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Watch: President Obama's 'It Gets Better' Message

Obama_itgetsbetter

President Obama tells bullied gay youth that "it gets better." 

President Obama, as long as the actions of your administration continue to tell LGBT people that they are less than equal citizens, that they do not deserve to marry the person that they love, that they do not deserve to serve openly in the U.S. military, that they can still be fired from jobs because of who they are, how can you promise these kids that "it gets better?"

Thank you for recording this message. Please follow up your words with actions. Set the example you say is so important.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Video for the “It Gets Better” Project

Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives. As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart. It’s something that just shouldn’t happen in this country.

We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage—that it’s some inevitable part of growing up. It’s not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe forall of our kids. And to every young person out there you need to know that if you’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.

I don’t know what it’s like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it’s like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don’t belong. It’s tough. And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart—I know can just wear on you. And when you’re teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself—for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else.

But what I want to say is this. You are not alone. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you’re getting down on yourself, you’ve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it’s your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You’ve got to reach out to them, don’t feel like you’re in this by yourself.

The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You’ll look back on the struggles you’ve faced with compassion and wisdom. And that’s not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.

It will mean that you’ll be more likely to help fight discrimination—not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you’ll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it’s so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people’s eyes and stand in their shoes—that we never lose sight of what binds us together.

As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves. That’s the freedom that enriches all of us. That’s what America is all about.

And every day, it gets better.

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Comments

  1. Dear President Obama:

    Actions speak louder than words.

    Very truly yours,

    PistolPetey

    Posted by: PistolPetey | Oct 21, 2010 11:38:27 PM


  2. Remember, honey, when I hit you later, I DID tell you tonight you look pretty.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Oct 21, 2010 11:39:20 PM


  3. "it does get better- but my policies will still ensure you are a second-class citizen"

    Posted by: DruggyBear | Oct 21, 2010 11:42:42 PM


  4. This feels so disconnected. LGBT students do tell their teachers and very little is often done. Check out the data. Also, telling them, in my opinion, that they will look back on those who bullied them one day with compassion seems trite.
    I wonder if it was a gay staffer who wrote this script.

    Posted by: Christopher | Oct 21, 2010 11:45:16 PM


  5. How lame. He doesn't believe that gays should be allowed such "privileges" as being married or serving this country, and then he's got the audacity to insult us with this? Fuck him, and his exclusionary actions coupled with ridiculous pandering.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Oct 21, 2010 11:47:32 PM


  6. Ugh, "bullying" and suicides in America are just symptoms of the root disease: outright institutionalized prejudice.

    You stamp out anti-gay bullying by getting rid of the prejudice. You prevent suicides by raising kids in a safe, healthy environment, where they know that their community values them as full human beings. America doesn't do that, and that is the real problem.

    Posted by: X | Oct 21, 2010 11:49:26 PM


  7. I'm gonna go ahead and be glad he did this. Regardless of his policies or personal views on marriage, which do need some revising, I can't fault a man for reaching out to youths who feel isolated and unloved. The message is "it gets better," not "it gets perfect." The idea is to hold on and build a better tomorrow, so that some day we will achieve these goals, and a big part of that is going to be helping kids today see that there is a future in who they are and that they have something they can be proud of. I think a lot of us forget how isolating being a gay kid in an elementary, middle, or high school can be and what effects that has on a developing mind. Fuck, I wasn't even bullied that much and I still contemplated killing myself more than once. Any message of hope that can get to them is a good one, the President has a pretty big influence.

    Posted by: Chris | Oct 21, 2010 11:51:36 PM


  8. Oh, NOW he can talk to us? Whatever.

    Posted by: kc | Oct 21, 2010 11:55:42 PM


  9. Obama's video is unlisted on YouTube, which means that if someone tries to search for it on YouTube, he/she won't be able to find it. Why did the White House post the video as unlisted? Wouldn't the White House want to make this video easy to find for the teenagers and kids who need to see his message?

    Posted by: Sean Chapin | Oct 22, 2010 12:02:56 AM


  10. It gets better - just not while I'm president.

    Posted by: Tigerama | Oct 22, 2010 12:03:55 AM


  11. Where was the outrage on this blog on Hillary's video-- she supports the same unequal marriage policies. Make it uniform people.

