Home > Bullying, Gay Pride > It gets better

It gets better

[Featured comment by Ragtime.]

Among the candidates who attended the “Stand Up to Youth Suicide” rally at the Courthouse Friday were Bonnie Neely, Virginia Bass, and Allison Jackson. The crowd was very large. Hundreds of people driving their cars past the Courthouse honked their horns in support. Only one yelled a negative remark.

Speakers addressed young people now living in hellish isolation and fear because they are being bullied due to their real or perceived differences from the norm. Speakers shared our own stories of the suffering we had endured – and the personal triumphs that had followed when we made the choice NOT to end our lives.

People listening there were both those who have been targets of bullying and those who are coming out now as allies of the bullied. The speakers urged the listeners to do something, take some action, to help get the message out to the young people who are most at risk. We learned that [gay] high school students are 4x more likely to be bullied than their straight peers and that LGBTQ kids from families where they are loved for who they are commit suicide 8x less often.

This problem is affecting some kids right now in our own Humboldt County schools. All children and teachers need to be taught not to look the other way when bullying happens. They need to realize that bullying can be as devastating in elementary and middle school as it is in high school.

Unless more people encourage all youth and all teachers and administrators (and dare I say all parents?) to become “peacemakers” we will continue to see the lives of vulnerable young people made into a living hell. The price society pays for damning these kids to loneliness and isolation can affect them for the rest of their lives – damaging their ability to trust and communicate with others – and so, damaging our society by cutting it off from the creativity and energy these young people should by rights be able to offer the world at large.

I said it can damage kids for the rest of their lives. But it does not have to steal their happiness from them.

Even for kids who are living in despair right now, whether they hear this message on YouTube or from a friend, parent, teacher, coach, or fellow-student, I hope they hear this message:

Whether you find your strength to overcome the bullies within yourself or by asking for the help of others, you can have a better life than what you have had so far. It gets better. Much better. Please keep yourself safe. There is a world of people you will eventually find who respect you for who you are.

And remember, that applies to you whether you have been bullied and tormented because you are LGBTQ or perceived to be LGBTQ – or whether you have been bullied and tormented because of any real or perceived difference between you and the bullies.

Your life is precious. There is only one of you in the world. You are here not just for one reason, but for many, many reasons. People who you haven’t even met yet will look to you for advice some day, maybe even about how you survived the bullying that today seems to overwhelm your life. So have faith in yourself and the future, please!

[Photos by Richard “Rick” Khamsi. For more info see itgetsbetterproject.com.]

  1. Anonymous
    October 11, 2010 at 8:03 am

    The term ” LGBTQ ” is is really getting too PC and out of hand. When it comes to youth, are there really any that are “T” ?

  2. Friend of a Friend
    October 11, 2010 at 8:11 am

    I know a family with a boy in an upper elementary grade in this county who, since toddlerhood, has wanted to dress like a girl. So far the family has prevented this at school, except on Halloween. Any resources you can point me to for them would be appreciated. The parents are supportive of their son, but unsure how to deal with the situation in public.

  3. October 11, 2010 at 8:16 am

    When it comes to youth, are there really any that are “T” ?


  4. Anon.
    October 11, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Yes, there are T’s in elementary school.
    How dare Virginia get on the band wagon when she has voted against Gay rights. A person that would step that low would even say she is a Democrat when she isn’t.

  5. Goldie
    October 11, 2010 at 8:59 am

    The rally was very inclusive. Bullying is a serious problem, an issue the entire community needs to be aware of. Any child or person can become the target. Children who are ‘too’ smart, ‘too’ short or tall, ‘too’ thin or heavy.
    Linda Shapeero lead the rally. She warm and delightful with a most welcoming smile. PFLAG’s facebook page states: PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.
    She provides wonderful resources for anyone suffering from bullying or who has questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. Her email address is eurekapflag@gmail.com . Phone number 707-768-3287.
    Please know, it can get better.

