The “It Gets Better” project has an important message of support for LGBTQ youth, but it’s only the first step to combating bullying against sexual minorities. In his latest column, “Taking A Stand To Make It Better,” Leonard Pitts Jr. encourages gay celebrities to take a public stand against bigotry:
The dynamics of bigotry are remarkably consistent whether the bigotry be racial, religious, ethnic, or sexual: The target group is invariably defined as a threatening, inferior or offensive “other” to whom no ordinary duties of human decency and respect are owed.
But with sexual orientation, it is easier to hide the offending trait. The abuse becomes something you have to volunteer for. That’s what [actor Zachary] Quinto just did. And what other gay people must find the courage to do.
Yes, that is easier said than done. To hide in plain sight is to protect yourself from rejection by those whose acceptance means everything. But it is also to flinch from the moral responsibility of standing with and for your own.
It is a good and honorable thing to remind troubled kids that high school ends, that it gets better. Yet that can be cold comfort when you’re 14 and facing four more years of abuse. Four years is nearly a quarter of your life. So what is needed is not simply to encourage kids to be patient until graduation but, rather, to root out that which makes patience necessary.