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GOP Pols Appear In “It Gets Better” Video

Jim Burroway

October 25th, 2011
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Last July when the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation — with the exception of lone Republican Sen. Scott Brown — released an “It Gets Better” video, Dan Savage noticed the conspicuous omission. “Not a single GOP elected official can bring himself or herself to make a video, or participate in the creation of one,” he wrote at the time. I thought that couldn’t be true, and I challenged our readers to find that GOP elected official. You couldn’t.

Now, happily, that is corrected. Ten our of the fifteen-members New Jersey congressional delegation, including three Republicans, have issued a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign. Zach Ford reminds us that the three Republicans, Reps. Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo, and Jon Runyan, are not pro-gay by any means — two of them voted against DADT repeal, all three support DOMA, and none have supported legislation that might actually make things better for gay people  – this nevertheless is clearly a step in the right direction, and the three Congressmen are to be commended for finally making the right move.

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DN
October 25th, 2011 | LINK

I’d been wondering if anyone was able to find a GOP in an It Gets Better Video. Thanks for that update.

Andrew
October 25th, 2011 | LINK

I’m sorry, you don’t “get credit” for that. Their job is to pass legislation. What hollow hypocrisy it is to splash your face on a PR campaign (well after everyone else has gone first) while working every day to make sure it does NOT get better.

Sorry, this is not enough.

TampaZeke
October 25th, 2011 | LINK

They don’t get any credit if they are legislating to make things worse while making shallow videos about things getting better. I’ll give them credit when their voting record matches their PR.

TampaZeke
October 25th, 2011 | LINK

And between all TEN of them there was exactly ONE mention of GLBT bullying.

I would say that Republicans still have a perfect record of silence about anti-gay bullying.

Ray Harwick
October 25th, 2011 | LINK

Nothing that costs any skin here. Move along. False alarm.

Timothy Kincaid
October 25th, 2011 | LINK

This is indeed an encouraging step.

I think it is important for kids to recognize that when a politician votes in an anti-gay way it doesn’t mean he hates you or wants you to die.

Sometimes as adults we skim over that and battle to the death over the differences. Kids don’t know if they haven’t been told: hey, they may be prejudices or mistaken or ignorant, but they don’t want you dead.

That’s a point of agreement that really should be emphasized.

Ryan
October 25th, 2011 | LINK

They even voted against DADT repeal? Another words, “It Gets Better”–but not if we can help it.

Andrew
October 26th, 2011 | LINK

Tim, usually I’m the one arguing for nuance and moderation, but I disagree. They’re trying to score a cheap political point here — trying to look reasonable.

The truth is, these pols know that these videos get a LOT of play right now. They also know that non-gays don’t REALLY pay attention to the details affecting the gay community. It gives them an opportunity to make a positive impression with moderates who aren’t paying attention, while feeding red meat in direct mailing literature to their base.

This is nothing more than a cynical ploy. Trust me. They still want us dead. They just don’t want your very reasonable suburban mother to know that.

TampaZeke
October 26th, 2011 | LINK

I agree with Andrew Timothy and I respectfully disagree with you. Having counseled troubled teens, including gay kids contemplating suicide, I can state that I’ve never had someone tell me that they wanted to kill themselves because other people “wanted them dead”. To a person what I heard was that they wanted out because they felt that they would never be “normal”, never be accepted and, MOST importantly, never BELONG. These Republican politicians, to a man, are promoting policies and promoting a Party whose rhetoric causes kids to feel that they will never belong because they will always be “other” and “2nd, 3rd or no-class”. I see this video, in which NOT ONE of the Republican pols mentioned GLBT in any way as a PR stunt of smoke and mirrors where they can claim that they did “something” while still assuring their base that they did NOTHING to support GLBT people.

No kid is going to be impressed that a person who works so hard to make him “other” and to make sure that he never really belongs don’t ACTUALLY want him dead. No gay kid is going to reconsider ending it all just because of the knowledge that those who hate him and shun him don’t really want him dead. It’s grasping at straws to try to make this stunt look noble.

TampaZeke
October 26th, 2011 | LINK

And, by the way, the same goes for any Democrat, or anyone else making an IGB video, who campaigns and votes on a “Make It Worse” platform.

Regan DuCasse
October 26th, 2011 | LINK

I’m rolling with the majority here on this. Cynicism is a large part of any given anti gay campaign.

It’s the PUBLIC policies that matter. Not the friendly face in front of you, while the knife is poised when you turn your back. I cannot possibly trust the very people who could DO something and make the necessary changes, but put their faces before the public as: “see, we’re really reasonable, compassionate people who don’t hate gay people.”

Gay people are being used over and over again as political fodder, whichever way the war is waged. When the result is STILL no legal protections, no outright support of policies that end discrimination, then it’s not EVER going to be enough.
These are crumbs, just CRUMBS being offered here.
And when we’re not satisfied or we call this gesture for exactly what it is, there is anger at us for not being happy and satisfied with those crumbs.

These same politicians know that gay people are voters too. They want our votes, patronage, campaign funds, and think their crumbs should be enough to buy them.
And then typically comes the back of the hand once they’ve gotten our support.
Yeah, I’m cynical and skeptical. Why shouldn’t we be?

ZRAinSWVA
October 27th, 2011 | LINK

Regan wrote, “It’s the PUBLIC policies that matter. Not the friendly face in front of you, while the knife is poised when you turn your back.”

Exactly, thank you for stating it so clearly.

If they really want our appreciation, they need to vote like they actually realize we’re real people with real lives who deserve the same rights.

Donny D.
October 27th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid wrote:

I think it is important for kids to recognize that when a politician votes in an anti-gay way it doesn’t mean he hates you or wants you to die.

Sometimes as adults we skim over that and battle to the death over the differences. Kids don’t know if they haven’t been told: hey, they may be prejudices or mistaken or ignorant, but they don’t want you dead.

Timothy, you don’t know this. You don’t know that no politician who pushes anti-gay policies wants us dead. Sure, a great majority of them won’t, because most folks need to think of themselves as good people, and most couldn’t do that if they supported genocide. However, there is a minority of truly nasty pieces of work out there, and probably a larger minority that can delude themselves into thinking they can support genocide but still be one of the good guys.

Are you basing your blanket statement that no (presumably American) politician wants us dead on the fact that no politician has said they want us dead? If that’s your reasoning, with all due respect, it’s naive. Successful politicos generally know what they can get away with. In our current political climate, favoring “the death penalty for homosexuality” isn’t one of those things. But that doesn’t mean some of them aren’t thinking that way.

Going back to the discussion in the Thomas Sowell thread, can you truly say that none of the pastors of those most conservative of local churches is in favor of the death penalty provision in the Ugandan “Kill the Gays” bill? If no (and I don’t see how you could rationally answer yes), then then how can you be sure that some American politicians don’t also feel the same way?

Timothy Kincaid
October 28th, 2011 | LINK

Andrew,

Tim, usually I’m the one arguing for nuance and moderation, but I disagree. They’re trying to score a cheap political point here — trying to look reasonable.

that’s certainly possible

This is nothing more than a cynical ploy. Trust me. They still want us dead.

Trust you? Why should I trust you? And, especially, why should I trust you that they want us dead?

Do you have inside knowledge about the desires of these politicians that I don’t have? Perhaps you bugged their homes? Or have paid spies?

Or are you asking me to set aside my experience, my knowledge, my years of interaction with Republican politicians, my observations about human nature, and my own judgment about what all of this means and instead rely on your assertion alone?

Because that’s a petty big task. And you’ll need something more than “trust me” to back it up.

Timothy Kincaid
October 28th, 2011 | LINK

Zeke

To a person what I heard was that they wanted out because they felt that they would never be “normal”, never be accepted and, MOST importantly, never BELONG.

Yes. I agree.

However, you are – I believe – caught up in indignation and anger at political cynicism and not seeing the big picture.

Yes, I agree that in general the Republican Party reflects that part of society which is less accepting. And I agree that rhetoric from that party contributes to the social rejection that kids feel. It is supported by, and fosters, attitudes that cause gay kids to feel rejected.

But how does this video contribute? Does it increase rejection or increase acceptance?

I think you’d have to agree that statements of acceptance and encouragement – even if cynical – are a good thing. They change the language, the culture, and even the starting point of contention.

You say, “No gay kid is going to reconsider ending it all just because of the knowledge that those who hate him and shun him don’t really want him dead.”

But I think you are wrong. This particular video may not influence a single person in that choice. But it does change the culture. And frankly, I think a direct message of “you are valued and wanted” is powerful.

If I could get every Republican politician to make it clear that gay kids are wanted, I’d do it. If Frothy Mix wanted to tell gay kids not to commit suicide, I’d bite my tongue, choke back my bile, and roll tape.

Also, while Republican rhetoric and hostile political action has greatly contributed to a social impression of rejection, we too have played a role. For all their wrong-headedness, they weren’t the ones who said that they hate gays or gay kids or that they want us dead.

If some kid out there thinks that all Republicans hate him, he didn’t hear that from the Republican Party and it’s extremely unlikely that he came to that conclusion based on vote counts. No, we were the ones who crafted that particular message. It was the gay community that equated votes on DADT or DOMA with hatred and death wishes.

I’m not excusing them. I’m not insisting they are sincere. I’m saying that I have bigger priorities here.

My bottom line: If we angrily insist that Republicans can’t give a message of acceptance because it’s cynical and they really really do hate us and they really really do want us dead…

and if some kid hears both the Senator saying “you have value” and us saying “he’s lying to you, he wants you dead”…

I very much hope he doesn’t believe us.

Timothy Kincaid
October 28th, 2011 | LINK

Donny

Timothy, you don’t know this. You don’t know that no politician who pushes anti-gay policies wants us dead. Sure, a great majority of them won’t, because most folks need to think of themselves as good people, and most couldn’t do that if they supported genocide. However, there is a minority of truly nasty pieces of work out there, and probably a larger minority that can delude themselves into thinking they can support genocide but still be one of the good guys.

okie dokie

Sure. Maybe there is a politician out there that wants us dead.

Is that really your point? Seriously?

Okay, how about:

Hey, they may be prejudiced or mistaken or ignorant, but they don’t want you dead.* And the pastors don’t support the Ugandan death penalty.*

Is that better?

*(except maybe one who really does but has everyone fooled and whom we can’t name because we are just guessing here and have no examples to identify).

Charles
October 29th, 2011 | LINK

In my time, I just wanted to be normal …. not one of those that I grew up knowing full well were considered mentally ill, not respected and ridiculed. I don’t give a darn why a politician might make one of these videos. If a Republican who opposed the repeal of DADT or does oppose gay marriage makes one of these videos, I tip my hat that man or woman. How many times do I have to remind hard core Democrats, our current Democrat president doesn’t even support same-sex marriage.

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