Watch: President Obama’s ‘It Gets Better’ Message

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.

Comments

  1. Christopher says

    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.

  2. Joey Y says

    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.

  3. X says

    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.

  4. Chris says

    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.

  5. says

    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?

  6. says

    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.

  7. Scott says

    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!

  8. Jason says

    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.

  9. bdslater9 says

    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.

  10. ravewulf says

    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.

  11. Miami Gay says

    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.

  12. Keith says

    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?

  13. finkles2000 says

    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.

  14. BridgeView says

    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.

  15. Herbo says

    He is a joke.
    This man ran to do this because Hilary beat him to it.
    I swear, Obama would tell you he shits ice cream if he was advises to do so. I have never seen a more robotic career politician full of
    Empty Promises and sickening transparency.

  16. robert says

    what a hypocrite. really. i’m offended he even has the audacity to record something like this. “it gets better…but for the record, i don’t think you are entitled to the same rights as everyone else.”

  17. Asher says

    Wait…are you guys serious…really? What the fuck are you people on? First and formost, this video is not for you, I can safely assume that most of you are not LGBT Youth considering suicide, many of you may have been and if you were, congrats on pulling through. Other than that, since you’re not the target audience anymore, grow the fuck up.

    The President made this for kids in dire straights and the fact that he did do this, is simply remarkable. And you know what? If he hadn’t had said anything at all, you’d all be bitching just the same. God, sometime the worst part about being gay is getting lumped in with all the bitter-jaded queens in the world.

    Thank You Mr. President, I don’t necessarily agree with how you’re trying to do things, but I do appreciate the fact that you are doing something.

  18. Sam says

    I may not be happy with how he’s handled DADT, but to have a US President address young LGBT American’s is pretty unbelievable. Imagine ANY OTHER President ever doing this? I still believe Obama should be pressured to do more, but this is a lot more than anyone else has done. So let’s celebrate that.

  19. please vote says

    your choice is between those who, at least, give you lip service, or those who would amend the constitution to make you second class citizens. you choose.

  20. TANK says

    They’ll be enough back slapping from lesbians, gays and allies to turn down the heat for a while–even amongst the bloggers. But don’t ever forget that the central reason that this and the one from hillary was made was because of the pressure and anger from discontented gays and lesbians with this administration and congress’s handling of actual gay rights. This wasn’t made in response so much to kids who were bullied to death, but the attention it’s getting, and the increasing criticism of the obama administration’s inept handling of gay rights. This wasn’t made and released in response to all of the apologists, happy campers, “stay the coursers”, and “look at the alternative” chicken littles amongst us, or in the media.

  21. FS says

    I suppose an apt comparison can be made between Obama vis a vis gay rights and Kennedy vis a vis black civil rights. Heart appeared to be generally in the right place but bold, proactive action was short.. Yet history records him as a ‘friend’ of the Negro. and I guess compared to the other crackas he was.

  22. JMD says

    Wow. Well it does save him the time it would take to drive to my house and kick me in the nuts. As a ten-year veteran of the Marine Corps, this just… I can barely formulate a sentence without getting too angry to think.

    Obama: “And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities.”

    (Limited possibilities, unless you are willing to lie and deny the truth.)

    Obama: “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.”

    (That’s what America is all about in theory, but not so much in practice. Quit running your suck about the freedom each one of us deserves unless you’re finally going to speak up about making it a reality.)

  23. Matt26 says

    Hillary has better writers. This had too many words. Why couldn’t he open his heart and speak freely (or demand his writers to write it that way). It is good he spoke, but I didn’t get any emotions from it. Where did his passion go after the elections?

  24. Martin Murray says

    Barack Obama is a career politician. The only reason this video got made is because he’s worried about about the fact that his homoophobia in relation to DADT and marriage inequality is causing a massive erosion of his support among the LGBT population.

    I’ll not vote for him at the next election if he has not repealed DADT.

    I don’t trust liars.

  25. FunMe says

    “You got to be kidding, right? There’s a video of Obama with the “It gets better” video? HOW? It gets better when Obama does NOTHING to help the GLBT community other than “blah, blah, blah”?

    I don’t even want to see that video. Words are cheap. ACTIONS speak louder than words.

    Obama should be ashamed of himself. I truly believe his mother would be ashamed to see what he has become: America’s 1st BLACK President supports DISCRIMINATION!”

