Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Don’t Be Bitter, Be Better

It started with Dan Savage and his hubby making a video targeted to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender kids who have been bullied or are experiencing bullying for being “different.”

From there rose the It Gets Better Project, wherein other LGTB adults uploaded their video messages. The movement struck a chord; even straight people submitted their videos and support. Celebrities also chimed in.

Interestingly, The Trevor Project has a similar call, especially for suicidal youths. The project provides a lifeline and a live chat. There, celebrities have also given their testimonials.

* * * * *

Growing up I knew that I was different. But I was smart enough to know how to avoid being bullied or teased. I knew that I had to avoid being called bakla (despite me pushing at the back of my head the possibility of me being gay) because everything and everyone I saw around me told me that being gay was a sin, was wrong, was condemned. I knew I couldn’t be macho or astig, so I had to look for the one thing I could pull off without the bullies labeling me “gay.”

I became studious. Yep, I couldn’t be a “nerd;” that was also an invitation to a different kind of taunts and teasing. But “serious in his studies” was still an acceptable level; it meant I wasn’t too smart, but I needed to do well in school because my parents demanded it so.

I also became interested in science (and science fiction). It gave me an excuse to read (and thus be left alone). For the “cool” factor I watched sci-fi and was fond of spaceships and aliens.

Yes, I could be different, but the “acceptable” different.

Luckily I had an older brother who was popular with everyone, and so no one wanted to mess with me. Luckily I didn’t need glasses so I didn’t look too nerdy. Luckily I had ordinary looks—any closer to weird or funny or ugly and I’d be laughed at. Luckily I also had good, not exceptional nor failing, grades—my ordinariness helped shield me. But yeah, I think it was my popular brother, mostly.

But does it really get better? Well, I was never bullied, so the question for me takes on a different meaning. Yes, it does get better, but only when you get to accept yourself. And to be friends with myself, I realize it really helped that I became friends with other gay guys. I had others I could turn to. I had a support system. I knew I was not alone.

I know that the “It gets better” campaign is aimed at the youth, especially the bullied ones. It gives them hope, but I was wondering if hope is enough. I am more a problem-solution kind of guy; if there was a problem, yo! I’d solve it. “It gets better” just sounds passive to me. I mean, yes, it’ll do for the moment; at least I don’t give in to despair. But then comes the inevitable question: “But what about now?”

If it were up to me, this is what I’d quietly whisper to gay youths who are bullied or feel discriminated on, or feel like outcasts: “Get smart.” Outsmart them if you can. If you can’t beat ‘em, find a way around ‘em. You are not alone—but first, you have to make sure you are not alone. Seek others. Find friends. Find support.

It gets better, if you can be better.


Mac Callister said...

i was bullied too when I was younger, but i fought back on some. and some I just ignored and hide the pain it caused me.

this is a great project! i hope it could reach out to everyone!

Désolé Boy said...

is this the one Perez Hilton is campaigning for?
this is awesome! i can't imagine how a mere kid would deal with heavy shenanigans regarding their sexuality at that young age.
lucky for me i didn't get to experience it.
we must help in every possible way we can =)

efrenefren said...

Individuals who truly care to make a difference & a positive impact in the lives of others have actions to show for it. They don't flip on a camera and talk about themselves.

- Brent Corrigan, Pornstar

GWM said...

I am 69!!
Gay since I was born, or at least from when I was 5 years old.
But back then it was difficult to find gay friends. The only gay people I saw where not like me... I have always been manly or macho. But never Bi!!
Thanks to whoever invented the Internet. I feel if makes all the difference for young gays and lesbians.
For you Pinoy Guys, BE PROUD! BE GAY!!!

Kiks said...

this "it gets better" campaign is for me just a feel-good campaign.

it only gets better when we make it better.