Update: (09/24/10 3:00 PM) – Added a link to the campaign in my right sidebar.
If you’re an LGBT teen going through hard times in high school, or know someone who fits that profile, then you need to watch this video from the new “It Gets Better” campaign by Dan Savage. Listen to the testimonials. There’s a life and future after those difficult teen years. From familial tensions to shunning by classmates (and more), that’s what you need to learn, to accept, to embrace: It gets better. It really does. [video below the fold]
I could even bring up my own dark experience with school bullying as an example of this very phenomenon, albeit with the different circumstances that went into my own ordeal (I was a target due to my being an oddball, know-it-all loner, traits borne from my not-so-enjoyable mix of mild Asperger’s, mild Tourette’s and a varying stutter, not for being gay). I can readily testify that when it comes to persecution from other asshole youths, such troubles simply vanish, almost like magic, the moment you leave school behind and move on with your life. The last year I’ve spent since leaving school has definitely been, by a very wide and clear margin, the single easiest, calmest and most peaceful year in my life. Free from almost daily encounters hostile classmates; free from feeling nervous and jumpy and constantly looking over my back and wondering when’s the next time some prick is about to give me a hard time; free from being afraid of sitting in an open classroom where my head constantly made an easy target for anything from erasers and pencils to those metal pencil sharpeners they stick to walls and that can so easily be disassembled for convenience of throwing at people.
Of course, I do not mean to compare my own trials (which I take it must be comparatively minor) to those undergone by LGBT teens across the world every day. That would be unfair and simply dishonest. And I realize that personal anecdotes hardly make for reasoned, logical argumentation. But I only offer what I know: that if the central hub of misery and oppression is at your school, then it’s logical to conclude that leaving such a place equals leaving all those assholes behind as well.
Take it from someone who’s been through more than his own fair share of social antagonism, ostracism and even the occasional physical altercation, from someone who’s most likely gonna be feeling symptoms of the pressures and strains etched into him from his daily experiences for years and years: No matter how grim and unforgiving the present and future might seem, no matter how alone and hurt and attacked you may feel, it really does get better with time. I promise.
Just hang in there.