Friday, October 22, 2010

And Now, A Word from the President...

Since the tragic spike in suicides among young people who were bullied for being gay (or simply accused of being gay) occurred several weeks ago, we've seen a tremendous rise in the public's addressing this bullying and encouraging those being mistreated to seek help and have courage in the face of adversity.

Dan Savage and his husband, Terry, started the It Gets Better Project, which invited those who were bullied for being gay to post videos encouraging those struggling. A number of celebrities—both gay and straight—recorded videos, as did some politicians, and many of these people disclosed their struggles publicly for the first time.

I even contributed my own video to the project.

Yesterday, President Obama recorded his own video. While the president hasn't been the most ardent supporter of the gay community in his nearly two years on the job, you cannot doubt the sincerity—and necessity—of his message. How many of us would have felt just a little bit better if we saw a video like this from the president when we were growing up? How many of those who took their lives to escape the pain of being bullied, of being different, of being gay, might have benefited from a message like this from the leader of our country?

Whether or not you agree with his politics, you cannot help but admire the president's convictions in feeling this was an issue too important to leave to others. And it's tragic that many in our nation feel these young people are sinners who deserve the treatment they get, lessons they are learning at the feet of many in the public eye. What a wonderful opportunity to use words to heal, not hurt.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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