Thursday, October 7, 2010

it gets better

On September 23rd, 2010, Dan Savage wrote in the Seattle Stranger about the suicide of a bullied gay teenager.

Savage writes:

"Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother's property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body." - Dan Savage, Seattle Stranger

Savage launched a YouTube channel and a Facebook page for people to connect with each other on this issue, calling the effort the "'It Gets Better' Project." In less than a month, the channel has gone from one video to thousands. Their channel has over 1 million views and the outpouring of support is incredible.

I'm not in the business of telling anyone what to think, but when I read about someone taking their own life rather than endure daily torture, I have to stand up and say, "What are we doing?"

Why are we telling our children that it's acceptable or even encouraged to tell another human being that they deserve to die for being different?

I have to believe from what I've read, heard and feel in my heart that the Christian message is not one of violence and hatred. I can't even wrap my head around why anyone would care more about who their neighbor chooses to love than they care about worldwide hunger, genocide, rape, human trafficking or domestic violence.

Seeing the videos and reading the supportive comments from viewers has made the knot in my stomach release a tiny bit.

But here's the thing: It doesn't always get better.

Gay children and teenagers become gay adults who are equally ostracized.

Couples are told that they are not able to raise children, even though a single parent with no job and a crack addition is deemed perfectly fit. According to a report issued by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, a paltry 63% of children in the United States grow up with both biological parents - the lowest figure in the Western world.

Seems like we could make that better.

Gay couples are told that they devalue the institution of marriage, when any drunken pop star with a few hours of free time can have an a marriage and an annulment just for kicks.

Seems like we could make that better too.

Soldiers in our military are told that they can't serve if they are openly gay. They can't tell anyone because it could mean loss of job and rank, or something much worse like the torture our teenagers experience. This means that they go into battle, to get shot and killed, alongside people who they can't trust.

Could it be better? Yeah, I think so.

Again, I'm not telling anyone what to think, but I would like to see a world where our actions reflect a desire for everyone to be loved and treated as equals.

Let's make sure it actually gets better.

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