September 25th, 2010
The news about Billy Lucas, the Indiana teen who committed suicide after his bullying classmates assaulted him with anti-gay epithets and told him to go home and kill himself, has shocked the conscience of people everywhere — except for his fellow classmates who continued to leave epithets on his Facebook memorial page.
It’s tough, it’s really tough to read about these horrible tragedies which occur all-too-frequently, and it’s outrageous when we see anti-gay activists like Focus On the Family deliberately setting out to preserve the intolerable status quo. Dan Savage discussed his reaction to Billy’s suicide in a recent Savage Love column:
“My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas,” a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. “I wish I could have told you that things get better.”
I had the same reaction: I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.
But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.
Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.
Dan and his partner have created a wonderful video describing their difficult experiences in school, but the focus is on the fact that as soon as they made it through high school, it got better. Much, much better. As Terry, Dan’s partner of sixteen years, put it:
Honestly, things got better the day I left high school. I didn’t see the bullies every day. I didn’t see people who harassed me every day. I didn’t have to see the school administrators who did nothing about it every day. Life instantly got better.
The decision to end one’s life hinges on the hopelessness of believing that things will never get any better, that the hell you’re living today is as it always will be. Dan encourages young people to consider that their lives can be long, and if they can see their way clear to make it through the situation they find themselves in now, things really will get better:
If there are fourteen and fifteen and sixteen-year-olds — thirteen-year-olds, twelve-year-olds — out there watching this video, what I’d love you to take away from it really is that it gets better. However bad it is now, it gets better. And it can get great and it can get awesome. Your life can be amazing. But you have to tough this period of it out and you have to live your life so that you’re around for it to get amazing. And it can and it will.
Dan has started a YouTube channel called “It Gets Better” for people to contribute their own videos. The channel is not for people to dwell on the horrible experiences that they had, but to include those experiences in a broader message of how things got better after high school. Ninety videos have been posted so far. If you want to include your video, you’ll find instructions on the channel’s home page.
Meanwhile, here’s another one:
All those years in high school where I was sitting there being like, you know, ‘Who understands me? And why can’t I find them? Where are they?’
They had been there the whole time waiting for me to get through high school and to graduate and to get up the courage to leave that awful phase behind. Everyone who has supported me, everyone who loves me for who I am, exactly the way I am, they had always been there. They weren’t born the day I came out. And they weren’t born even a month before I came out. They’ve been there with open arms just waiting for me to come alive and to realize my potential.
And all the people who are going to be there for you on the other side, they’re walking around wondering where you are now. And they’re waiting excitedly with open arms.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.