In which I demonstrate how not to be a douchebag role model to gay kids
I took alot of heat for yesterday’s post in which my son and I condemned Jeremy Hooper’s It Gets Better themed message to kids. He, very poorly, framed the theme of “I have a wonderful life, and you can too!” in the outline of wonderful material things that he has now and clearly holds dear. Not soon after I hit the publish button the comments started rolling in. Both on Twitter, my site comments, email to the editor and my Google Plus. The vast majority have accolades for my son’s succinct and no holds barred approach in terms of a response.
Your letter that you hoped would show gays in Haywood how much better life gets when you’re older simply shows me the type of gay man I don’t want to be – and that is you. Not only would I never hold your life up as a template that I should mold my own in, I’d go miles out of my way to make sure I became nothing like you. Ever. The day that I have the unmitigated gall to think that publicly writing a letter that brags about my house in Manhanttan, my hubby, a nice Pinot and the nice weekend out on Long Island would be the day I completely strayed from the values that my father has placed in my during the short few years since he adopted me: It’s not what you have, it’s who you are. It’s not where you live, it’s how much love is in your house. It’s not what you do for a living, it’s about the lives you touch for the better. These are apparently values and goals you know nothing about. Based on your “report” you apparently don’t have the depth to understand them either.
In closing, thank you. Your report shows me that you are, easily, the biggest douchebag I have ever had the misfortune to read and it’s my hopes that kids everywhere will look at your site, this article of yours, and see through your transparency as easily as I did.
Strong words from a kid, and I’d be equally supportive of them if he weren’t mine. To me, they are the sentiment of the generation coming up after me: materialism means absolutely zip, and holds no place in the frame of an It Gets Better message.
I’ve made it no secret that I’m not a fan of IGB. I think it’s a well-intentioned idea that’s gone totally off the rails in terms of content, delivery and substance. Further, considering that kids who have recorded their own message for the site have taken the step to kill themselves anyhow, I’m more against it now than I was six months ago.
Just the same, I’ve been challenged to frame my own message to kids and I’m happy to do so.
Dear Gay Kids Everywhere:
There are a few constants in life, and things you can count on:
A. The sun always rises in the east.
B. Dogs bark, and babies cry
C. Cold pizza for breakfast seriously rocks.
D. Sometimes being a teen sucks. If you’re gay, or questioning your sexual identity, then sometimes that suck factor gets multiplied by 100.
The suck factor of it all happens to grow exponentially when you’re getting it from all sides: your parents don’t understand, or worse condemn you when you finally muster up the guts to tell them, “Mom, Dad, I’m gay” (or bi, lesbian, gender questioning). Kids at school, because of your own questioning and insecurity either shun or bully you. Finding that one person you can lean on becomes something akin to finding a golden needle in the haystack.
Am I right?
The single worst thing you can do for yourself is not reach out for help, and succumb to the idea in your head that the only way to make the pain stop is to end your life. Being a gay teen who’s struggling is a burden you can’t and shouldn’t bear by yourself. You can’t think that there’s no where to go for help, because it’s out there and as easily locatable as posting a tweet. Some phone numbers and resources are in the blogroll of my site over there on the right.
The big question you might be ready to pose to me is, “Swell, it gets better. But when??”
In all honesty, I don’t know. The problem will go away in time, but how to respond to it can change immediately if you want it to. Bullies of all stripes, male, female, grownups are insecure in their own lives, and rather than deal with that fear, they have decided to make you a target for it. Nothing makes them feel better about their own lives than to make you feel worse about your own. My question for you is “are you going to continue to let them?” No doubt about it, words hurt and that’s something I struggle with to this day. They hurt if I allow them to.
Physical bullying is another story all together. You don’t have to tolerate that, and no. I’m not advocating physically responding to it, so please put down the sock loaded with rolls of quarters. You’re better than that and violence solves nothing. If that’s happening, you need to tell some adult that you trust to have an end put to it.
You are entitled to the life you want, period. Doctor, lawyer, pro ball player, actor, forklift operator – you name it. If that’s your dream then you’re entitled to chase it. Some of you may end up on Park Avenue with a penthouse view, and some of you may have your eye on a sweet double wide trailer and a plot of land on the lake as your dream come true. If that’s what makes you happy you’re entitled to it, and you’re absolutely allowed to have it. Being gay is but one facet of your life; it doesn’t define who you are or detract from who you can become.
Anyone who tells you that being gay is a path straight to hell or a factor in your life turning to crap isn’t worthy to mow your lawn. They’re opinion is worthless.
Is my life wonderful? 90% of the time, you bet. I have everything I want materially, and more importantly than that I have a man that loves me and a great kid who’s also gay that I couldn’t love any more than if we were biologically related. I don’t have a great relationship with my blood relatives, and that’s ok. I’m in the family I was meant to have, not the one I was born into. That’s what makes me get out of bed in the morning. As to the other 10% of the time, that’s just life on life’s terms. Things happen during the course of the day that just suck, and you deal with them; there’s no way around it.
Your life will be wonderful when it’s your turn. It’s not defined by geography, where you live, the food you keep in the fridge, or the cost of the big honkin’ television you have sitting in your living room. Those are just material trappings you spend your paycheck on. How you define “wonderful” is entirely up to you.
That wonderful life is in your future, I promise you.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]In which I demonstrate how not to be a douchebag role model to gay kids,