I’m pretty sure this is in response to White House adviser Valerie Jarrett’s speech at the ironically-named HRC “No Excuses” dinner. You’ll recall that during that speech Jarrett plagiarized Dan’s “it gets better” campaign name, and didn’t even bother telling people that the phrase came from an anti-bullying campaign, let alone that Dan created it. In essence, she chose words over deeds. She could have helped the cause of bullying immensely by actually talking about Dan’s campaign, rather than simply plagiarizing its name, but instead she went for the sound bite over substance. That’s the unfortunate metaphor for so much in this administration.
That's the message Dan Savage wants to send to LGBT and questioning youth in America who are being bullied, with the launch of a YouTube channel to which he hopes people will contribute.
I’ve launched a channel on YouTube—www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don’t dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we’ve gone and things we’ve experienced—that we would’ve missed out on if we’d killed ourselves then.
“You gotta give ’em hope,” Harvey Milk said.
Today we have the power to give these kids hope. We have the tools to reach out to them and tell our stories and let them know that it gets better. Online support groups are great, GLSEN does amazing work, the Trevor Project is invaluable. But many LGBT youth can’t picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can’t imagine a future for themselves. So let’s show them what our lives are like, let’s show them what the future may hold in store for them.
Dan makes a rather interesting argument. While on smaller issues, it matters greatly if the Democrats are in charge instead of the Republicans, on the big issues, the GOP rarely rolls anything back, and the Democrats rarely roll anything forward. And he’s right.
Here’s what happens to the gays and our issues when Republicans win the White House or control Congress: not a whole hell of a lot. There’s no progress on our issues under Republicans—all forward momentum ceases—but things don’t get appreciably worse.* We have to endure small outrages and insults, put up with slights, and be vigilant about legislative malice, but we don’t see a big rollback of previously secured rights. The Bush administration got everything it wanted out of Congress but it didn’t get the FMA or a ban on same-sex couples adopting. Eight years of Bush meant no progress at the federal level on our issues—lots of bullshit at the state level in the form of anti-gay marriage amendments (most of them orchestrated by some straight guy named Ken Mehlman)—but no ground lost.
When we open our wallets for Democrats—and vote for them—the hope is that electing a Democratic president and Congress will result in significant progress on our issues. That’s not just our delusional hope; that was an explicit promise made to us by Democrats. Once the Democrats were in power, everyone from Obama on down promised us, we would see real and significant progress on our issues: an end to DADT and DOMA, action on ENDA, a president willing to use the bully pulpit to aggressively defend our rights. But if, as we’ve seen, working to elect a Democratic president and give Democrats control of Congress results in no progress on our issues—no action on DADT, ENDA, or DOMA—then why the fuck should we bother?
If we get no progress under Democrats (just empty promises meant to excite their base), but no regress under Republicans (just empty threats meant to excite their base), why should we waste our time—and our money—worrying about who’s in charge
Maryland candidate Dana Beyer hopes to be the first transgendered American elected to statewide office: "By running for election to the state legislature, Beyer essentially outed herself to the 60,000 potential voters in the traditionally liberal district (where the race is generally decided during the Democratic primary). Her male-to-female transition had occurred only three years earlier, but she knew she had to tell her story in full."
Stephen Fry separates from partner of 14 years for younger actor: "According to pals, Fry has made no secret of the collapse of their romance and has, I gather, been spending a lot of time with aspiring young actor Steven Webb, 26, who appeared in Alan Bennett’s acclaimed play The History Boys at the National Theatre."
NYT on GMHC's new home: "In order to get that approval, the organization agreed to a number of restrictions, some of which have aroused the ire of AIDS activists, including Larry Kramer, a co-founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis. In a series of e-mail messages and meetings, Mr. Kramer went so far as to call on Dr. Hill to resign for, in his view, putting the interests of the landlord ahead of those of the organization’s clients."
Ted Haggard moves his new church to large venue after it outgrows the barn: "Attendance Sunday was about 245, a 44 percent increase since the first service. Congregants, some of whom came from Denver and Cañon City to attend, stood three deep at the barns’ entrance when space inside filled, several sources say.
Haggard said Monday he will being holding services at the Pikes Peak Center on July 25, in part because St. James has outgrown his barn, but also because the insurer that holds the policy on his home won’t cover the church’s meetings."