  6. Goldie
    October 11, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I was glad to see Virginia Bass, Bonnie Neely, Mark Lovelace, and Allison Jackson there. Virginia Bass voted against the city taking a stand on Prop 8, saying that she did not feel it was an issue that concerned city politics. Maybe now that she see’s the community support for our valued gay citizens and the harm that is generated when civil rights are not equal under the law she will have a different point of view. She says she gets her information from getting out and talking to folks. There were many people there to talk to. I was very glad to see her at the rally.

  7. Karin Fresne
    October 11, 2010 at 9:22 am

    @ Anonymous – I assure 0 there really are “T”. I’m one of them.

  8. Mitch
    October 11, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Yes. It really does get better — much better.

    If you are a queer kid, the moronic homophobes are just going to be something you’ll have to put up with for now, even if they’re your parents. Think of it as being another hazard, like earthquakes, and feel bad for the bullies, who are trapped by their stupidity. Many of them are probably just scared of their own sexuality.

    Once you are an adult, you can build your life your own way. Instead of trying to please the morons, you can detach from them and meet friends who will love you for what you are. Which is a wonderful, unique person, regardless of your sexuality.

  9. Mitch
    October 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Or, I hasten to add, partly because of it.

  10. Angel
    October 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I wish I’d known about this rally. I would have attended.

    How does one get on the PFLAG or community event email alert list?

  11. Plain Jane
    October 11, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Bullies will find something to focus on regardless of the sexuality of their victim. If they don’t have one group to pick on, they’ll find another or a vulnerable individual. They are sadists.

    October 11, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Was this the first bullying rally in Humboldt like this?

    Just curious.


  13. Goldie
    October 11, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Bullying rally?

  14. Billy
    October 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Send an email to eurekapflag@gmail.com to get information

  15. Linda
    October 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    PFLAG is on Face Book. Just go to PFLAG EUREKA-ARCATA.
    We have a meeting tonight , Oct. 11th at 6:30 P.M at 900 Hodgson St in Eureka in the Social Hall at the First Congregational United Church of Chirst.
    This was the first rally I know of in Humboldt Co against bullying.

  16. Juniper
    October 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I think the rally was over all a success… im glad to bring more awareness to the subject. and to answer the first question, actually yes, i know of quite a few “T”‘s that are pretty young…

  17. Angel
    October 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Linda, next time perhaps you could have Queer Humboldt send news out to all of their email list members. You’d have an even better turnout.

  18. Linda
    October 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Angel, Queer Humboldt was told about the rally and I thought they did send out info. I am so sorry if you didn’t hear about it. I honestly tried to get the word out to EVERYONE and am so sorry if some people did not know.

  19. lgbtds
    October 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    This is just more LGbtg propaganda. If you support gay rights you support my rights to have sex with consenting animals or any other weird shit, hey its just who i am if you have a problem with it then you must have your own problems with your sexuality. having sex with dogs and sheep is perfectly normal and anyone who disagrees is just a biggot moron. im so sick of the haters who dont like what i do. children as young as 12 should be having sex and experimenting with animals if it feels good then its right and if you think otherwise then your probably brainwashed.

  20. FoxStudio
    October 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Since animals and children can’t give consent, then I guess you’ll just have to keep your sticky fingers off them. And anyway, what IS your problem? Besides being really confused. Or was that a (painfully weak) attempt at sarcasm?

  21. John
    October 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Ragtime. Excellent reporting on this rally. Goldie, thanks for your Oct 11 comment at 9:17 AM. I agree with all of it and commend you on recognizing the officials were there. You show that when it comes to the good of all, people should place political feelings aside.
    I just want to clarify one comment. Virginia’s point of view and caring has always been the same. It may just be more obvious to people now. I did not and will not respond to any other comments about Virginia. You and Ragtime showed objectivity and an open mind and I wanted to acknowledge that.