  26. Ricco says

    President Obama, like The former President George Bush, is the last man I think has any credibility when it comes to encouraging despondent teens that things will get better.

    He has done nothing to adovcate for the LGBT community, so why would a teen, who is self-aware, taking in the hateful environment of this country, of a president who is a fierce advocate of DADT and DOMA, who thinks that marriage is between a man and a woman, think that things are going to get better? At least why should he believe it when the message comes from President Obama?

    Even if the Obama administration felt that it was their duty to defend the law, they need not be so damned tenacious about it. the DOJ could at least go before the 9th Circuit court and say that they believe DADT is unconstitutional.

    Obama is counting on the desperation of gays to vote him back into office, despite his hypocrisy and broken promises. He said as much when he became irritable and went off point at a recent rally and addressed his hecklers that they could expect much worse from the republicans.

    This is just me, but I would rather vote republican, or not vote at all before I vote for a hypocrite who is playing me, before I bend over and take it from a president who was supposed to be my firece advocate.

    I would see a republican in office first, and make his life holy hell with protests and civil disobedience before I gave Obama the satisfaction of playing me.

    At least with republicans, I know what to expect. With Obama, I feel like a pathetic loser, waiting for a one night stand to call me.

    The thing is, I don’t wait by the telephone.

  27. Daayyummmmboi says

    I think on this issue whats LAME here is people trying to attach political commentary to and area where politics is not at issue. Your either on the right side or wrong side. Even if I do not think the President is perfect, it has nothing to do with his effort to raise hope and bring awareness.

  28. JauntyJohn says

    @ Chris and BRIDGEVIEW
    I’m with you.
    I never expected to see, in my lifetime, a sitting President of the United States (hell, ANY president of the u.s.) speak with such candor and clear language — without euphemism or oblique references — to GAY TEENS.
    There is definitely room for great improvement on the part of the administration when it comes to DADT, Marriage equality, etc. and taking action… yet President Obama CHOSE to do this, to take the time to make this video — it was a good and decent thing to do, and I for one am grateful he did.

  29. Raz230 says

    George W Bush would never have gone on record like this. I know a lot of people are insulted by this video- but change happens over time with a lot of small steps. This is one of those steps. I think it was nice.

  30. mark says

    Sent to the White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov this morning:

    Thank you Mr. President for the “It Gets Better Video”

    As someone who was bullied for being gay in Jr. High and High School in America I would like to offer the following feedback on the message.

    The President said:

    “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.”

    Please note: These suicides are not caused by a “myth” about bullying.

    It’s the terror of daily verbal abuse that needs to be ended. The word fa**ot needs to be retired by giving kids real world consequences for using it.

    It’s also the physical abuse that needs to be ended. The pounding of the head into the locker. The “we’ll see you after school” beating. Once again real world consequences required.

    This statement makes it seem as though every kid goes through this when the specific kind of abuse that is suicide related is affecting boys who don’t conform to the gender code.

    Note, it’s gay boys who are killing themselves in America today.

    If we can’t be honest about the facts and resort to glossy generalities then kids will continue to feel the adults are fools and we won’t make the difference we want for the people who are suffering.

    I would have like to hear the president talk about the first time he heard a boy in school called “fa**ot” and then talk about how it made him feel and how he responded. Much more interesting message and would have gotten more media attention.

    Oh yes, it still can be done.

  31. InNYC says

    Hope I don’t believe in!! This man is a hypocrite and part of the problem. Sadly, he is just a pawn in a dysfunctional policial process in this country. I am so tired of being forced to accept the Democrats as the lesser of two evils. It is time to disengage, as I can’t imagine actually voting for him for a second term. If the Repuglicans win, I can be oppressed but paying less taxes.

  32. coolbearinmd says

    Well, it’s a really good message, and there are hundreds of American politicians who would never come close to saying anything like it.

    But – after defending this administration a lot, I’m now seeing some of the behind-the-scenes on DADT repeal (living in DC and hearing from my inside-the-Beltway friends), and it’s just totally, shamefully, appalling, and really craven. What’s sad is the disconnect between this very appropriate message and the determined, very deliberate effort to keep gay people, including White House and Congressional staffers, out of the DADT policy discussions. I have straight friends at the Pentagon who are starting to express shock at how their gay colleagues are being left out of the loop. The whole message they’re sending is “Hang on and let us handle this,” as Valerie Jarrett seemed to say the other day. In that context, this message is just a little disturbing–like the President’s saying, “Look, I don’t want anybody to pick on you–but if you fight back, you’re really gonna screw the Democratic candidates this fall.”

