As promised, today we are talking about the color purple. Mostly because yesterday, everyone was supposed to be wearing it to fight against LGBT bullying.
And frankly, gay teens are getting bullied at an unacceptable rate.
But this fact is nothing new. In fact, the statistics have been unacceptable for a pretty long time. This in nothing new. According a study done in 2006 gay teens are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterpart. That’s terrifying.
But people are trying to make things better. In September of last year, one of my favorite columnists, Dan Savage, put together the project “It Gets Better” with his husband. How it works is pretty simple. People are making videos to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teens explaining how it does get better as you get older. That the bullying does, eventually, end. It’s a pretty amazing concept, and has received national attention. Even President Obama has done a video. But my favorite is by Secretary Hilary Clinton’s.
In any regard, as people are attempting to make things better, I have to wonder if things are getting better. I don’t think they are.I mean, just this week, another gay teen killed himself. His name was James Hubley. What hurts most for me, is that this kid wrote in his blog that the bullying “hurts too much.”
As I wrote in a post honoring Matthew Shepard, another life has been lost. So, whatever it is we are attempting to do, it is coming too late.
I think the problem with Mr. Savage’s project is that we keep saying it gets better, and from a teenager’s prospective, hell from my own perspective, it doesn’t look like it is. Not when we are protesting Wall Street for corporate corruption. Not when the Congress looks gridlocked and unable to pass any sort of legislation. Not when when the debate for President has politicians saying things about how homosexuality can simply be washed away, or linking homosexuality to alcoholism.
I learned long ago, that united we can stand, but as an individual we fall. It’s a fact. If we are have good collection of friends and a strong relationship with our family, we often succeed. I don’t think us lying to kids about how it gets better, is the way to go. I think we need to make it better.
Batting around in my head are ideas about how we can truly illustrate to kids how things already are better, so Monday iREADray will be announcing a project about how it not only gets better, but it already is. Stay tuned.
PS: Until then, here’s a song to get us pumped up for the mission.