Life Does Get Better For Gay Teens, But Bullies Don’t Magically Disappear

I love seeing all the videos, from celebrities and civilians, get uploaded to YouTube with messages of hope for LGBT youth. I’m particularly impressed because nobody whose job it is to send these sorts of messages — I’m talking to you, Ken Jennings and GLSEN — are doing shit about it. But I’ve got a small problem with Michael Urie’s video.

“Bullies aren’t bullies forever,” he says. That’s wrong. Bullies, generally, are bullies forever. They’re insecure cowards who taunt others to feel powerful, because they suffer from not enough love, or some rage complex, or whatever. But bullies don’t always “grow out” of bullying. They just find new targets. Michael’s message, however, is dead on: “If you feel this bullying will never end, tough it out, because it will.” That can be true: Get out of your small town and find one of many refuges around the country were queers aren’t just accepted, but they’re lauded, and your life will improve.

But that prick back home who called you a faggot and pushed you down the steps and made you consider for even one second that suicide is the answer?

He’s not going to change. That’s why you’ve got to keep your head strong, and persevere.

I just wish these sorts of messages reached Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who took his own life because of some dipshit bully he was forced to live with. As Lauren Felton, a fellow student at the university notes, “Had [Clementi] been in bed with a woman, this would not have happened. He wouldn’t have been outed via an online broadcast, and his privacy would have been respected and he might still have his life.”

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  • 7

    @Matt: Your argument is akin to “She’s had sex before, so raping her isn’t that big a deal.”

    It’s an invasion of privacy with malicious intent. Don’t think anything changes just cos he cammed a few times.

  • Flipper

    @Matt: Hey moron, have you heard of consent? That was sorely lacking in the episode that led to his suicide. 7’s response to you is spot on. To even SUGGEST that the roommate should be excused because the victim had cammed in the past is wholly disgusting. Please go crawl back under your rock now.

  • Matt


    All I said was that it is not clear why Tyler killed himself.

    The post says “Tyler . . . took his own life because of some dipshit bully he was forced to live with.”

    A person has to be very upset to kill himself. We know Tyler was not upset about strangers seeing him exposed on camera. And his online posts suggest that he was not all that upset about his roommate seeing him kiss a guy on the hidden camera, either. He didn’t sound suicidal when he was boasting that he unplugged the camera the next night and went about his business.

    Maybe something else happened that made him so upset. Maybe that something had nothing to do with the roommate. That’s all I said.

  • cr8nguy

    really? he wasn’t upset about strangers seeing him??? that’s stupid. when HE posts pics, HE controls who he lets see them. this roommate invited anyone to watch.

    maybe he was freaked it would end up in circulation and his family would see it?

    either way, he didn’t choose to invade his own privacy and had no control over the use of the video. i can’t believe anyone even has to point this out.

  • Schteve

    He’s not saying the roommate should be excused. All he’s saying is that he may not have killed himself over that particular incident. But it’s still entirely possible that that was the reason.

    Did you even read the article he linked to?

  • Michael

    @cr8nguy: You must know more. Was there a note left as to why he chose to end his life? Did he tell anybody? I cannot find news of this.

  • Dennis

    @Matt: There is on crucial difference between the “broadcasting himself” you have linked to and what his roommate did to him. The link you proved, has no truly identifying information of him nor a full shot of his face. The roommate aimed the web cam at his face and tweeted what he was doing. Rutgers is not a very large campus and this poor kid was humiliated in front of his peers.

    RIP Tyler Clementi

  • Matt


    You have a pretty good theory. I’m just not as sure as you are about what was going through this kid’s head.

    He was clearly upset about his roommate’s actions, he just did not seem *that* upset.


    Whatever the reason, it is a tragedy.

  • Black Pegasus

    Gay youth should start fighting back!

    When I was a teen, I would simply punch the fuck out of someone if he even stared at me too hard. I grew up with four big brothers, and I was told to strike first when you realize you’re in danger. Even if you ultimately lose the fight, you would have gained your respect.

    I’ve lost count of the bastards I’ve sucker punched during high school.. If anything, maybe I was the bully..LOL

  • hmm

    @Black Pegasus: dont be so cavalier. people these days do sometimes carry things called guns and knives. or they sometimes fight you 5 guys against one.

    it’s not so smart to assume that folks are always going to fight fair. i sure as hell wouldnt bet my life on it.

  • Hyhybt

    Back to the article… Ken Jennings? Only person I’ve ever heard of with that name is the one who won at Jeopardy! for months on end a few years back. As he’s Mormon, he would not be my first guess at someone “whose job it is to send these sorts of messages.”

  • Kev C

    “Next time you feel blue, think about puppies” – Michael Urie

    I hate puppies. Dogs remind me of bullies, barking out obscenities, chasing after people minding their own business, pissing on people’s lawns.

  • Schteve

    @Dennis: Not a very large campus? It has over 50,000 students. There aren’t that many schools which are bigger.

  • Fausto Fernos

    Awww I want to be that puppy.

  • apoptosis

    You mean Kevin Jennings, not Ken Jennings. Ken was the Jeopardy winner, Kevin is Obama’s Safe School Czar.

  • Artie L.

    I commend the work of “It Gets Better,” and there is no doubt that our schools and politicians need to finally make our classrooms safer for LGBT youth. That said, strangely absent from all of these discussions is the question of how we, the LGBT community, can help prevent bullying *within* our ranks. Any young gay man who has ever set foot in a club knows the cultural cache of “bitchiness” and “fierce.” I was called every name imaginable by straight high school students; but their words pale in comparison to the remarkably cruel words I’ve heard escape from the lips of gay men. I suspect that many of these closeted kids are not only afraid of the reactions of their straight friends and family, but are also terrified of whether or not they will find acceptance in the gay world.

    I’m not saying that this is the way most of us behave. I am suggesting, however, that we think more carefully about how we can create environments that are warm, welcoming and affirming for people who are coming out–environments that accept them just as they are.

  • Tom

    Excellent point Artie.

Comments are closed.