    Posted by: Wil | Oct 22, 2010 12:05:36 AM


  12. What you said, Andy.

    Posted by: Feral | Oct 22, 2010 12:10:16 AM


  13. Now, Wil, that's too logical and rational. It's more fun to fantasize that the president is secretly a bigot who hates gay people way more than his public position on marriage while Hillary is a secret honorary gay who loves gay people way more than her public position on marriage.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Oct 22, 2010 12:11:22 AM


  14. Thank you.

    Posted by: Loki7329 | Oct 22, 2010 12:19:49 AM


  15. Chris,
    I never comment on anything but I feel like I need to say this...I think you did a great job explaining what most of us feel! I might disagree with the president on a lot of issues and the way things are going but I am proud OUR president took the time and showed he knows what is happening and cares enuf to do this...it says ALOT about the man!

    Posted by: Scott | Oct 22, 2010 12:23:49 AM


  16. @ Matthew BLESS YOU honey for saying that!

    Posted by: Sebastian | Oct 22, 2010 12:23:53 AM


  17. Should we be angry absolutely! But we should not be stupid, in the senate who voted to repeal DADT, all but 2 democrats, and ALL the republicans. Not voting for a democrat this election is just stupid.

    As for Obama I will not vote for him during the primaries in 2012, I will donate my time and money to someone who supports full equality, but I am smart enough to know that voting republican is not just bad for us as a community but it is bad for us as a country.

    Posted by: Jason | Oct 22, 2010 12:26:56 AM


  18. yeah chris i agree with your comment above. things are definitely not perfect but this is a heartfelt message from a president who i believe really does care and probably wishes he could do more for glbt issues(and other issues as well). it's not like the president can just do anything he wants - there is endless opposition to anything getting done in the politics of washington. if i heard the president say those things when i was in my teens it would have been an incredibly powerful thing - and i think it is now too.

    Posted by: bdslater9 | Oct 22, 2010 12:27:28 AM


  19. I think his heart is in the right place, although possibly conflicted (his position on equal marriage), but he doesn't fully understand our frustrations. I don't think he has really tried to understand our frustrations either, instead simply assuming what it is that frustrates us.

    Frankly I don't think he understands the gravity of a great many situations that he has worked on (gay rights, all issues involving abuses by large corperations, income and wealth disparity, etc). It's all just so frustrating.

    We just have to keep working within our own constraints to get as much done as we can and support those who are willing and able to do more than we can on our own.

    Posted by: ravewulf | Oct 22, 2010 12:29:25 AM


  20. Don't thank the president for this. Thanks Dan Choi.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Oct 22, 2010 12:30:48 AM


  21. DONATE to GetEQUAL Tonight. They are the answer. Obama now fears us. Democrats fear us. We have helped give control of the Congress to the Republicans and we need your help to fight the good fight.

    Donate tonight. We are willing to fight, but we need you to support us. PLEASE donate now. Politics is not the answer -we are. Robin McGhee is our leader and she will win the fight and force people to accept us. She will probably be our next President, too. She is brilliant.

    Posted by: Miami Gay | Oct 22, 2010 12:34:42 AM


  22. Pretty words, but they're meaningless if not followed up with action. I'd equate this video to a "It Gets Better" video by Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, Rush Limbaugh, Jimmy Swaggart, and others. How can it get better when the President of the United States appeals a decision on equality?

    Posted by: Keith | Oct 22, 2010 12:41:50 AM


  23. I just finished a rant on my Facebook about this, and pretty much typed what you typed, Andy. Although, your sentiment was much more concise.

    Bullies pick on gay youths because they deem them unworthy. And why shouldn't they? They've been told time and time again that gay individuals aren't worthy of the same rights as heterosexual individuals by our own government. And of course, since gay youth have heard the same thing, they're that much more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts and actions.

    I do appreciate the message, though. And I'm impressed that he took time out to record it, but until Obama proves that it will get better by his administration's actions, frankly, it won't.

    Posted by: finkles2000 | Oct 22, 2010 12:53:05 AM


  24. It is so disappointing to see the negative comments about the President's message on this site of all places. The POTUS delivered a heartfelt message in support of gay youth. I never thought I would hear such a thing because the political risks are so great. The same POTUS is working to assure that DADT is overturned by law in the legislature because he knows that if it makes it to the Roberts court it will be upheld and we'll lose out only chance to end it once and for all. Please, take a broader view and recognize progress when it's made. President Obama is working for us, not against us. He is not omnipotent, but he is smart and he is practical. If you want progress to stop, then remain cynical and let the opposition reign. We have an advocate in the White House who needs to hear from us, especially when we're disappointed.

    Posted by: BridgeView | Oct 22, 2010 1:01:22 AM


  25. Hope?

    Nope!

    Posted by: kryanox | Oct 22, 2010 1:02:14 AM


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