A better way to channel our outrage: "It Gets Better"
A great article in the NYTimes this past weekend about cyberbullying — and in particular cyberbullying over sexual orientation — included this line which really made us stop and think: “the punishment must fit the crime, not the sense of outrage over it.” It’s wise and it’s true, but we’d forgotten that — and it doesn’t answer the question, what do you do with all the outrage you feel? The outraged part of us feels that Tyler Clementi’s college roommate — who secretly filmed Clementi hooking up with another guy then posted it online, leading to Clementi’s suicide — deserves to go to jail for a long, long time. Same goes for the assholes who bullied 13-year-old Seth Walsh about his sexual orientation — Walsh hanged himself from a tree in his backyard last month and died after more than a week on life support. And countless other gay teen suicides across the country — often as a direct result of peer bullying.
But now we’ve figured out what we can do — throw all our energies into supporting Dan Savage’s awesome new YouTube channel, “It Gets Better.” Savage and his husband filmed the first video themselves, and we dare you to watch it without crying, especially in light of the recent bullying and suicides. Their message to gay teens? Life after high school does get better, but only if you stick around and live your life. And if you don’t stick around, the bigots win. They talk about how they each found a community of supportive friends, how they came out to their families, how they found each other, how they adopted their son together, and how awesome life as a gay man can be, once you’ve left the teenage bigots behind. And now they are soliciting video submissions from anyone else who can help spread the same message (they already have more than a hundred submissions). As Savage writes in his column, “LGBT kids who don’t know any LGBT adults need to see—with their own eyes—that gay adults lead happy and rewarding lives. So if you decide to make a video—and I hope that you do—don’t just share your pain. Share your joy. Give ’em hope. Save a life.”
Savage and his husband both say that their lives improved the second they graduated from high school, though sadly that wasn’t true for Tyler Clementi. But the ultimate message is, once you can choose where you live and who you live with and who you socialize with — which may not happen until after college for some people — you are going to have an awesome life. Please tell everyone you know about this channel; we can’t imagine a better, more uplifting response to all the asshole bigots like Clementi’s roommate. Also, will someone please make Dan Savage — who is, no shit, a good Catholic boy — a goddamn saint already?