It gets better… for everyone.

So there’s this thing.  I feel like this argument has been done before.  The idea is that when we focus on the problems of one group we must, necessarily be abandoning the interest of this other group (which is typically nebulous and may or may not even be real).

But for every one that commits suicide for that cause, there are–is it dozens, is it scores, I don’t know the exact stats how it breaks down–but a whole lot more kids who commit suicide for other reasons, we never hear about them in the news! We don’t hear national campaigns about them!

Setting aside the fact that nobody will stop him if he wants to set up a suicide prevention or anti-bullying campaign for any group (real or imaginary) that he wants to, this dichotomy is false.  The It Gets Better project is, at the core, about support for LGBT kids.  However the very act of providing this support does something else.  It stands up to bullies who aim to silence and ostracize these kids- it can’t help but do that just by existing.

We (humans) don’t always stand up to bullies.  I, personally, am an awful coward.  In this I am certainly not alone.  But in the event that we show some courage and do stand up, standing up can have reach beyond our initial purpose.  Stand up to someone who bullies gay kids and you might be standing up to someone who bullies nerds.  Stand up to someone who bullies gay kids and you might be standing up to someone who bullies girls, or atheists, or poor kids, or poets, or scientists, or writers.  Bullies are typically not specialists, and putting them in their place benefits everyone who is different in any way- which is all of us.

None of this is to say that collateral benefits are the only reason to try to protect LGBT kids from bullies.  Kids are worth protecting in and of themselves (and frankly, if you are trying to pull out stats that say LGBT kids don’t get the worst of it, citation is desperately needed).  But even if you are seriously twisted enough to whine about people who actually bothered to get down to brass tacks and help one particular group of kids- take heart.  When it gets better for them, it gets better for everyone.

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One Response to It gets better… for everyone.

  1. a coward says:

    I’m not sure I can agree that bullies aren’t specialists only because that would imply that any one bully is an equal-opportunity bully, when it’s far more likely that they’re likely to bully certain types over others, generally the “weaker” in some fashion, including LGBT kids.

    However, the argument that you linked is very much so a horribly flawed one, and I agree that when it gets better for [the bullied, specifically LGBT kids], it gets better for everyone. I really have nothing else to add to this.

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