It Gets Better – the youth campaign that makes everything worse
How can life get better for sexually confused young people if they cut themselves off from their families and abandon themselves to sex?
For LGBT teens who face adversity and intolerance…There’s no place in society for hatred and bullying…You have an amazing future in front of you…
And an entire community in your corner…We promise you. It gets better.
(From the It Gets Better video by the San Francisco Giants baseball team.)
What’s not to like about the It Gets Better Project?
After all, bullying is bad. Compassion is good. And who could object to offering hope (to suicidal LGBT youth) and insisting on change (from a hostile, bullying culture)?
Especially when the project Saves Lives.
The It Gets Better Project caught the cresting wave of media interest that followed several tragic suicides of gay teens. Savage and his gay partner, Terry Miller, posted a YouTube video with an ostensibly simple message to LGBT youth: hang on, don’t kill yourself, life gets better.
One-and-a-half million hits later, the original YouTube video has become a full-fledged campaign with over 23,000 videos (from LGBT adults, supportive corporations, and celebrities, including President Obama), totaling over 60 million views. To reach students who lack YouTube or Internet access, Savage and Miller chose over 100 testimonies for the book version, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living. Thousands of people have donated copies of the book to local schools or libraries, expanding the reach of the message.
In spite of the project’s spin, it awakens much-needed compassion for adolescents who endure humiliation, physical brutality and extreme loneliness because of their appearance or sexuality. Their pain is real and, for many, the suffering intense and prolonged. Preventing teen suicides is vital work. And we should affirm the essential goodness, value, and lovability of every person.
But that’s not what the project is about.
It Gets Better (IGB) is an agenda-driven campaign that caricatures traditional morality and religious people, drives a wedge between parents and children, and aggressively promotes deviant sex.
In a May 2011 speech to Google employees, and in a July 2011 New York Times interview, Savage brags that the “subversive,” culture-changing goal of the campaign is to “pull an end run around people who are trying to isolate their queer kids from information, from queer adults, [from] the idea that you can be a happy LGBT adult.”
Savage confesses himself “obsessed” by the thought of reaching middle school and high school students with a “sex-positive” message. Driven to share the “joys” of the LGBT lifestyle, Savage already speaks regularly on college campuses, to “undo abstinence education.” He aims now to reach young adolescents—12,13, 14—and those teens whose “bullying“ parents (i.e., religious parents) are least likely to approve of the LGBT lifestyle.
The genius of his approach, using YouTube, Facebook, and the Internet (plus the public schools) is that, “We’re talking to these kids whether their parents want us to or not…they can’t stop us anymore.” Thanks in part to the Google Chrome ad, which aired during the NBA finals, his message has already reached millions of kids. As a result, Savage declared, “you can see LGBT kids getting the support from the online community that they’re not getting at home.” (Savage admits that there’s been no overall rise in LGBT suicides, but rather increased media focus on the issue.)
The It Gets Better project professes to help LGBT young people picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults.
But what are its real messages?
1. Traditional morality and religious beliefs equal bigotry
2. Families who oppose homosexuality are bullies; the LGBT community is your “family”
3. LGBT means sex—lots of it, your way.
Consequences? What consequences?