My story and a request: #PleaseHearMe for teens so that #ItGetsBetter (video coming)

I will make a video about this. But this has been percolating and I can't take reading yet another posting about yet another queer teen suicide (oy, Raymond Chase RIP ) after it's been, what, 6 publicized in the past two weeks?

I'm writing ( and soon video-ing) for three reasons:
•to participate in Dan Savage's #ItGetsBetter project to encourage queer youth
•to reply to the many comments (Megan McCardle's the first among them) I've seen on the web suggesting that there's no need to specifically address queer youth suicide and encouragement because we should just address all bullying and it's all the same, and
•suggest a new, twist to #ItGetsBetter. That we not only talk to queer youth but listen to them. Let's not just tell or ask. Let's listen. Let's not just witness the Tyler Clementi's after they're tragically gone.

I'm asking queer youth to tell us their stories and feelings, asking us to #PleaseHearMe. And I'm asking you queer youth to post them as video responses to people who have posted #ItGetsBetter videos and the IGB folks to respond. even with one sentence. Please, let's witness our youth. 


I'm not so pleased with all the "it's no different than being fat etc". Listen bullying is shit for everyone and I know about it intimately. The point of the LGBT outrage this week is not that bullying isn't shit for everyone who is pegged as different and tortured. it's bad and we should do everything we can to stop all bullying and listen to all kids who are alone and isolated.


there is a special kind of queer invisibility that is related to the active legal persecution of LGBT folks. I'm not saying "our pain is better  than your pain" I know pain, like Fran Lebowitz said of genocides are like snowflakes: no two are alike.

I'm saying that the not even understanding who or what you are, especially in the heat of sexual identity development is tough and especially when you have no mirroring, no examples and for some of these kids religious parents or o=institutions actively persecuting them and telling them basically that what they naturally feel is'n't what they naturally feel or that t is evil.

A basic  feeling, driver, like "I'm hungry" or "I'm tired' is wrong. This is shown to you a million ways., even from those who have most influence over you. Now try to trust yourself, your instincts., your perception of the world. We know what we know psychologically because it is mirrored. It's how we all develop as people.

And is it fucked up and wrong that peoples projected discomfort and anger is getting poured all over queer kids (or anyone) and that this is ENCOURAGED or allowed. This intolerance is mirrored as ok rather than the most basic impulse of life and life's BEST impulse: affection, caring, desire, LOVE.

I was treated like absolute shit most days of my high school life for all kinds of reasons: being nerdy, beign pegged oung in a small town (bullies rarely innovate in terms of targets and worse than bullies were the many who just silently shunned me) socially inept, intellectual, very much so for being Jewish not so much for being openly gay because I was confused as hell about it, not really so completely gay and I guess I could pass a little bit. 

But the truth is that I didn't even know the WORD LESBIAN till I got to college. There was not a single book in the public library under "homosexuality" when I looked and I was more an more inept , looking back, BECAUSE I was faking so many heterosexual things which were the social currency of having any kind of friendship much of the time. Once I started to feel I was feeling something intense for girls I started to fear I'd be disowned for it. 

So I only had "dyke" yelled at me once even though I had the entire football team stand up daily and chant anti-Semitic stuff at me every day in the cafeteria. The latter was humiliating but I never felt odd about being Jewish. I felt comfortable and proud because I had a strong Jewish community and family and lots of fun and warmth associated with it.

There was no one gay though. No one. Except Velma on Scooby Doo.

I contemplated suicide as a teen and I did a pretty useless attempt at something once (and I'm aware the the insurance system is bizarre enough that these words may be scraped, de-contextualized and used against me some day but I'm putting them out there now because it's too important to not share if I can help even one young person know that i really do understand and feel an ounce better). But I loved life. As painful as it was at the moment and as much as I lived for the future there was so much beauty in people, ideas, learning, music, sport, a story..there was just too much that I loved. I was desperate to be seen in those lonely lonely days.

So to all of you at the nerd table: the Jews, and the geeks and the fat kids and the freaks and regular looking and privately vomiting or awkwarding ones and the misfits. I love you all. It will get better for you and all of the injustice done to you is unfair and the bullying should not be tolerated. But to you young queer kids: please please know that those feelings you might already be learning to push down are yours. No one else gets to own them, tell you they're no real. Your feelings are how you know you're alive.  They're the sensors of life. They are what art is made of and that's the greatest thing humans have ever come up with. They are why you're fabulous and please please please find a way to have those feelings and share them with someone or the Net in a way that works for you.

Let those feelings flow through you, course through you, harder and stronger every day. Don't limit them. You can contain them .You can be smart about when you and how you express them (thus leading to a level of emotional maturity your peers will probably wait decades more to develop) but please please don't listen to someone who tries to erase them.

They are part of your magnificence. Please share them. We're listening. Practice seeing and focussing on the one's who can hear you and know that just because many cannot does not mean no one can. We'll hear you. Someone will hear you. Please feel. Please stay alive. They are the essence of life. 

I made it through the only ways i knew how. I took friendliness wherever i could find it. I hid out in the library and the guidance counsellors office and among adults who couldn't be as bad and I read books like some do crack.

That's what I had. You have all these people making #ItGets Better videos. if it's safe (you can turn away from the camera if you must…you don't just have to listen. You can talk and be listened to. And I urge each wonderful person making an #ItGetsBetter video to please respond to each video sent to you by a kid that says #PleaseHearMe . Even if it's a one sentence response. Please listen. So it will get better.

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold