Most of us are familiar with the inspirational campaign, “It Gets Better”, that has been created to encourage gay youth to keep on pushing forward and embracing who they are because ONE DAY things will be better for them. The whole idea behind this project is to show awkward, lonely, confused queer kids images of successful, beautiful, self-actualized queers so they have a hope and a dream to strive for. In a culture still lacking in prominent examples of gay role models, this “grassroots” effort suddenly opens up a whole world that oppressed youth might not believe in otherwise.
It’s a fabulous and creative idea. And the super interconnected, open-to-all world of the internet allows us to create this project. I love it. Except for one thing. The fact that “it gets better” implies “you gotta suck it up now”. Bullshit.
What kind of message is that? Suck it up and wait? Sorry, you’re still awkward and undeveloped and our culture is still ignorant and oppressive, so you have to wait until you’re old enough and strong enough to oppose these forces and move to one of a handful of hip urban centers where you can find sanctuary. No thank you. Not good enough.
I think one reason I get a bit riled about all this is because there’s this similar notion of “we just have to wait…and it will come” in the fight for marriage equality. Most people out there believe that eventually, one day, everyone will have the right and privilege to marry who they love. We know the history of justice in America where minority groups can be granted equal status (it’s happen many times before)…so we just have to wait.
But who are we waiting on? For the ignorant homophobes to die off? For the dysfunctional government to get their ducks in a row and realize how homos deserve equal rights too? I think we’re waiting on the wrong people. The idiots and bigots should be left in the parking lot while we hop the bus for Equality Paradise NOW. And who’s gonna be driving that bus. WE ARE. You and me and all those self actualized gays and straights who like to tell the kids that it gets better. What a much more powerful message to give the next generation–WE ARE GREAT! WE ARE EQUAL! WE HAVE THE GOVERNMENT BACKING TO SHOW FOR IT!
Now don’t get me wrong, I totally understand and love that “It Gets Better” provides encouragement to the big world of gays and allows us to interact with each other and support one another. And it also provides a sense of accomplishment and reinforcement to the ones who make the videos and statements about where their lives have come despite the hardships. I just want to make sure we all realize that there is no sense in wasting a single day in the land of unhappy inequality. Instead of “it gets better” how about “we fucking rock!”
We have the power to create whatever kind of world we want. It does take time and energy to build a world where we have peace and equality, but it’s something so attainable and sooner than we think. I’m so thankful for past generations who have brought us this far…and I’m ready to be a part of the next push to finally establish queers as equal members of society. It Is Better…every day we believe in ourselves.