That was the entire point. Dan was very excited this morning when he found out that Penny Nance, the CEO of Concerned Women for America, was going bat crazy over the fact that the Google Chrome “It Gets Better” commercial had aired during American Idol, which she and her son were watching at the time. Here’s Penny, whining like wingnuts whine:
Thank you for cleaning up the Viagra commercials Fox, but PLEASE what’s with the new tolerance for homosexuals campaign disguised as anti-bullying? Bullying is wrong. It is wrong for any reason. Apparently, American Idol, with the help of Woody from Disney’s Toy Story, thinks that my 4th grader needs to be fully aware of the plight of teens who view themselves as “gay.” I am sorry, but he doesn’t even know about heterosexual sex yet. Can you give me some room here?
I am ticked because I feel tricked. Fox blew it last night. I love my Idol and Steven Tyler is the best judge ever, but I digress. The point is parents felt secure in allowing our entire families watch this show. They lured us into a false sense of security and broke trust with us last night. We will probably give it another try, but trick parents again and you will find my poker face switching the channel.
I saw Dan Savage speak several months back, and he made the point very clear that he makes in his post responding to Penny’s rambling cries of idiocy — that the target audience for the “It Gets Better” campaign is, specifically, kids being raised in homes like Penny’s. Because if her son ends up being gay, or the child of any person like her, it’s virtually guaranteed that their middle and high school years will be a living hell. It’s even likely, depending on how deeply the fundamentalist bigot indoctrination damages the child, that their lives will continue to be hell for many years after that. Here, let Dan explain you it:
The primary goal of the IGB campaign was to reach LGBT kids who are being bullied by their peers and their families. LGBT kids are four times likelier to attempt suicide—unless their parents are hostile. LGBT kids whose parents are hostile are eight times likelier to attempt suicide. The bullying and hostility and rejection too many LGBT kids are subjected to by their own families is by far the most destructive kind of bullying [note from Evan: Religious indoctrination that convinces gay kids that they're sick and evil IS bullying]. And those kids—kids with parents like Nance—are the ones who most need to find their way to www.itgetsbetter.org.
Now I don’t know if Nance’s son is gay, bi, or trans, but if he is, he needs to know more than most that it can get better for him too, that there’s hope for his future, and that the adult world isn’t entirely populated by hateful shits like his mother. He needs to know that there are a lot of people out there rooting for him: lesbian dairy farmers, trans porn stars, gay doctors, Woody—even the president of the United States.
And if Nance’s son finds his way to www.itgetsbetter.org—maybe not now, maybe in a year or two (I knew for sure that I was gay by the time I was in the seventh grade)—”It Gets Better” videos won’t just give him hope for his own future. They’ll also give him hope his family’s future too. There are a ton of videos at www.itgetsbetter.org created by LGBT adults whose families were hostile when they first came out but whose families now love and accept them. So if Nance’s son is gay—and here’s hoping—and finds his way to the “It Gets Better” website, he’ll hear from moms and dads who used to feel the same way his mother does now but who grew and changed. He’ll meet moms and dads who now reject anti-gay bigotry, not their gay children.
Nance’s son was always our target demo. Again, we don’t know if he’s gay. But he might be and, if he is, he needs to hear from us. And the Google Chrome/”It Gets Better” campaign has helped us reach him and millions more like him.
None of this would be necessary if fundamentalist parents and communities and churches weren’t dropping the ball on their own jobs as parents, communities and churches — if they weren’t such utter failures. As it is, the high gay teen suicide rate comes from people like Penny Nance, who have children at will and then fail their own gay children and the gay children of anyone around them by poisoning society with their backwoods, disproven, hateful ideology. In a perfect world, Dan’s campaign wouldn’t be necessary. Unfortunately, it is.
Dan also points out, as will I, that Penny’s complaint that her fourth grader doesn’t even know about straight sex [which is insane] is an absolute non sequitur, as the It Gets Better videos have nothing to do with sex. There is nothing inherently sexual in kids learning that, as the singer Tori Amos put it in an interview a while back, some princes grow up and find a princess, and some grow up and find another prince. [This is how she explained it to her young daughter.] Likewise, kids hearing the message — and many fourth graders already sense that they’re drawn to the same gender, even if it’s not an explicitly sexual thought — that if you grow up and want to be with somebody of the same sex, that it’s okay, is a good thing. Because, Penny and all you other bigots out there, here is the thing: no amount of your chomping, condemning, whining, bitching, hating or anything else is going to change whether one of your children ends up gay. You only can influence whether they grow up loving themselves or hating themselves. When you are derelict in that simple duty, at least we can now say that the “It Gets Better” project is out there to give a voice of support to your hurting kids.
In other words, stuff it, Nance. If you don’t want to see the teevee commercial on the teevee, turn it off, build a box around yourself and your family, live underground, whatever you have to do to shut reality out. But even with all that, you might end up with a gay kid.
The apples: How are you liking ‘dem?
And just because it deserves to be viewed and shared as often as possible, here again is Google Chrome’s “It Gets Better” ad: