My issue with the IT GETS BETTER campaign

  • italguynj

    Posts: 250

    Oct 06, 2010 4:26 PM GMT
    It is not just teens who commit suicide. Sometimes it does not "just get better" with age. If it did maybe Bryan would still be alive.

    I want to be clear. I think what Dan Savage is doing is remarkable but we can not stop there. We need to help EVERYONE in the community. Pain and loneliness can happen at any age. Even though adults have a stronger skin than teens, it does not mean we as adults are void to these feelings. Like teens, adults can take extreme actions towards ourselves and/or others when dealing with depression and/or various life issues.

    http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/10/06/NYC_Party_Planner_Commits_Suicide/
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    Oct 12, 2010 5:05 PM GMT
    Absolutely agree, man. This is a huge problem for:

    - Older gay people who grew up when it was a lot harder to be out than it is now*. Many of them are now "trapped" in a false identity due to the pressure of family and culture to marry and have kids. To come out would mean disrupting the lives of more than just themselves, so they feel obligated to remain in the closet.

    - Gay people (men especially) who do not have the looks or body to "fit in" to a ruthlessly critical culture that views these things as the currency that determines your societal worth

    - Older gay people who have either lost or never had a partner and lack the social network to meet others, since the bar scene caters to the young and in many places it doesn't even exist

    I could go on. But I think you're on point here and it's something we should all be thinking about too, when we comment on each other's pictures or reply to a buddy request. There's a real person behind every one of those little squares, and -- regardless of how the guy presents himself on here -- I feel like we should be treating each other with respect if we are expecting this from the wider world.
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    Oct 12, 2010 5:13 PM GMT
    Meanwhile, on a lighter note...

    "It Gets Worse" Gawker Parody of the "It Gets Better" Campaign portrays later life for the bully.
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    Oct 12, 2010 5:24 PM GMT
    njmeanwhile saidMeanwhile, on a lighter note...

    "It Gets Worse" Gawker Parody of the "It Gets Better" Campaign portrays later life for the bully.



    That vid is great
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    Oct 12, 2010 5:24 PM GMT
    You're absolutely right NJ, there are a lot of trapped guys who get a bad rap for being in a certain place at a certain time when coming out was not a viable option for many reasons. Many that do come out try and change who they are over night to 'fit' in and then suffer from rejection both from the gay community for many of the reasons you posted, as well as their own families for not being the same guy they use to know. It can be a 2 edge sword and some can not handle it well.

    Respect and a little consideration goes a long way. It often means a lot to get a reply from someone. Just the idea that they took the time to respond can be so uplifting, but surprisingly there are many who won't even bother if you don't fit into that prescribed format of desirability. Not like they're asking you to marry them (well, actually one guy did start an email with that request, but I still responded...albeit with no thank you and good luck ).

    Thanks guido for looking beyond just the teenage issue.
  • rioriz

    Posts: 1056

    Oct 12, 2010 5:34 PM GMT
    I am glad you pointed this out. As an adult there are still fleeting moments when I can let things get to me regarding my homosexuality. I have went through hell and back as a child due to it and the scars are still there, just not visible. I think more needs to be done as a whole to help those in similar situations regain their confidence in who they are inside and not how some in society sees them.
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Oct 12, 2010 5:47 PM GMT
    I totally agree. Everyone's "coming out" experience is totally different from everyone else's experience. Everyone has different variables that factor into individual equations which makes the experience unique - even just living as a gay person is different for everyone.

    It's awful to hear that LBGT people feel as though there only alternative is suicide. icon_sad.gif I can only speculate on what Bryan Jacobson's issues though... I only wish someone was there to help him icon_sad.gif
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Oct 12, 2010 5:49 PM GMT
    It can't be everything to everyone.

    It's a bit like complaining that lung cancer awareness campaigns don't do enough for prostate cancer awareness.
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    Oct 12, 2010 5:52 PM GMT
    Makes sense, Timberoo, and I don't think Guidojock was suggesting the message should be diluted. But it is something we should all be aware of. LGBT (and kids who just come across as such) are often by nature in a place of isolation. Everybody on here has a support space if we are all willing to be that for one another.
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    Oct 12, 2010 5:58 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidIt can't be everything to everyone.

    It's a bit like complaining that lung cancer awareness campaigns don't do enough for prostate cancer awareness.


    You're absolutely right. It's called target audience. It is a lot more effective when you target one group as it is easier to tailor your campaign.
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    Oct 12, 2010 6:01 PM GMT
    Yes, it would also be nice if they addressed the T in LGBT slightly more...Or, actually, at all.

