Friday, September 24, 2010

It Gets Better Project

In response to the recent rash of gay teen suicides -- or maybe I should say in response to the recent rash of the media paying attention to the gay teen suicides that have always been going on -- Dan Savage announced in this week's column and podcast that he's starting a YouTube channel.

As Dan explains in his column:
Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids. (...)

I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don't have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

So here's what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.
This is such a fantastic idea I don't know why anyone has thought of it until now. Needless to say I'm a big Savage Love fan but this time Dan is taking things beyond his usual entertaining smear campaigns against Republican politicians, subversive attitude towards monogamy, and ingenius verbal take-downs of clueless letter-writers. This time I firmly believe he's going to save somebody's life. You only need to watch the video he posted with his husband Terry to see that this is coming from the heart, more so than some of his past projects.

Please head over to It Gets Better Project to see not only Dan's video but the videos submitted by other gay adults. And if you're gay, lesbian, bi, trans or queer and you have some words of wisdom to help the younger generation tough out the bad times, post a video of your own.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leader of Stonewall Raid Dies

Seymour Pine, the police inspector who led the raid on the Stonewall Inn in 1969, has died at the age of 91. Read his obituary in the New York Times.

In 2004, Inspector Pine spoke during a discussion of the Stonewall uprising at the New-York Historical Society. At the time of the raid, he said, the police “certainly were prejudiced” against gays, “but had no idea about what gay people were about.”

The department regularly raided gay clubs for two reasons, he said. First, he insisted, many clubs were controlled by organized crime; second, arresting gay people was a way for officers to improve their arrest numbers. “They were easy arrests,” he said. “They never gave you any trouble” — at least until that night.

When someone in the audience said Inspector Pine should apologize for the raid, he did.

“There’s been a stereotype that Seymour Pine was a homophobe,” Mr. Carter said. “He had some of the typical hang-ups and preconceived ideas of the time, but I think he was strictly following orders, not personal prejudice against gay people.” (...)

“He once told me,” Mr. Carter said, “ ‘If what I did helped gay people, then I’m glad.’ ”

This is a man who was on the wrong side of history and seems to have recognized it, after the fact. To me he comes off rather sympathetically in this obituary -- someone who had the prejudices of his time, acted on them and did something wrong, then had the humility to admit he was wrong. If only all of the opponents of gay rights were like that.

Adam Carolla on Savage Lovecast

As a straight guy, I just want to say that listening to Adam Carolla guest-star on last week's Savage Lovecast to give the perspective of straight guys was extremely painful. He launches into a whole bunch of bullshit about how if a woman wants to have a threesome it means she's unsatisfied with the relationship that she's in and she's going to break up with her partner in a month, and suggests that all the "fun" in your life is over when you get married. All the while he steadfastly manages to avoid the question that Dan is asking him -- should a straight guy be willing to have a guy-guy-girl threesome in order to get a guy-girl-girl threesome? Would Adam Carolla do it? He refuses to say. And his jokes about all the gay sex he used to have with Jimmy Kimmel back in the Man Show days (Kimmel is a "power bottom," says Carolla) are funny but don't redeem him.

Click here to listen to this wandering, cringe-worthy diatribe. It's about a quarter of the way into the show, after the question about student loans.