I don't normally tout the stuff that's going on in the part of the paper that makes this an 18-and-over publication. But this week, I am going to do just that, because Dan Savage has done a beautiful, amazing thing.
In response to a series of suicides by youngsters who have been bullied for being gay—or acting gay—Dan started the It Gets Better Project (www.itgetsbetterproject.com). He asked LGBT adults to send in YouTube videos describing how wonderful their lives are—in an effort to encourage teens struggling with anti-gay bullying to hang in there, because it gets better.
The goal of the project: We are the kids who have been bullied for being gay, lesbian, bi or trans. We pledge to stay open and strong. We are also the friends, family members, teachers, mentors and allies of anyone who's ever felt like they didn't fit in, gay or straight. We pledge to talk to the kids in our lives to put an end to the hate, violence, and tragedy—and to offer advice on coping, strategies to make it better, and to remind kids that It Gets Better.
This project is badly needed in a world where Boyd K. Packer, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the Mormons), tells the world that being gay is "impure and unnatural." (Full disclosure: I am a former Mormon.)
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, after the Human Rights Campaign (a prominent LGBT-rights group) delivered a petition—with some 150,000 signatures—denouncing Packer's remarks to the LDS church, an LDS spokesman remarked that the church shares common ground with the HRC regarding a desire to stop anti-gay bullying.
While it's true that the majority of LDS folks would say they are opposed to anti-gay bullying, this remark is total bullshit regarding the church as an institution. It's insane to say being gay is "impure and unnatural" on one day, and then say that you're opposed to anti-gay bullying on another.
Dan Savage sums things up better than I ever could in this week's column; find it on Page 56. And I recommend checking out www.itgetsbetterproject.com.