    I mean, 80% of transsexuals won't ever transition, 50% have about one suicide attempt by age 20 (I had 3), and overall 30% will wind-up commuting suicide (although the actual number is probably much, much higher, considering all the untransitioned transsexuals and the ones who were probably counted as an LGB suicide.) Then there's the fact that there's been some (admittedly minor) discourse of removing the T from LGBT altogether, since we're people, as a group, hate and discriminate against us even more than our LGBQ counterparts.

    That is all.

    Cheers

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    Oct 12, 2010 6:24 PM GMT
    Blahblah I spent the weekend with some great trans folks and I learn with every encounter how privileged I am in comparison to the things the trans community faces.

    When my organization decided to start including the B and the T we actually encountered more resistance about the B! There seems to be a huge amount of assuming that goes on among gay folks about what it means to be bi, whether it's even "Real" or if they deserve to be included in the conversation.

    More and more i am feeling we should just preach RESPECT of everyone... everybody has their "isms" and I think most of us are on a sliding scale when it comes to masc. vs. fem., hetero vs. homo. etc. We try to see these things in such black-and-white terms and I don't think it's that simple for a majority of us, even if we don't choose to see it.

    It would be an easier sell in mainstream society if we focused less on sex and more on just being decent to each other regardless of whom we love our how we present, just because it's the right thing to do!

    This weekend I learned "The platinum rule" .... one step above the golden rule. instead of treating others how you want to be treated, treat them how THEY want to be treated! Which means ASKING.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Oct 13, 2010 11:03 AM GMT
    While I agree that depression and suicide are important issues at any age
    I don't think pointing out that it occurs in adult homosexual makes any issue with the "It Gets Better Campaign''
    Depression in its deadly true form happens in all walks of life
    and unfortunately there will be gay men and women who will take their own lives
    I don't know what the factors were in this man's life
    but he had cited health issues as a factor in his death

    So while any suicide is terrible and hopefully can be prevented.
    we cannot downplay the harassment of young people gay or str8
    that is a HUGE factor in these deaths
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    Oct 13, 2010 12:23 PM GMT
    GQjock saidWhile I agree that depression and suicide are important issues at any age
    I don't think pointing out that it occurs in adult homosexual makes any issue with the "It Gets Better Campaign''
    Depression in its deadly true form happens in all walks of life
    and unfortunately there will be gay men and women who will take their own lives
    I don't know what the factors were in this man's life
    but he had cited health issues as a factor in his death

    So while any suicide is terrible and hopefully can be prevented.
    we cannot downplay the harassment of young people gay or str8
    that is a HUGE factor in these deaths



    Also, as an adult being lonely, you know of sources that can help you out. Family that you know and trust later on in life if you were to talk to them you know for a fact that they'd help you out. Or that one friend that you can talk to. Or you know that you can go seek help by going to a counsler or a therapist. You know of sources already as an adult that can help you, that can make things seem a bit better. You've already been through most of the same issues before.

    Chances are as an adult if you're going through loneliness or you feel like you're all alone. You've been there before, you've dealt with it before, you've found ways to cope with how you're feeling.

    As a young teen, when you're getting bullied over and over at school just for being who you are, you don't know these things. You don't know whom you can trust, you don't have that family member that you've grown to trust. You don't know about how to feel towards counslers, you don't know how to feel towards therapists. All you know is that you're completely isolated from the rest of the world. no one understands you , no one will want to help you. There's nothing left for you to feel except what the bullies and what you hear day in day out from religious bigots. That you're nothing, that you amount to nothing....

    As a teen it's much much worse than when you're an adult because you've not lived long enough to know what sources you can use to help guide you on your journey and your feelings.

    I know first hand that as a teen things are extremely more difficult rather than i am an adult now. I have my two sisters, had i talked to them in highschool, with what i was going through, who knows how our relationship would be. When I needed help after when i came out they were both there.

    The fear you have as a teen is so imense, that i think most of you have forgotten what it was like if you were bullied at all. I think most of you forgot what the isolation felt like. If you're stating that things are just as difficult as an adult I mean...

    As a kid in highschool feeling that way.. You really do actually feel like there's no other alternative.
  • MuscleComeBac...

    Posts: 2376

    Oct 13, 2010 2:15 PM GMT
    Yes we need to do more. But in truth, the "It Gets Better" campaign is wisely targeted, and that's critical in order to address the issue within the given population.

    We know, from decades of research - both clinical and community based - that working with any at risk population requires a focused, targeted approach in order to be effective. Industry certainly knows this, and it's high time CBO's and cause-related movements learned it. You cannot be everything to everybody or you will sink - your message diluted, your identity blurred and your 'competitors' armed with all they need to sink you.

