It Gets Better

In Minnesota and Indiana, two fifteen year old boys committed suicide after being subject to unrelenting anti-gay bullying and harassment. The rate of suicide among gay teens is four-times that of their straight peers.It’s a distressing and sobering statistic…

Dan Savage just recently started a campaign on Youtube aimed at LGBT youth called It Gets Better – gay men and lesbians telling the stories of their own difficult years as teenagers. And reminding kids to stick it out – because it does, in fact, get better.

Looking back on my own childhood and adolescence, I suppose I was in some ways lucky. I grew up in San Francisco, which made the process of coming to terms with my sexual orientation easier – I knew that I wasn’t the the only queer on the planet; I have a family that loves me (though those years were not a cakewalk for any of us – I mean, I was a teenager!); and by the time I got to high school, I’d managed to carve out a niche for myself with all the other misfits who gravitated to drama and choir.

But I still remember being called “faggot” on a regular basis in the hallways; getting shoved up against lockers; having my books scattered on the floor by some smirking dumb jock; avoiding certain areas of my school (not to mention the bathrooms! I think there were one or two “safe” ones); and getting hit or punched a few times, though never actually beat up. All of it was terrifying – people who I didn’t even know wanted to hurt me or be cruel to me based solely on their perception of my sexual orientation (an orientation I didn’t really figure out until I was 17).

But after high school, it did indeed get better. Once in college, I became more and more comfortable in my own skin. I gradually came out to my family (none of whom were particularly surprised by my revelation – and all of whom responded with the fact that their love for me remained unchanged). I made friends, straight and gay, who were interested in me as a person and unconcerned with my sexuality. I had boyfriends, good and bad – when I was in my 20s, I even moved to NYC with one of the good ones for a couple of years. And happily he remains a good friend, even these many years after we finished being boyfriends…

And now I’ve been back in SF for nearly 20 years, my beautiful hometown, living a life that is by no means perfect, but that is pretty gosh-darned swell.  My family are all close by and keeping me happy; I’m still amazed by the friends I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with and who bring me joy and laughter (and who get me when I complain); and I keep meeting new people from far and wide who teach me new things and remind me that getting older and wiser can be pretty freakin’ great. So, yes, it gets better…

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4 thoughts on “It Gets Better

  1. From your (somehwat irritating I am sure) stalker, accept my thanks. I am glad you did not do too badly growing up. And guess what? Those around you rather like what you have grown up into, also…………… And if cats like you, you must be alright!

  2. Oh Friend! I love this post. I am so happy to be counted among your many friends, especially one who gets you when you complain! hahahahaha

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