  33. princely54 says

    I am of mixed feelings about this. On one hand, its historic in sense to have a president address the issue head on like this — can you imagine a Reagan or Bush doing this? And, teens in crisis need to hear it from every quarter they can, politics be damned. As it was mentioned earlier, its for them and not for the adults who have ‘made it through’.

    But, yes, its hypocritical considering that he’s stated he doesn’t believe in gay marriage, which makes him a de facto bigot. I think he does want DADT gone, but on top of a bad deal he made with the Sec of Defense, he wants to keep it from the Roberts-Alito-Thomas Axis of Assholes who will say the law is constitutional. Congress does need to remove the law so there is no chance for it to live on…but I think its too late as it should have been done before the elections next month. Does he have the balls to force congress to do it during their lame duck session — not on your life.

  34. Fenrox says

    That is disgusting Andy, So Obama can’t be concerned with gay youth? He deserves a little criticism before HE contributes to a wonderful project?

    Thanks for refusing to be classy. I can’t wait to be a dick when you record YOUR “It gets better” video.

  35. jpeckjr says

    @Chris, thanks for your comments. Like you, I wasn’t bullied, really, at all, just knew I wasn’t quite like the other kids, and they knew it, so I was excluded from any number of aspects of high school life. I considered suicide a few times myself.

    Gerald Ford was president when I came out. President Obama is the first President to directly address gay teens in a supportive way. That is progress. For God’s sake, people, when I came out in 1976, I was breaking the law.

    I’ve begun to think “It Gets Better” is not the best name for this project, though.

    Maybe the name should be “You Get Stronger.”

  36. Robert says

    Sorry Obama….I’ve had enough Kool Aid!

    You think any of us are going to believe what you say…..your action speak much much louder than this bullshit.

    There’s nothing you could say or do at this point that would ever put me back in your camp.

    Give me my money back and my vote back.

    I’m a gay vet and a retired school teacher that had one of my 13 year old students shoot himself in the head because he was so tortured by other kids and society.

    Too late…..and way to little asshole.

  37. Chitown Kev says

    Thank you, Mr. President.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have issues with President Obama; serious issues, but still, in some moments it’s best simply to leave all of that on the roadside for a moment and be gracious and classy.

    Thank you, Mr. President.

    Now about… :)

  38. empirical says

    Bullying is not just negative words or physical violence it is also denying rights to a group of people. I believe that if you are in a position to extend rights to someone and deny doing so, you are a bully.

  39. says

    It is quite possible to appreciate President Obama’s message on bullying while still taking exception to his policies and/or the way he’s carrying out his policies and promises.

    Republican political leaders aren’t making videos supporting gay youths because they don’t believe anyone has a right to be gay, much less have civil rights. Republican political leaders believe that even mentioning anti-gay bullying is buying into some radical gay “agenda.” So, to those who would prefer to be openly hated by Republicans in office, be careful what you wish for. The right-wing/evangelical message of hate and denial will not help gay youths.

    This, like the one made by Hillary (who, mysteriously, gets much more support here, though her public views represent the Obama administration), are positive messages. It doesn’t mean we can’t push them to do better. In fact, it gives us more reason to say, thank you for the kind words, now we would like to see actions to match the words so that gay youths can grow up as equal citizens.

  40. Dennis says

    It gets better.

    And what, Mr. President, are you doing to make it “get better?”

    Not that I consider you to be an obstructionist hypocrite.

    I’m profoundly disappointed with you, Mr. President. But, I still like you a hell of a lot more than John McCain.

  41. says

    Did this remind anybody else of this scene from “Mars Attacks?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJYhw3C_ArQ

    For those of you defending the president, what has changed is not him, but the culture. This is an act of political ass-covering, not courage. It’s designed to the president look less hostile to gay people while defending his right to fire us for our sexual orientation. It’s not for us– it’s designed to keep straight liberals from sympathizing with us. It’s meant to make us look like jerks for protesting him.

    That said, it is amazing that culture has changes so much that a President would find it politically expedient to make a message like this.

    But we made that happen. This guy has fought us every step of the way.

    We know you don’t think it’s okay to bully gay people, sir. What we demand from you is not immediate results but an immediate recognition that we are citizens of the United States and that it is not just nasty but unconstitutional to act like we aren’t. We demand that you act like you believe we are your equals. We demand that you believe it.

  42. Joey Y says

    @BRIDGEVIEW, All the “heartfelt messages” in the damn world won’t make me able to marry my boyfriend of several years, nor will it make teachers step in and DO anything. We need a Roosevelt, not a Carter, and as far as I’m concerned, Obama and Jarret and the whole lot of them can “lifestyle choice” themselves to hell.

  43. says

    If George W. Bush did an “it gets better” video, it might reach a few terrified teenagers but everyone on this website would still recognize his complicity in fostering the climate in which homophobia and bullying prosper. Yet a number of posters seem eager to excuse President Fierce Advocate from his role in this tragedy. No one can argue that lgbt rights in general or protecting gay teens in particular is a priority of his. He does not believe our relationships are equal to his own and opposes equal marriage rights on purported religious grounds. His administration’s briefs defending DOMA are vicious and compare our relationships with incestuous ones. He has continued to enforce DADT when he did not have to and used no political capital to eliminate it. Indeed he has opposed the injunction against its enforcement, stating that having to admit gay soldiers would “irreparably injure” military readiness. (And don’t believe the bullshit that his administration had to defend the constitutionality of DOMA and DADT) He has not used his bully pulpit to move ENDA forward. His supposed sop to the lgbt community–the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Act–has resulted in 0 prosecutions(including of the bullies). He gives pride of place at his inauguration to the homobigot Rich Warren, relegating Bishop Robinson to a minor, second stage role. One has to look to his tier 3 appointments before one finds an out lgbt person who could be a role model to youth. Having told members of the community that we need to hold his feet to the fire, when we try to, he calls us “whiners” and his representatives bombard national media with the meme that we don’t understand how the law or politics works. Do the Obama admirers not think that any of this has created the climate that leads so many lgbt youth to feel vulnerable and unsafe, that reinforces the indifference and inaction of the schools and the hostility of the churches and that emboldens the bullies?

  44. AERES says

    As strong of a supporter of Hillary as I am – even I don’t think the President should be faulted for recording a message after her.

    I’d like to believe that the timing of their respective messages – in this instance – have nothing to do with one another – and entirely to do with their respective schedules.

    On a different note – its good to see this issue getting some attention. Its long overdue.

    Unfortunately its only a matter of time before some child beauty pagent contestant or spring breaker in the Bahamas goes missing – then the media will spend countless hours obsessing over that one life, while countless others continue to flicker out due to pervasive hatred and bigotry.

  45. justiceontherocks says

    He came out against bullying. Now there’s an example of leadership.

    I don’t mind the video, but Jimmy Carter II is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  46. Raf says

    I’m not the biggest Obama supporter, but he deserves credit to reaching out to gay youth. I would have loved to have heard a message like this growing up, but Clinton didn’t really reach out nor neither did the Bushes. He’s far from perfect, but this is a tremendous voice of support to our young brothers and sisters.

  47. says

    “If George W. Bush did an “it gets better” video, it might reach a few terrified teenagers but everyone on this website would still recognize his complicity in fostering the climate in which homophobia and bullying prosper.”

    Has George W. Bush done an “it gets better” video? Has any Republican political leader? IF they followed in Hillary and Obama’s footsteps and spoke out against gay bullying, I would applaud their message while remaining firmly against their policies on gay rights (and everything else). Words are never enough, but they help.

    The fact is, under a right wing administration or Congress, the tone of homophobia would be much worse, the tone of tolerance towards gay youth completely absent. That doesn’t mean that the current administration bears no responsibility for societal homophobia; it just means he’s not solely responsible. I will stay harshly critical of the Obama administration as long as they don’t fulfill their campaign promises and don’t support full equality for LGBT citizens; I’m sure they fully expect us to remain critical of them. But messages of tolerance–however incomplete–are a lot better for gay youth than the messages of open hostility, dismissal, and hatred expressed by the right.

    The truth is virtually no one on this forum is giving the President a pass for his actions. Some of us are simply unwilling to write off the most pro-gay President we are going to have until at least 2016. Knocking even positive messages from the most supportive major political party we have isn’t helping gay youths.