    The OP's point for need is well taken, and a targeted campaign for that community would be welcomed. But to dilute and dispute the efficacy of the "It Gets Better" campaign by taking issue with its lack of inclusion of other at risk populations is ignoring the value of reaching ANY population. It's foolish.

    The LGBT community has had a decidedly weak platform for a some time now because too many people insist on a place at the table when it comes to doing real policy work that addresses the multitude of issues - like a pack of politicians insisting on tacking on pork to a bill that should address one issue, but goes down in flames defeated simply because somebody added language to have their project tucked carefully into the folds of something marginally related. We're suffering stasis as a result, and it's costing lives.

    The Trans community does, indeed, have a passionate and powerful story to tell. And they should - in fact must absolutely be on the platform. But when we go in to talk about young gay men in Scouting, or Lesbians in professional sports - the Trans story does not have to demand equal time in that campaign or conversation, lest they feel forgotten and cast aside. That's as much a load as insisting that in a campaign to get the insurance companies to cover pre-operative counseling and therapy that we also push for free condom distribution and anti-bullying funding from Pfizer. It's not the right time or place. Grow up!

    There are times and places for inclusive conversations and educational campaigns. The "It Gets Better" campaign and its unique approach are NOT the time and place for a broad, sweeping look at the issue in other populations. Young people need media that is focused directly and specifically to them, and this foothold in awareness will help make it possible to then address other populations. Once the door is open, make a plan, walk through and claim a space, but don't insist on rushing through arm in arm and get wedge inexorably in the jamb, unable to move because you're unwilling to let somebody else go through first, in their own way, with their own presence. And when you seize the opportunity to take advantage of the new awareness, and open the conversation to include a different population also at risk, hopefully it will be through a different approach, and not just a modified version of the IGB campaign. Simply mimicking the IGB campaign but for older folks would be a terrible mistake, and a lazy mistake to boot. How much does anybody really care about the ribbon awareness campaign now that every charitable cause in the world has a 'ribbon'? Take note.

    The need is evident, and the OP's point well taken that we need to focus on other populations in need. But to decry or take "issue" and say this campaign doesn't do enough is self-sabotaging, and it's something we need to think about as a community if we're to be at all successful and make any measurable, substantive change.
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    Oct 13, 2010 3:50 PM GMT
    MuscleComeBack said

    The Trans community does, indeed, have a passionate and powerful story to tell. And they should - in fact must absolutely be on the platform. But when we go in to talk about young gay men in Scouting, or Lesbians in professional sports - the Trans story does not have to demand equal time in that campaign or conversation, lest they feel forgotten and cast aside. That's as much a load as insisting that in a campaign to get the insurance companies to cover pre-operative counseling and therapy that we also push for free condom distribution and anti-bullying funding from Pfizer. It's not the right time or place. Grow up!


    icon_eek.gif

    We're already forgotten and cast aside. I'd also venture to say transgender individuals are the only minority that one is still able to be make fun of without repercussion. Say something homophobic in the media and prepare to get yourself torn a new asshole. Say something transphobic and people just laugh. There's a reason so few of us transition- NO ONES CARES! We get comments, like, "Grow up!" and "wait your turn." That or no one comments, because:

    (a) People don't care.
    (b) No one knows the urgency of our issue and how badly it can affect our lives (to the point that yes, we have a much higher suicide rate than our gay, bisexual, and lesbian brethren).

    Granted there's very little statistical data about transsexuals, since NO ONE cares enough to gather it and the majority of us won't transition due to fear of the extreme and overwhelming discrimination and stigma brought on by modern society.

    I agree though...We don't need equal time in this particular campaign. Although, it would be cool to have some time. You know, just a little bit. Like, a couple seconds of it. You can't go a day without seeing a LGB-related news article, and, despite most of them being negative, they're still there. Every couple months you'll see a new trangender type article, which will almost certainly have incorrect terminology (like calling a transsexual a crossdresser) and be extremely negative as well. Heck, the only positive T article I've read was one about Obama appointing some low level government member who happened to be a transsexual, in which I recall every comment being disparaging except for those by transsexuals, or people who personally know or have been effected by them. Life sure is peachy.

    And, the counseling and therapy isn't the only thing the majority of us want. There's quite a bit of employment discrimination against trans individuals (especially full-time pre-operatives), in case you wouldn't have guessed. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were either removed from ENDA, or there was discussion of removing us.

