Friday, October 22, 2010

Obama: It gets better

President Obama is the latest high profile figure to speak out against anti-LGBT bullying.

In a video the White House posted to its YouTube channel late on Thursday, Oct. 21, the president sought to dispel “the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage—that it’s some inevitable part of growing up.”

“You are not alone,” he said, speaking directly to victims of anti-LGBT bullying. “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 timeline under which the administration released the video is certainly interesting. The Department of Justice continues to challenge U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillip’s ruling on the constitutionality of the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers. And skeptics maintain the president’s video is a cynical attempt to deflect attention away from a growing public relations disaster over the issue.

Others can opine about whether the administration has or has not done enough to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But the fact the president spoke out against anti-LGBT bullying sends a powerful message that resonates far beyond the LGBT activist fishbowl.

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