Chronicle blogger blames ‘It Gets Better” project for LGBT teen suicides

Kathleen McKinley

Kathleen McKinley

Kathy McKinley is a self-described “conservative activist” who blogs for the Houston Chronicle under the monicker “TexasSparkle.” In a recent post McKinley took the “It Gets Better” project to task for what she believes is their culpability in the suicides of LGBT teens:

“These kids were sold a bill of goods by people who thought they were being kind. The “It will get better” campaign just didn’t think it through. They didn’t think about the fact that kids are different from adults. They handle things differently. They react differently. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE KIDS. You can grumble all day long how unfair it is that straight teens can be straight in high school, and gay kids can’t, but life is unfair. Isn’t the price they are paying too high?? Is it so much to ask them to stand at the door of adulthood before they “come out” publically? Because it may save their life.”

McKinnley’s primary confusion about the “It Gets Better” campaign (other than its name) is the assumption that the goal is to encourage teens to come out of the closet, or encourage them to become sexually active:

“Why in the world would you give teenagers a REASON to tease you? Oh, yes, because the adults tell you to embrace who you are, the only problem? Kids that age are just discovering who they are. They really have no idea yet. The adults tell you to “come out,” when what we should be telling them is that sex is for adults, and there is plenty of time for figuring out that later.”

I would like to encourage Ms. McKinley to watch the “It Gets Better” project’s founder Dan Savages’ video. Please, Ms. McKinley, listen, and tell me if you hear Savage or his partner Terry say anything about teens coming out or having sex. I think what you’ll hear them say is that all of the things that most kids, gay and straight, dream of (falling in love, starting a family, having the support of their parents, co-workers and friends) are possible for LGBT teens. I think you’ll hear them talk about how difficult their teen years were, and about the fears they had that their parents would reject them, that they’d never find success and that they’d always be alone.

Choosing to have sex is one of the most personal decision a person will ever make. For LGBT people, choosing to come out is another. I have not watched all of the thousands of videos from people who have participated in the “It Gets Better” project. It’s possible that there are a few that tell kids to come out right away, or to become sexually active, but I doubt it.

Every video in the project that I have seen has had the same simple message: that the person making it understands how tortuously awful the experience of being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender in Junior and High School can be, but there is a wonderful world of loving, vibrant, successful, engaged LGBT adults out there and if queer teens can just hang on, just for a few years, they can join it. I doubt that any of the contributors to the project think that hanging on for a few years will be easy. I suspect that most of them remember, with excruciating clarity, contemplating ending those temporary years of terror with a permanent solution and that is why they choose to reach out.

I grew up without role models, where people like Barbara Gittings, Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk didn’t exist . I grew up in a small town where the two men with the pink house were talked about in hushed tones that immediately fell silent when I walked into the room, because it wasn’t appropriate for children’s ears. I grew up in a world where my mother wouldn’t tell me what “gay” meant, where the evening news was turned off if it reported on the AIDS crisis, where I wasn’t given words to describe who I was, and so the only word I could find was “alone.”

I was lucky. My suicide attempt failed.

I was lucky, I survived, and went to college, and found a church that embraced and loved LGBT people. That’s where I met doctors and lawyers and business owners and teachers who were like me. That’s where I met two wonderful women who had built a life together for over 50 years. That’s where I discovered I wasn’t alone and that being gay didn’t mean that i couldn’t have all of those things I’d dreamed of.

That is what McKinley missed in her blog post. In her haste to lay blame on anything other than the overwhelming prejudice perpetuated by schools, churches and governments against LGBT people McKinley missed the fact that kids need role models. In her rush to shove queer teens back into the closet she forgot that human beings need the hope of a better world, lest they give up in despair.

McKinley got one thing right in her post. She titled it “Are Adults Also To Blame For Gay Teen Suicides? Yes.” Adults are to blame for LGBT teen suicides. When adults hide the stunning diversity of God’s creation from their children they create a vision of reality that some of those children can’t see themselves in. When adults tell LGBT teens that they should be invisible then it is all too clear who is to blame when those teens believe them, and take steps to make themselves invisible permanently.

To all the LGBT kids out there: it does get better. There are adults who care about you and want all the wonderful things you dream of to come true, but you have to hang on. If you need to keep who are secret to remain safe then do so. If you need someone to talk to please call the Trevor Project at 866-4-U-Trevor (866-488-7386).

