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It Gets Better

Bruin Fisher

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I'd seen this earlier, Bruin, and its very good.

I wish the Its Gets Better videos would separate out the celebrities from those who have real stories to tell as does Oral Roberts' grandson. It's fine that the Boston Red Sox or Seattle Mariners or Hillary Clinton support the cause, but the real stories may do more to save lives.

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There is a hidden suggestion if ever I saw one for a project by our authors.

We have developed in many of our stories away from the explicit erotica, so easily found on the web, to stories that intrigue us with their meaning, or their insight into the human situations of gay people; what it means to our characters to be gay, to be loved.

There are many of us who have survived the restrictions placed on as children to burst out and discover reality, love and, as Zorba the Greek called it, "The whole damned catastrophe." As long as we are alive, the catastrophes can be addressed, countered or even realised as an opportunity for goodness.

But that takes work and effort, and daring; the daring that love always demands. It is the daring that a young gay person needs to know about if things are to get better.

Just thinking.... :hug:

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I should have time tomorrow to watch that video. I have been very impressed with several of the It Gets Better videos. There is also a book, print and ebook formats, for the It Gets Better Project, and the book presents varied and useful opinions, well worth reading.

I have a slightly differing opinion about whether it's best to provide non-celebrity versus celebrity vids as two separate categories. I see the benefit of the two, but I also see that showing one of each gives a message too. You can be a struggling high school boy or girl, or a popular actor or actress or band member, or a successful businessperson, or a city councilman, or a middle school student, and each one of you can be a voice saying, "I am living my life, being myself, and you can be who you are. You can have a better life, now or some day not too far away. You will have people who like and love you, whether you are straight or gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, or whether you have not defined that yet, or if you don't feel you need to define that part of yourself."

There is a huge need to be accepted, accepting, acceptable, as a human being and yes, as a human being who has sexual feelings, right along with all the other things that make someone unique.

It is painful to hear so often of kids, from elementary and younger, on up through middle and high school, and adults, who get bullied and shamed and discriminated against because they look or sound or act a little different than others, or because someone else thinks they are gay, or because they are, or are open and out. Yes, kids have died because they were killed or were driven to suicide. Far too many, including at least one boy in my old school district. That particularly hit home for me.

I remember how it felt to be bullied for being queer, both before I had any idea I was, and after I began having feelings for other boys. I remember how I denied and hid it, even from myself (surely I'm just a shy late bloomer, surely I haven't met the right girl) and yet having increasingly stronger yet subtle feelings for male friends my age. I know both what it felt like to stand up for good friends of mine, and not to out myself, when I began to know. I know the feelings of isolation and rejection and the stifling of self that comes from lack of chances to express those feelings openly and gain those experiences in the same easy way straight kids could. I know how it felt to realize finally, unequivocally, that I was gay, no question of it, and how I struggled with that and hid it, hoping somehow to "be good enough" to either suppress or change it...and the equally painful truth that no, no matter how hard you try, you can't avoid the truth of how you were made, how you were born, gay feelings and all. I learned that if you kept on that path, you could want to die or try to kill yourself, or you could face it and begin to heal and begin to accept that in yourself. I had to dig hard, to begin to see what I had grown up being taught, in school or out, in church or out, at home, anywhere, was simply not the complete or right picture. It is an ongoing thing, in part because so much of the world refuses to accept differences, and not just differences in sexual orientation.

This is about me. This is also just as much about you, or about every struggling kid or parent or friend or relative or total stranger, trying to cope with what to make of the huge, numerous negative messages, and cope too, with what to make of the positive messages, especially the simplest and subtlest ones.

Oh, how I wish I could have heard accepting and positive messages, growing up, that my feelings were okay, good, normal, not sinful or sick or weak, and oh how I wish some friend ( a;ew of them) had wanted to be with me in the ways, nebulous or explicit, tame or graphic, that I wanted to be with them.

(I came out in 2004.)

The Internet has its pluses and minuses, but it helped me see I could be myself as a gay guy. What helped most were The stories that showed people and relationships and goals and loves that I could relate to, the ordinary stuff of life. Yes, more risqué stuff could be exciting and educational and fulfilling, short-term, but it didn't fill me up long-term. For that, it took the everyday Everyman sorts of things, showing that gay love could be part of me and part of that special someone I wanted but had never found.

I know, I often get going and climb up on a soapbox with things like this. Often, I go from a very personal, me centered viewpoint.

