Thursday, October 21, 2010

it gets...uh, wait. does it?

So, I guess this whole thing with gay kids and gayish kids (that is, not necessarily gay, but gay seeming enough that their peers call them names and harass them) is getting kind of out of control, eh? I mean, not the bullying so much (though that’s not in any way cool) but all the resulting suicides. I mean, now, don’t get me wrong, bullies suck (as someone who was both bullied and a bully [although I was a pretty minor league bully, as I always remembered what it was like to be called a fag and punched] I can attest to this) but the real shitty move here is the suicide. Nobody wants to say this shit out loud and I’m definitely not trying to be unsympathetic, lord knows every time I read one of these stories I die a little thinking about what my poor, sweet little kids have in store for them when they get a little older, but man…fuck. The people that are really committing the shittiest act here are the people killing themselves. Yes, they’re young. Yeah, they feel like shit’s bottoming out, but uh…doesn’t everyone at some point? That’s kind of where the drama of being a teen comes into play, right? Okay, let’s back up a bit:

I didn’t grow up gay. I realize that especially in a world where your family is important to you and religious and they unequivocally equate gayness to evil, that’s a pretty heavy burden for a kid, but I want to stop short of saying that it’s something I could never imagine. Kids are, by nature melodramatic. That’s why kids desperately cling to music and identities and sloganeering and ideologies and shit like that. Pain is pain and in my experience a kid that witnesses their parents hateful divorce, or suffers abuse at the hands of some grownup or gets put into a special class because they’re stupid or grows up a pimply lard ass or has to watch a parent die or has a drunk mom or any number of other things make life for a teenager just as unbearable as it can possibly get.

Sure, there are fat, pimply gays out there who grew up watching their drunk moms die right after the hateful divorce and that totally sucks, but at the end of the day, there’s something really weird going on here, and I don’t want to say it’s something that pertains to all these unfortunate teen suicides, but I’ll be damned if it’s not a factor in at least some of them:

Namely, the sort of shrinking of the world and global localization of news have taken all these very separate events and bound them together and the message that is being presented (the secondary message, mind you. The first message is obviously “omg! Bullies are so mean [which is true, don’t get me wrong]) is that a lot of gay or otherwise persecuted teens see suicide as a viable way out of their situation.
This is a slippery slope, because this IS going on, and it needs to be reported, but there are tons of kids out there that are unfortunately thinking about, or successfully killing themselves and I can’t help but feel that all this attention on these gay suicides further marginalizes these bullied, marginalized gay/gayish kids and sends the message that being gay is SO MUCH WORSE than anything else that for a lot of kids, suicide is the go-to option. That’s fucked.

How bout a report on how being a teenager is rough, and how kids are dramatic and there’s a huge cross section of kids who have these kinds of thoughts, not just gay kids or kids who are perceived as gay. It’s just not healthy to keep this problem (which is the third leading cause of death in teens, by the way) in the media as a ‘gay kid’ problem. It’s irresponsible and it’s gonna create a self fulfilling prophecy that’s truly, truly dark and ugly.

Now, Dan Savage, one of my personal heroes (I actually had the good fortune of taking a piss right next to him once, which was pretty great [strange] and his brother was my professor at Northwestern, which I awkwardly told him while we were pissing…sigh) started this whole “it gets better” youtube campaign, which is awesome. It’s a bunch of people talking about how yes, being young and picked on is hard, but suicide is never the answer and here I am, all growed up and gay and I’m rich and I’ve got friends and shit gets way, way better.” It’s a great project and even if it may be a little bit uh, what’s the word….dorky and grown up, I think it’s about as close as anyone’s come to really effectively addressing what’s at the heart of this issue, which is marginalization.

However, I gotta wonder, does it really get better or does it just get worse in a different way? I mean, I’d never go back to living in my mom’s house and going to highschool, but I don’t know that I’m really totally psyched on getting audited and growing uglier and closer to death by the day either…I dunno, like I said, the ‘it gets better’ thing is cool. Maybe I’ll start a youtube channel too that says shit like “hey, it gets kind of good for a second there, and maybe if you’re lucky, you can capitalize on that moment, but otherwise, it may not get better, but you’ll be able to buy fireworks and whiskey and pornography soon, so there’s that, right? Good deal. Hit the showers.”

Okay both my kids are crying. I need to pay them some attention, I guess.
Later dicks.


Hamilton Martin said...

being from South Carolina, I see the negative side of this situation on a far-too-often basis. For some reason southerners hate gays like japanese people hate whales & dolphins. Its sad & scary at the same time. Lately i've been equating gay rights to the Civil Rights movement of the 50s,60's and asking the hatemongers "In 20 years, which side will you want to say you were on?" It gives even the most vehement redneck a moment's pause, because despite what you may have heard, we have excellent race relations for the most part here, and noone can forget that 50 years ago there were religious nutballs quoting pro-slavery verses from the bible. Its definitely a matter of perspective, for those on both side of the situation. Big props to Dan Savage, even though life doesn't ever stop sucking, it definitely gets better for most people.

Anonymous said...

1) I think gay kids might be getting bullied worse, especially in a country that says gays do not deserve equal rights (marriage). I know it's worse in other countries (Uganda) but that doesn't mean things can't be better here.