  22. Mitch
    October 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm


    How long have you been wanting to get it on with dogs and sheep, friend? Since you were 12? Is that human years, dog years, or sheep years?

  23. Ragtime
    October 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Goldie was right to point out that “Linda Shapeero lead the rally. She was warm and delightful with a most welcoming smile.” I wish I had included that in my comments about the rally.

    Linda Shapeero encouraged us to be compassionate toward young people and adults who were bullied for other reasons than being LGBTQI.

    Kids and adults are bullied at school and at work for being “different.” Being the “wrong color” or having ADHD or being non-athletic for boys or too athletic for girls, or having disabilities. Or many other reasons. All of these are just excuses for the bullies to torment the people they see as powerless.

    Linda and others who spoke at the rally said we have chosen life over death. And so can the youth of today. We chose not to let the bullies win. And the tormented youth of today can triumph over bullying. We share a common spirit with all people who are or were bullied. All people who are or were made to feel worthless or unloved. And that common spirit is the bridge that can connect ourselves to the hearts of others.

    I believe Linda would agree we who are reaching out in a spirit of love will help ourselves and our world by refusing to make a place in our hearts for hatred.

    I believe when someone tries to provoke us into making angry statements against them, as lgbtds has done, that is sometimes a person who has been as damaged as some of us were. His or her insulting comments may be the only way he or she can reach out to the gay community, as strange as that might seem.

    Let’s leave the door open to the possibility that lgbtds may someday throw off the self-loathing that bullies may have instilled in him or her. Those comments are loathsome, but if we react with hatred, lgbtds will have helped the bullies win by making us return hate for hate. We are better off to throw off hatred and focus instead on the love we must have and share to survive and grow. As I know most of the people posting here do. I am honored to be in such company.

  24. Ragtime
    October 11, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Anyone who missed these amazing wonderful speeches will be able to see them on YouTube in a few days. I’ll ask Heraldo to let everyone know how to find them.

  25. Goldie
    October 11, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    John, You stated that ‘I just want to clarify one comment. Virginia’s point of view and caring has always been the same.’ She stated very clearly on a KHSU interview that she did not feel that Prop 8, Equal Marriage, was a city concern. Has she changed her mind on how the city and county might stand up for the equal rights of everyone? Does she see now that it is a stance that sets an example for the entire community? Everything takes a village and what if the mayor says No, leave the village out of it?
    Within our village are many wonderful and kind people. it does and it will get better! Reach out!

  26. Anonymous
    October 12, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Goldie, You are right. “Within our village are many wonderful and kind people. It does and it will get better! Reach out!” It gets better when we reach out in hope, rather than stay isolated by fear.

  27. Anonymous
    October 12, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Saw Cole Machado there. Wonder how he fits into the whole scene anymore.

  28. Anonymous
    October 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    The Jury will determine Machado’s guilt or innocence.

  29. Angel
    October 12, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Anonymous 5:31, one of the lessons of the event was not to judge people. It’s not you job to size up Cole. The jury will handle the legal process.

    Just what did you learn when you were there?

  30. yeah
    October 13, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I saw cole there. too. I personally have experienced the perversion of Cole from speaking with him. I am a minor and do not appreciate him going to any community happenings or being involved in queer youth happenings. Period. I do not appreciate what he has said to me and some of my young peers.

  31. Angel
    October 13, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Heraldo, the last comment is a threat. Please remove it. It is inappropriate, especially on this post which concerns appropriate (and inappropriate) speech and behavior.

  32. October 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Offending comment deleted.

    October 14, 2010 at 7:57 am


    a goat says, “yee yee yee yee yes” or “n n n n no”.

    That is ok though, I am sure either DA candidate Gags or Jacks will file animal cruelty charges so that social services has a guise to politically molest the situation even more diresome.


  34. Mitch
    October 14, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Bishop Gene Robinson:

  35. Ragtime
    October 14, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Mitch, I saw this last night, a beautiful expression of what the It Gets Better Project has been saying this week.

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