But what I most want to get across to people out there is that some boy or young man or not so young man does not have to be miserable and stifle himself, does not have to feel hopeless and friendless and loveless and outnumbered. Yes, there is much that should not be the way it is in our world. But instead of despair, we can be stubborn and be ourselves, certainly inside ourselves, and in the right time, outside our own selves. We can be a positive influence. We can be accepting and good and loving to others, even if we are not perfect, or even if we are out or not out. In fact, we must be ourselves and true to what we know is true inside. Someone has to be. Someone has to show the way and to lead, even if not a leader. Or else how will people change? Oh, it won't be overnight and we can't all be as out as we'd like, always. Life prevents that even to those who are out. But we can be ourselves and we can be accepting and positive and do our best to be a good example.

Alright, and if the world mistreats us, we can still be ourselves as much as possible at any given time. If we stumble and fall and someone pushes us down, we get back up and keep on. If we trip over our own weak spots, we pick ourselves up and go on. And yes, if someone cripples us, we can still be who we are. The inside can be made known.

Someone will ask, what if a life is taken, what if someone is killed or commits suicide? What then, aren't they defeated, what's the use of.it all? To that, I say that that person influenced others and still will influence others. He was loved and liked. Each one who learns of that person learns about the truth of him or her, and spreads that to others. Surely you know someone who was kind and who you look up to and admire, or someone you love or who loved you, a source of inspiration. That's the answer. Who we are and what we do makes a difference to others.

Yes, I struggle often. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed. Sometimes I want to give up. Sometimes I fall down and can't seem to get up and go on. But sooner or later, I do, somehow. It may be help from others or it may be from within or who knows, divine intervention seems unlikely, but somehow, on I go, because I am stubborn and tougher than you or I think, and by now, I've been through a he'll of a lot. So keep on. It has to get better.

Or more simply, "You can be more."

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Thanks, Bruin. I have a definite tendency to get steamed up and write long posts.

I like that one enough, I'm thinking of copying it down to post along with my other writing.

I should've said too, that as much as it's easy to think no one else will listen, or care, or help, or the predicament is just too bad -- there are people out there who do care, who will listen, who will help. It's true they may not be right there around in the nick of time, but they are somewhere, even if we haven't met them yet. That, to me, is important. Yes, also, even if one relationship is not good, there are (or will be) others. Sometimes, at least one or two of the people we like understand better than we think.

Uh, I was surprised with most of the people I came out to. Most of them were not as surprised or shocked as I thought they would be. It seems like most of them had guessed I was gay and were waiting for me to be ready. Or they'd wondered. Or they were fine with it if I was or if I wasn't, being gay wasn't a problem to them. Now, it did make me a little frustrated, thinking, "If they knew, why didn't they say something, or let me know they were OK with it? Damn it." But of course, if I weren't gay and they'd said something, or if I were and I wasn't ready to hear it, that could've been bad, unhelpful. And later I realized, some of them had been sending out their opinions, I'd just been too dense or too uptight to notice. It's not always easy for anyone to know what to do or say.

School age, from little kid to teenager to almost young adult, is tough for anybody. It is especially tough if you happen to be different in some noticeable way. If you are different in a way that is not approved of or that some people thing is wrong, then it can be really tough. I think one of the things that makes it tough to endure is that you are growing up and you aren't aware yet of all the how's and why's about how you feel, what you can do, how your body acts, all of it. So when other people try to tell you how they think you should be, or worse, when people actively hurt you with words or physical actions, repeatedly, and adults do little or make it worse or do nothing...it's no wonder kids and teens feel so depressed. (It gets to adults too.)

But the thing is, there is so much more to life than the tiny little confines those bullies and enablers want to be the rules. It takes a lot to put up with that, and to live with not limiting yourself to those confines, to being big enough in character to grow beyond what others think or do.

I just wish more people would make it long enough to live that better life, and I wish more people wouldn't walk around refusing to go beyond those invisible walls.

It must get better.

Edited To Add:

I hate seeing so many TV news items where yet another smiling, smart kid so full of potential, has been hurt, killed, or driven to die because he took so much crud from so many people that he loses all hope for anything better. It is a terrible feeling, and some of us have lived through feeling like that. I'm sick at heart of hearing that yet another kid won't grow up to be that amazing and ordinary guy that someone out there would want to be their best friend or the love of their life, no matter what their real inner feelings are, gay or straight or undefined or in between.

I also hate when I hear someone or other I know say things about gay people. All that stuff...and they claim it's scientific fact or God-given fact, so often. Yet they refuse to see what's sometimes right in front of them. Aarrgh.

But that is why we have to keep being a voice for things to get better. It has to change.

I wonder how many people will lose someone close to them before they realize hate and bigotry and suppression are wrong, or that perhaps they need to re-examine what they think they know, or what was really said and thought in the original language, for instance. Then it might change, when they are confronted with the truth of their own culpability, contribution toward the suffering of others, of people they said they cared about.

But mostly, I miss that there won't be whoever this or that nice boy or girl was, who won't ever get past anywhere from 12 or 18, sometimes even younger. How unnecessary and outrageous and wasteful of the potential for better.

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