by Dan Savage
on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 8:33 AM
Holy shit—color me shocked, floored, and grateful. And this is the leader of the Conservative Party in the UK. Try to picture a Republican politician making an IGBP video—not one that I'm aware of has—much less the leader of the GOP.
But I have to say...
David Cameron isn't the first straight politician who has told bullied LGBT kids to go to their parents for support. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi—practically every straight politician who's made an IGBP video has said the same thing: go and ask mom and dad for help.
Between twenty and forty percent of homeless teenagers are LGBT kids and most of these homeless LGBT kids were thrown out of their homes when they came out or were outed to their families. It would be wonderful if all LGBT kids were lucky enough to have parents as supportive as Constance McMillen's are or as mine became. But all too often mom and dad are bullies too—they're usually the chief bullies, the worst bullies, the ones who do the most damage. (For an example of the bullying gay kids endure at the hands of their parents, check this out.)
Bullied LGBT kids should be encouraged to reach out, to find help, to seek support. But that support, sadly, can't always be found at home.
Before we tell vulnerable queer kids to effectively out themselves to mom and dad—telling your parents that you're being bullied at school for being perceived as gay often confirms their "worst" suspicions—we should tell them to take a long, hard look at their parents, assess the risks of coming out, and have a backup/escape plan if mom and dad react poorly.
Because they could—and the consequences of coming out to your parents too soon can be severe.