Do I respect the intentions of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project and Keshet’s Do Not Stand By pledge? Absolutely. Do I also think that efforts to end LGBT bullying on the ground, efforts that involve actually interacting with teenagers and listening to kids’ stories rather than just talking, and doing the uncomfortable work of addressing homophobia and bias in our own backyards rather than signing on to the notion that hate is bad, might be more effective in terms of saving lives? Also yes. Instead of referring obliquely to unnamed bullies and haters, why not look at what putatively tolerant communities — including YOURS — are doing RIGHT NOW to make LGBT folk fully welcome? Why not go beyond signing a petition saying gay is A-OK? As a parent, do you speak up when you hear your kid or her friend say “that’s so gay”? How many LGBT engagement and wedding announcements has your synagogue bulletin run?
My point in this week’s Tablet magazine column was not to disparage well-meant efforts to help people; it was to encourage us all to ponder how best to save lives.
I have wanted to tell you for years that your article in Sassy about your brother was the first time I ever heard anything positive about a gay person. It made a huge impact on me. I grew up bi in a tiny, conservative central California town, which has recently made the news for yet another gay teen suicide. Thank you very much for writing, then and now.
Karen — thank you.