A single act of cruelty effects more than the victim. The “It Gets Better” movement is one that has shown the world a new generation. This new generation knows no tolerance for discrimination.
The recent suicides of several gay teenagers has people, from teens to presidents, fighting for acceptance. I have spent the past few weeks watching these documentations of what bullying can do to people. People tell stories of being spit on and verbally abused to the point of switching schools. The “It Gets Better” videos really impacted the way I see the victim and the bully.
I watched 100 videos, each telling a different story, but carrying the same message. The message that everything gets better, even if everything hurts now.
One video, that is actually quite short, really spoke to me. In the video a cop and a marine are standing side by side telling viewers that who you are is nothing to be ashamed of. It is something that people should respect.
During the video, I was wondering, “Okay, how could they know? I mean they haven’t said anything about being gay yet.”
Then they kiss. Cute and very effective. The fact that a marine kissed a male on camera and posted it on YouTube is a big deal to me. Especially when the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal was in full swing in the Senate. It is a huge middle finger to the opposing side. The kiss, as simple as it was, basically said, “Look, I’m not scared of who I am even when the world is unfair.” That is bravery.
Speaking of bravery, I have to give Barack Obama props on his video. His video scared me a little. It reminded me of when a parent talks to you after you messed up, and somehow you never do it again. The stern presidential way he said to accept everyone’s differences was impressive.
Obama even talked about how he knows what it’s like to be bullied and harassed. Even today as the president, he is harassed and made fun of quite often in society. In college, I don’t go a day without hearing an Obama joke. I’m sure he’s heard more than I have. Regardless, he hasn’t given up the presidency because people don’t like him. The only person that can keep you from loving yourself is you.
The other video that made my top five is called “It Gets Better, It Gets Awesome.” The video is a personal documentary of Lizzy and how she not only found herself, but loved herself after high school.
Growing up in Munich, Germany, Lizzy thought that being gay or bi-sexual was wrong. The mentality of where she grew up had taught her that. She tells viewers that after high school, being gay, lesbian or bi-sexual opens doors if you let it. Her message was to embrace yourself and life doesn’t just get better–It gets awesome.
In addition to the president and just average people, celebrities have made It Gets Better videos too. Ignore Ke$ha’s in case you go on YouTube later to check these videos out. I think she was hungover when she filmed it. Anyway, out of all the celebrity videos, Adam Lambert’s was the best.
Adam Lambert was the runner up in American Idol and blew people away with his great vocals. By great I mean he sang notes that I didn’t even know existed. Nevertheless, reporters everywhere flocked over the fact that he was gay and took pictures of him coming out of gay bars and kissing several guys. Lambert brings this up in his video, saying that even though he is famous he still gets made fun of. His message gets more intense as he explains how no one has the right to ruin your self-image.
Maybe I’m a sap for these kinds of things, but I love it when celebrities level with their fans. Not through press conferences or interviews, but through their hearts.
In my viewing of the videos, the couples that made videos together were really effective for me. It was a way of showing that as alone as you may feel, there is always going to be someone for you. Whether it’s your sister, your boyfriend, your girlfriend or whatever. There is always going to be support for you somewhere. I mean, any single person can make a video, but to have you and your significant other share the same feelings is very real.
There is one It Gets Better video about two guys named Jordan and Sam. The video is set up a lot like an eHarmony video, but it had a big message. The two explain how they were treated through high school for being “different”. People would spit on them, trash their cars and call them unspeakable terms. Basically, people would go out of their way to torment both Jordan and Sam. Jordan and Sam talk about how they met and how life isn’t about what people want you to be, it’s about what you want you to be.
In all of these videos, a single thing kept popping into my head:
“Where were these videos five years ago?”
Not to be “that guy”, but hear me out here. Five years ago, we had the same technology (minus the iPad) as we do today. Think about this: if someone would have started this project sooner, it could have saved a life. So, why does it take the deaths of individuals to initiate such a movement? Bullying has always been a problem. It always will be a problem because some kids will never understand that, as humans, we are united in our differences.
In hindsight, our generation is already defined by some messed up parts of history. I hope one day, when people look back at our generation, they will see that we came together and recognized each other’s differences.