There are, it appears, two ways to do an It Gets Better video.
After the suicide of Jamie Hubley, the son of an Ottawa Councillor and a vibrant, dynamic, but bullied, gay teen, many people were touched by his story and wanted to reach out to do something – anything – to try to tell teens that it does get better, that while the teenage years can be really terrible for some, life grows and changes and evolves and won’t stay the way it is now, no matter how dark it may seem at the time.
Even Conservative Members of Parliament and staffers participated in making an It Gets Better video:
One can forgive the participants if the video seems, well, stuffy and bureaucratic. This is Ottawa, after all. And the sentiment is clear: There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Please, if you need help, ask for it. However, the video is unlikely to grab many teens except perhaps those who idolize members of the Conservative Party of Canada. Still, perhaps there’s something to be learned – even the It Gets Better videos can get better.
For example, there’s Rick Mercer’s latest rant – which, uncharacteristically for Mercer, is not a hilariously biting commentary on current society, but rather an impassioned plea for adults to start taking charge, holding bullies to account and start living our lives by example. “It’s no longer good enough for us to tell kids who are different that it’s gonna get better – we have to make it better now,” Mercer, who is openly gay, says.
There was also a clear call for public figures such as current sitting Cabinet Ministers who may or may not have appeared in the earlier It Gets Better video to own it. “If you’re gay and you’re in public life, I’m sorry, you don’t have to run around with a Pride flag and bore everyone, but you can’t be invisible, not any more,” Mercer rants. There’s too much at stake.
What do you think? Should gay public figures make a point of telling the world they’re gay, so that young gay teens who may be struggling and are in desperate need of positive role models can look to them as symbols of hope? Or is someone’s sexuality none of anyone else’s business, no matter what business you’re in?
Photo Credit: Hubley Family (handout)