    Oh yeah, another hot button issue for us is affording GRS, FFS, and all those lovely procedures that make us not want to kill ourselves. GRS (gender-reassignment-surgery) costs, oh, 10-15K for an MTF (male-to-female) and around 50+ thousand for an FTM (female-to-male) despite the FTM surgery being horrible incomplete. The money to pay for this comes straight out of our pockets as well, which is ridiculous considering people don't like to provide us with the jobs necessary to afford such surgery. FFS (facial-feminization-surgery) costs even more at around 20-60K; sometimes higher, very little times lower, and, once more, all out of our pockets. HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is also pretty damn expensive. I pay around $600+ dollars a year for mine and I would most certainly end my existence if I somehow ran out and was unable to afford more...The regular therapy in and of itself is also rather expensive.

    /self-serving rant...I just really hate being told to "Grow up!" >.>
  • MuscleComeBac...

    Posts: 2376

    Oct 13, 2010 4:23 PM GMT
    Men and Women of Tansgender experience are included in ENDA as it is now being proposed. Not including the Trans community would have been shortsighted and self-defeating.

    Fully 60 percent of the the Fortune 500 companies have a non-discrimination policy that includes transgender employees. It should be 100, and discrimination is discrimination regardless.

    However, the issue of workplace equality is separate from the cost for coverage for therapies, surgeries and drugs, and being given appropriate and equal financial support through insurance (including medicare and medicaid) to lead healthy, happy, whole lives. Lumping those together won't help affect change. Both areas of concern are real, and I have never discounted them.

    However, the Trans community is rather regularly shouting down efforts of focused gay or lesbian policy with cries that "we always are inclusive in our language" and therefore "we should be included too." You're diluting your own message as a result. All people at all times is altruistic suicide.

    Many vocal and visible members of the Transgender community identify as straight, and are expressive in their being tired of being assumed to be gay or lesbian simply because they transitioned. The inclusion of the staggering cost of gender reassignment surgery when discussing anti-gay policy in something like the BoyScouts makes no sense at all. None. And yet I've been in the room with policy leaders when it's brought up. It's absurd and it clouds the issue and dilutes the efficacy for making essential change for everybody. The issues are separate. The concerns are valid, the need for equality real, but as I stated before - it's equally as wrong to try to add condom distribution or gay and lesbian centric policy into conversations regarding drug therapies for someone transitioning or when writing policy for coverage of reassignment surgery under health care reform. ENDA is the right place, as it's about workplace discrimination. The platform narrows, when it does, for good reason, for all of us.

    This constant need to be one lump group at all times is exactly where we need to grow up.
  • italguynj

    Posts: 250

    Oct 13, 2010 7:12 PM GMT
    @GQJOCK
    As I mentioned, I think what this campaign is remarkable but my reason for the posting this was to highlight the fact that I think Dan S. should continue with the campaign in order to encompass everyone in the fold. Again, as I mentioned, adults do have thicker skins for all the reasons you and others had noted. However, not every gay adult has the strength, health care [google how many America's don't have health insurance, yet alone mental health insurance] and support via family and friends as you may assume. Having a teen go to a therapist is great but it does not address the fact that bullying is an issue and needs to be stopped. You have to make it a bigger deal. You have to go to the source of the issue. Let it be the bullies, schools, media, society, politicians, etc. They all have to play a role. Just like a gay adult can reach out for support regarding depression or suicidal thoughts but the fact still remains that society still has a problem with LGBT people. It also does not help that we in the LGBT communities can be bullies to. How can we start helping others when there is so much separation and division even within our own community? Ageism, issues of masculine, HIV stigma, social status, financial status, racism, attractiveness, etc are all still very much alive in the gay community. Sometime, the gay community can be like this scene from MEAN GIRLS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsPvRtQIKG0. My meaning of my post was simply to "help everyone!"


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    Nov 03, 2010 3:57 PM GMT

    Gay seniors in Boston


    Transwoman
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    Nov 03, 2010 4:00 PM GMT
    njmeanwhile saidAbsolutely agree, man. This is a huge problem for:

    - Older gay people who grew up when it was a lot harder to be out than it is now*. Many of them are now "trapped" in a false identity due to the pressure of family and culture to marry and have kids. To come out would mean disrupting the lives of more than just themselves, so they feel obligated to remain in the closet.

    - Gay people (men especially) who do not have the looks or body to "fit in" to a ruthlessly critical culture that views these things as the currency that determines your societal worth

    - Older gay people who have either lost or never had a partner and lack the social network to meet others, since the bar scene caters to the young and in many places it doesn't even exist

    I could go on. But I think you're on point here and it's something we should all be thinking about too, when we comment on each other's pictures or reply to a buddy request. There's a real person behind every one of those little squares, and -- regardless of how the guy presents himself on here -- I feel like we should be treating each other with respect if we are expecting this from the wider world.



    so true....