Friday, October 1, 2010


Dan Savage
I'm not here to preach or to use other people's problems as a springboard for my own publicity, but with all the controversy surrounding Dan Savage's It Gets Better Campaign, I think that as a Gay Man with a public forum, it is my responsibility to at least voice my thoughts on the matter.

Billy Lucas, Justin Aaberg, Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown and Raymond Chase are four five teen males who were reported tragically to have committed suicide over the past few weeks. Each of them had been intimidated by their peers for being Gay; some we're not even sure were Gay.

Although I was pretty fortunate to have grown up around a group of supportive friends, there have been times in my life even as an adult where I too have been mocked for being Gay - whether it be out shopping, walking my dog, on the subway or even in the workplace. And even though I have become rather thick-skinned about it, I want you to know that even as an adult, being laughed at still hurts to some degree. Invalidating someone for something they have no control over is cruel.  If that person on the receiving end of it were your brother or your sister, how would you feel?

And although I think the message behind Savage's campaign is wonderful, somewhere amidst all the pleas for Celebrities to join the cause, the true heart and soul of the message is getting lost. Instead, the vibe I'm getting is that those who are influencial are using this indirectly as an opportunity to shine the light upon themselves, when this is all about the generation of Kids whose voices aren't fully developed yet.

Do I think it's a good thing that Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres or Perez Hilton are sending a positive message out to Gay Youth? Absolutely. But what we need to remember though is that every situation is unique and simply telling kids to love themselves and be strong isn't enough.  In fact, it's rather delusional.  We don't see their realities or histories - what their family lives are like nor do we know the extent to which they are being bullied. And I know for a fact that life isn't always easy for Gay people even as adults.  If anything, it can be bloody complicated.

The message we should be sending out to those victims of "Gay Bullying" is that we need to encourage them to be brave enough to face the fact that things aren't alright and that they need not be afraid to ask for help. I'm not saying Counseling or Therapy is the answer for everyone, but it is a step in the right direction - an acknowledgment that a trained professional will be there at least for that first step to getting better. We spend so much time going to Doctors for simple things like the Common Cold, yet when it comes to our own Mental Health, we often ignore it.

If you're a reader of my Blog and need help, I encourage you to talk to your Family Doctor - they are there to help and can refer you to someone who can help. If you're in Canada and you need someone to talk to, visit for a local number to call. If you're outside of Canada, the International Association for Suicide Prevention is also available as a resource or The Trevor Project at

You're not alone and all it takes is that one first step.


  1. sometimes ppl just don't think what they consider as a joke can really hurt someone esp. in this increasingly polarized society. What the world needs more is love for oneself, and love for others.

  2. Well said Will.

    However, I would like to point out that bullying is widespread in all areas be in sexual orientation, colour of skin, social-economic status, and weight.

    Some people will state that it is what the children are taught and what they see that shapes them. To some extent, I have to agree. The question becomes, "How do we change it?" That's also a hard step that needs to be addressed. How do you change parents and peers to stop and look and think before acting?

    I don't have all the answers, but I am glad that you posted this and have given some direction to some of those that may need help.