  48. says

    A suicidal teen probably reads this blog and had read this post. And what he gets from you is that the “It Gets Better” message by the leader of the free world is insignificant because you want to politicize the issue.

    Some things are better left with rhetoric taken down a notch.

  49. Tigerama says

    I love how if a person disagrees with you, you call them names. Very mature.

    I have supported Obama – I no longer do. I will not be voting for him again. I was discharged from the military for being gay. I have earned my opinion and do not need to justify it. My belief is that unless a clear, actual message is ever sent, no gay is going to take civil rights issues seriously, and no politician will ever see us as a political ally or a cause to be championed. Even if it meant four more years of Republican Hell, I’d prefer that if it meant people would finally wake the hell up. No it hasn’t happened before – it does not mean it can’t happen yet. Please do whatever you wish with your vote for whatever reasons you feel secure in – and I won’t have to call you names if I disagree.

  50. says

    Ernie, I assume you know I wasn’t defending GWB, but in case there was any doubt, I think he was the worst president in U.S history, which is saying a lot. I also think that the Republican Party makes gay bashing its lead fundraising strategy and has blood on its hands for the resulting harm to lgbt people. Democrats promise better, as well they should since lgbt constituents are a stslwart part of the Party’s base and provide huge dollars, gotv foot soldiers and votes. Obama in particular promised to be not just better than a Republican, but our “fierce advocate” and made specific promises on dadt, enda, doma and the like, none of which have been kept. Indeed, his administration has done much to keep these noxious laws in place. The only reason you call him the “most pro-gay president we are going to have at least until 2016, is because the altenative is a Republican. You (and Jake who follows) seem to feel good rhetoric serves some purpose even if actions do not follow (or indeed contradict the rhetoric). I disagree but hope on this specific issue I am wrong, because I want lgbt suicides to stop. It reminds me though of when someone says “mistakes were made”, implying they were not responsible, when they were. While Jake will see this as further “politicizing” this politician’s tactics, I think the video is a scrap to suggest lgbt support at a time when the administration is taking lumps for overturning the stay of dadt and its spokesperson’s “life style” comments and an effort to quiet an angry and disappointed constituency as we go into mid-terms.
    Jake, it’s interesting that you use the phrase “leader of the free world.” Can you think of any lgbt issue Obama has led on? Can you think of any lgbt freedom that has grown on his watch. As to the world, are you content that in 2010, gay people have full marriage rights in Portugal, Argentina, South Africa, Canada, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, etc, while we have no protection whatsoever for our relationships under federal law or that gay people can serve openly in the militaries of tens of countries but not in our own? To paraphrase your last line, some rights are better won when we insist on action to match rhetoric.

  51. BMF says

    I am not surprised that the President does this and people, who’ve never met the man, KNOW that he did it as part of political pandering. It can’t possibly be that he actually DOES care about the issue.

    I mean at a time when the Tea Partiers have so much traction, I think the smartest thing to do would’ve have been to stay silent. His statement isn’t going to change the position of the gays that are angry with him. And, speaking about LGBT youth could provide even more energy to the part of the electorate that’s opposed to him. If I were him and just thinking about politics, I might have just stayed silent.

    Bottom line, I have no idea why he did it. I am, however, glad he did.

  52. Husky14620 says

    I tried to comment on YouTube, but it wouldn’t take. Not a big surprise.

    Too bad I don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth. As PistolPetey said, “Actions speak louder than words.” If Obama wants to make it better, he can stop appealing our court defeats of DADT and DOMA, stop letting the Repugs and TeaBags define the agenda and discourse, stop allowing the groups that trashed our economy to continue controlling it, and start acting like the leader of the free world, instead of cowering behind bipartisanship and Wall Street.

    I’m not voting on any major party line in the upcoming election. Where I want the Dem to beat the Repug, I’ll vote on a second party endorsement, rather than the Dem line, and in many cases, I’ll actually be voting for third and fourth party candidates instead. The ones who REALLY want to help, not just give lip service for our votes. I expect more than a cheap blow job for my vote this year.

  53. AJ says

    I’m getting tired of the sentiment behind this “It Gets Better” thing. It’s not okay to tell these kids that they just need to sit back and endure torture and harassment with their bright shining eyes pointed toward a better future. There needs to be a new campaign called “Make it better NOW”. Why should LGBT teens have it any worse than anyone else in school? They have the right to a safe place for learning just like everyone else. If Obama really feels this way and has his heart int he right place he would put some Safer Schools policies in place. Bullying of ANYONE is unacceptable. Put your policies where your mouth is, Mr. President. We have a right to expect more of you than we did of the previous nightmare of an administration.

  54. Jerry says

    As I read some of the comments from the Obama kool-aid drinkers on this thread, I’m astonished at how easily they’re taken in. Their gullibility is shocking. This is a president who has sent out one sleaze-bag spokeshole after another (Valerie Jarrett the most recent) to try to explain the president’s silence, inaction, and outright backtrack on pledges and promises he made two years ago!! THIS MAN CANNOT BE TRUSTED.

    ACTION – NOT WORDS- ARE WHAT’S NEEDED.

  55. says

    So, if he tries to use the “bully pulpit” (ironic no?) to do some good for us, it doesn’t matter, it’s not good enough. If he puts the repeal of DADT into the Defense Authorization Bill (which, btw, is a “must pass”), it’s not good enough.

    According to some of you, it doesn’t get better.

    Luckily, more at risk kids will hear the President’s words than yours.

  56. Philippe Landman says

    Ha!!!!
    It get’s better?
    Is that the best you can do, mr. “Leader of the free world”?

    Don’t you think these kids, some of whom have been driven to the edge of the abyss, deserve something more concrete to hold on to?

    How about: “I will do my damnedest to make it better!!!

  57. bobbyxtc says

    I am so disappointed on Obama’s promises vs. real action. But come on, why is there not more outrage over the Republicans who have blocked every single civil rights that the gay community deserves. He has not been the champion we elected, but he is NOT the enemy. I thought his message was sincere.

  58. Lez says

    What is is about you guys – he is your president and he does not make the laws he may sign the law in to place but as far as I know unless you have a dictatorship going on there in the US he is not to blame. How about you get off your arse (English) and go and kick so ass (American) of your own – figuratively not physically that is.

    Just to see something like the “It gets better” campaign take off like it has fills me with hope but your are up against a mighty foe with the un-Christian Christians you have with all that money.

  59. says

    David G, I know you weren’t defending Bush. And I know all the promises President Obama has not yet kept. I have no trouble criticizing him for that; he deserves it.

    So we agree, actions matter. He must do more.

    When I say Obama is the most pro-gay President we will have until 2016, I’m not being political. Unless something very unexpected happens, it’s simply fact. I think there are more constructive ways of working with him than writing him off. And I do think words matter. They aren’t just window dressing. His and Hillary’s videos set a tone of tolerance that we would not have under a GOP administration. Under a GOP administration, anti-gay intolerance would be more than just inaction–the bully pulpit would be directly used to tell LGBT youth that their lives are wrong. I think the distinction between our 2 major parties (the only ones with any power currently) is lost on some people–not necessarily you–who only see what this administration hasn’t done. I believe a tone of tolerance is an important step towards LGBT freedom. Dan Savage’s measured thoughts on the video are similar to my own.

    But, at the same time, I believe we must continuing demanding action from those who claim to be on our side. And we must marginalize right-wing Republicans who too often get a pass because everyone expects them to be hateful. Perhaps I’m more respectful of Dem’s than some on here because the Dem’s in my state were heroes on gay issues, particularly marriage equality; with a lot of lobbying over many years, they came thru for us in VT, bigtime. It never would have happened under conservative leadership.

  60. Sean says

    I have to disagree with bridgeview. I liked most of what the president had to say with the exception of who to turn to. Most LGBT youth do not have others that they can turn to, not even their parents. I do not think Obama gets that.

    I also do not think President Obama sees the disconnect between his comments and his administration’s actions. His lack of support for gay marriage, and the fact that he won’t stop fighting the courts on Don’t Ask Don’t tell just reinforces our status as second class citizens.

  61. says

    This is nice, but it is important to keep a sense of perspective. Very few queer youth will ever see this video. On the other hand, most queer youth will find out about the news stories where Obama is fighting in court to keep the military ban. Which message is the main one queer youth will get?

    This video is mostly meant to make queer adults feel better and keep voting for Democrats.

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