The lesson to kids being do not discriminate against your classmates for their sexuality.

2) The publicizing of the suicides draws attention to the fact that it is a problem in the US. It's important to spread awareness so that campaigns such as the "It Gets Better" campaign get started so that gay and lesbian teens get the message that it does, in fact, get better.

If it didn't get better then wouldn't everyone be killing themselves?

Josh said...

"If it didn't get better then wouldn't everyone be killing themselves?"

For the vast majority it doesn't really get better. Bullies and broken hearts are replaced by crushing debt and the subsequent financial stress, repetitive and shitty work and... well... more broken hearts and loneliness.

The different is that at 25 you're (for most people) far better equipped emotionally to deal with those things then you were at 16.

Cwell said...

I'm new here, Long time reader first time poster...
Hello Everyone!!

So I am going through teachers college right now and today in the public schools we had a Purple day for the homosexuals and trans-gendered peoples. Kind of in its own way setting a stereotype about a colour when a colour usually has no preference at all about which way you lean.

Anyways in the school today that I am doing my placement you have everyone wearing purple to support the gay community. But since it is a rural school you still have the kids who don't have purple and never will have purple in their wardrobe. Now those kids are being singled out as the hate mongers by the purple wearing crowd. IRONY!!

Long story short kids of today and old have tons of chemicals floating through their systems and many do not have rational thinking as part of their physical make-up until their bodies settle down around 20-21.

Pretty much if its not one thing its another, I feel bad about these kids and the suicides and wish that it wasn't this way.

Brian said...

I remember distinctly kids making fun of a boy in my high school for being openly gay. I never really thought anything of it at the time. But recently at work (i'm 22) I was working with this guy who was a little bit older than me and he's got a southern accent so he's been living in the country his entire life. Anyway, the guy found out another employee was a homosexual and this guy just rips the guy apart when i'm working with him. Pretty fucking sad.

Sir Larry Danger Lowry Esq. said...

Thank God you fucking addressed this.

Kasey said...

Dude this has nothing to do with this post but I was looking through our weekly paper in Eugene, Oregon (The Eugene Weekly) and lo and behold who is opening for some shitty "hippie jam band"? FUCKING ULTRAVIOLET HIPPOPATAMUS! I was in the break room at work and couldn't help but say "holy shit, you've got be be fucking kidding me". Obviously no one else in the room got why it was funny to me.

Sean said...

... I remember when I took a piss next to you. I was gunna put my arm around your shoulder (like we used to do to the freshman back in high school) or somethin' creepy like that... but thought better of it.

It was that show at Cafe Eleven in St. Augustine, FL that my friend and I drive down to see.

Needless to say, best show I've ever been to.

(not just cuz the piss...)

david said...

Just go ahead and say it, B. It DOESN'T get better. I was bothered that Savage said "it gets better" and then goes on to talk about traveling the world and skiing trips and crap - like anyone's ever going to afford to do that.

At least in high school you don't have to start worrying about a job... yet.

limited nobility said...

@brian-He just fucked the dude right there on tha spot huh!?Typ-i-caaaaal! im sorry you had to see that man......sean,you were crabby at that show yur mesomorphic (fuck yourself spell check) express for men mannequin physique was all covered up at the beach.mall rat style.buss it out next time dawg.....creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

limited nobility said...


Madelyn said...

First time commenting here, but I wanted to let you know I completely agree with you. The whole "there's no way out" thought needs to go away. I'm of the mind that things will eventually get better, and fuck at least of your friends and family. I had a good friend of mine commit suicide last month because he thought his life was totally fucked because he got a 3rd DUI. The guy was well loved, had a shit ton of friends, a cool family, and a job. People just need to learn to talk to others if they are feeling like there's no way out, because there totally is.

PS I'm totally addicted to your blog. It's fucking hilarious.

Madelyn said...

And there's a sentence in my post that makes no sense. I meant to write "and fuck, at least think of your friends and family." whoopsy daisy

Sean said...

-limited nobility

You were at that show?? Wasn't it siiiickkkk dude?

Sorry if I came off as "crabby," my friend and I had literally been up all night driving down there... so I'd say the lack of sleep contributed to any "negative vibes."

Also... what the fuck? You were watching me on the beach? hahaha

Sean said...

er... i mean... "lololol wasn't it SWeeeeeEeeT d00000d?!? lololol"

clapyouphillistines said...

here is an on-topic video from last week!

Jamie said...

Hamilton Martin I thought your screenname said House Martins and I was like that's awesome, that band ruled but you are Hamilton not House and I'm not reading accurately.

Basically my stance when I'm working with kiddos is that I try not to make promises like "it gets better"'s all about getting people to respect and understand themselves when they've never had models of respect or understanding and no one has respected or understood them. Or if the respect and understanding was there and for some reason the connection didn't happen and they didn't get it.
Which is some tough shit.

Anonymous said...

BK , you introduced me to Ashley Blue like a year ago when you mentioned her on some post here, this is my way of paying you back:

was it intended to be that hilarious???

limited nobility said...

I guess I thought it was strange that you were fully clothed on an idyllic day at the beach yet shirtless in here (where it's freeezing)for months.Did it seem to you that dandriano was trying coke for the 8th time that day and having his first inadequate experience with the drug?surly little sea turtle