends have had easy or happy childhoods due to reactions to their sexuality or genderidentity.
We can see the repeated vileness imposed on our young. We see kids refused a place in schools because their parents are GBLTQ. We see kids suffer vicious bullying – to a degree so omnipresent that study after study points to nearly every GBLTQ kid suffering some form of harassment and attack in school for being who they are.
We know that often these kids cannot turn to their nearest and dearest for help. In the closet, they cannot reach out to family, to parents – even to teachers or counsellors or medical professionals. Indeed, these are often a part of the problem (and that includes the medical profession. That is why these cases of anti-gay counsellors being slapped are so important. Can you imagine being at a vulnerable place in your life, reaching out to a medical professional to try and help you work through it or endure it, to even pull you back from the ledge and… ooops, you got yourself a bigot?) – and our children have a horrendous rate of homelessness, at least in part caused by rejection from their very homes.
Suicide rates among our young are horrendous, many times higher than their straight, cisgendered counterparts. And in so many cases this pain is completely ignored by school authorities. Children are being attacked and they are despairing and dying and little is done about it.
In fact, the hate orgs fight tooth and nail over any attempt to combat anti-GBLTQ bullying anywhere, even pushing a boycott of schools during the Day of Silence, even if inclined to help, school staff are hampered by the gagging of the outraged right that cares nothing of the lives lost. This is not a story of one school or even one country – because this shit is happening over and over everywhere.
In light of this, I applaud Dan Savage’s new initiative “It Gets Better”
Dan Savage is certainly a problematic figure, but I don’t think this detracts from the worth of this, especially since it very much isn’t about him. This is a project open to all LGBTQ people to submit their stories – stories of surviving, stories of recovery – testimony that it DOES GET BETTER. A statement to all our young on the edge of despair that it does get better, that there is hope.
It’s not perfect, it’s not ideal. But perfect and ideal are not remotely attainable at this time. While we can and should fight tooth and nail to try and push back the harassment of our young, it’s an uphill battle and anti-GBLTQ bullying, homophobic and transphobic society, erasure and general pervasive heterosexism and cissexism everywhere means perfect is a long damn way off.
But this could be a lifeline. If it gives some kids just a little hope to hold on, it is worth every second people take and more.