Let's Get Real

I love this “It Gets Better” thing. I really do. I teared up like the rest of you when that Fort Worth City Councilman told his story about being bullied and got too emotional to continue with it. And I love that he and others have been able to reach a lot of queer and questioning youth across the globe with their messages of hope, support, and dreams deferred. A wide array of people, celebrities and wannabe celebrities, gay and straight, have recorded them. That is just great.

But they are missing the point. Feeling isolated and abused is a symptom of the wider culture of hate. When politicians like Christine O’Donnell and Carl Palladino are running for office for one mainstream US political parties, how can the youth not feel betrayed by the generations before them? And these conservative candidates who use homophobic rants to keep people interested in them are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The “radical liberals” aren’t doing so very much to fight the hate either. When a Democratically controlled Congress with a Democrat in the White House can not successfully repeal a law that patently states that the government should treat gays differently only because they are gay, how can a young gay man not feel that society has turned its back on them? Affirming the military’s inane assertion that gays in combat would somehow weaken our country gives young bullies the idea that being gay, or effeminate, or different at all makes you weak or a loser.

Not only are adults failing youth by creating a climate of hate, but they are also failing to get adequate resources to them. Having suicidal ideation does not have a direct causal link from bullying; it does have a direct causal link from mental illness. As someone who has had his own struggles with mental illness, I can safely say that the way I thought about myself and my disordered thinking led to my depression. External factors contributed to my depression. Sure I wanted a better job or relationship, but my thoughts about who I was and who I should be were what made me suffer. Parents, teachers, and friends of teens being bullied or showing signs of depression need to get them help. Professionals can and will be able to give these teens the tools they need to get the better life they want.

So my Tuesday rant is over folks. I’m giving up on all the politicians and requiring mandatory mental health screenings. I also implore you not to allow teens to see this video below. It gives them the wrong impression of gay culture. As a mature adult, I trust you can enjoy just how awful this getting better thing has gotten.

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5 thoughts on “Let's Get Real”

  1. Hmmm. We don’t know what to say when you are being serious it seems.

    I know that mental health services are VERY hard to get for kids here. I’m not sure about teens per se. They say it takes kids 6-12 months to get help, they are trying to fix it but …. Fortunately I’m in a position to pay should my child ever need the help, I can pay for a therapist or that type of thing, but many families can’t, or won’t, which is even sadder.

  2. I think Tam hit the nail on the head, when we stop with the dick jokes for a day … people just don’t know how to respond.

    Mikey, I’ve talked to you about this in private before, and I agree with you 100%.

    On a lighter note, that guy’s voice + ears + wife beater + creepy facial expressions while singing + armpits = me barfing.

  3. You said, “Having suicidal ideation does not have a direct causal link from bullying; it does have a direct causal link from mental illness.”

    Um.

    Recent research is suggesting that mental illness isn’t particularly physiological; it’s environmental. I expect a direct causal link from bullying soon.

    If you live in an environment where you’re marginalized, you’re going to internalize it. The campaign is in its infancy; while I don’t disagree with you about wanting more, AT LEAST IT’S SOMETHING.

  4. As you said, they may be missing the point. In one respect, the message “it will get better” seems like a band-aid. What about now, though? Shouldn’t we do more about the problem than just saying that some day it won’t hurt so much?

    But I am glad that the message is out there. It seems like a start. And if it makes just one person feel not so isolated then it’s worth it.

    I agree with Adam’s lighter note.

    And Mikey, keep up the serious posts. Sometimes I like to read them and reflect a little before responding.

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