—  admin

Gay-obsessed Rick Santorum says Dan Savage ‘has some issues’

Dan Savage

I can’t get enough of the ongoing saga of Rick Santorum and his “google problem.”

We all know it’s about what pops up when “Santorum” is googled – a genius idea crafted by Dan Savage. Santorum even has its own wikipedia entry. I still like the original Santorum website. It’s NSFW — and, guess what? It makes Ricky, who is obsessed with all things gay, very sad. Roll Call interviewed Santorum about it — and he took a swipe at Dan Savage:

Santorum himself sounded slightly defeated when asked about it recently.

“It’s one guy. You know who it is. The Internet allows for this type of vulgarity to circulate. It’s unfortunate that we have someone who obviously has some issues. But he has an opportunity to speak,” Santorum told Roll Call.

Santorum’s Google problem began in 2003, when gay sex-advice columnist Dan Savage sought to mock Santorum’s comments on homosexuality. Then the third-most-powerful Republican in the Senate, Santorum told the Associated Press that April that gay sex could “undermine the fabric of our society.” The interview touched on a Supreme Court case related to sexual privacy, and Santorum compared homosexual acts to allowing for “man on child, man on dog” relationships.

Yeah, Santorum has a google problem. He’s also a hate-filled homophobe who is obsessed with discussing gays and gay sex. It’s bizarre. So, who’s go some issues here?

It is probably fair to say that Dan Savage does have some issues — with blatant homophobes and elected officials who send messages that lead young LGBT youth to commit suicide. That means Santorum.




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—  David Taffet

Savage & Choi Cruise Grindr At CPAC

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Dan Savage Remixes Sarah Palin

This will be the cover of this week’s issue of The Stranger, for whom Dan Savage is editor. Embiggen for the names.

Joe. My. God.

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Chicago TV’s In-Depth Interview With Dan Savage On Religion, Sex, & Bullying

It’s a long interview, but worth your time.

Joe. My. God.

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Dan Savage Slams GOProud

“GOProud describes marriage equality as a ‘states rights issue’ which is what interracial marriage once was. GOProud isn’t a pro-gay rights organization, they are an organization of gay Quislings and useful idiots that help to window-dress the Republican Party, which is really still rabidly anti-gay to its core.” – Dan Savage, speaking on Countdown tonight. Savage goes on to slam Peter LaBarbera, who was instantly on Twitter to respond.

Joe. My. God.

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Dan Savage talks ‘It Gets Better’ with Colbert

This is really, really good. I love Dan Savage — and Colbert was just perfect. He’s going to do an “It Gets Better” video — and he learned a new word.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Dan Savage
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive




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Dan Savage On Colbert Report

At the end of the segment Dan gets a commitment from Stephen Colbert to do an It Gets Better video of his own.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Watch: Dan Savage Tells CNN That It Must Stop Giving Platforms to Hate Group Leaders Like the FRC’s Tony Perkins

Dansavage

CNN ran a segment on bullying and hate crimes inspired by the SPLC's recent report and their designation of 13 new organizations as "hate" groups.

Dan Savage tells Kyra Phillips, who is incredulous over the numbers of violent crimes committed against gay people, that change must begin with organizations like CNN, which give platforms to leaders of hate groups like the Family Research Council, which masquerade as religious organizations.

Says Savage: "There are no ‘two sides’ to the issue of LGBT rights. Right now one side is really using dehumanizing rhetoric. The Southern Poverty Law Center labels these groups as hate groups and yet the leaders of these groups, people like Tony Perkins, are welcomed onto networks like CNN to espouse hate directed at gays and lesbians. And similarly hateful people who are targeting Jews or people of color or anyone else would not be welcome to spew their bile on CNN."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP

(via two)

UPDATE: Savage says, "The question about what could be done to lower the rate of anti-gay hate crimes was the planned final question in the segment, CNN knew I was going to slam 'em when they asked it, and they had me on anyway. Which is to CNN's credit."



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Dan Savage discusses Obama’s ‘It Gets Better’ video

Dan Savage was on CNN this morning to talk about Obama’s video. Dan was, as always, spot on.

“Here you have the President of the United States saying that you didn’t choose it — to be gay — and you will get through this…that said, the President of the United States has the power to do more than assure LGBT kids that it will get better; the President of the United States has the power to make it better for LGBT adults and children.”




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—  admin