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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"It Gets Better" Is Not Enough

Posted by on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM

I agree with Rick Mercer:

I have always agreed with Rick Mercer:

The point of the videos is to give despairing kids in impossible situations hope. The point is to let them know that things do get better. For some people things get better once they get out of high school, for others things get better while they're still in high school. And some kids [are] helping to make things better for other kids who are in still high school. But things do get better and kids who are thinking about suicide need to hear that.... Nothing about letting kids know that it gets better excuses or precludes us from doing more. We should press for the Student Non-Discrimination Act, demanding anti-bullying programs, confronting the bigots who are making things worse, or supporting the Trevor Project. But we're not going to get legislation passed this instant or get anti-bullying programs into all schools—particularly private Christian schools—before classes start tomorrow. Doing all of that is going to take years of hard work and dedicated activism. In the meantime, while we work on all of that, we can get messages of hope in front of kids who are crisis right now.

So: yes to that assembly, yes to confronting the kids who abused Jamie Hubley. Since the beginning of the project I've called for bullies to be arrested and prosecuted. If it's a crime for a 16-year-old kid to beat up a little old lady in a shopping mall, it's a crime for for a 16-year-old kid to beat up queer kid in a high school. Parents whose kids are being assaulted need to go to the police first, school administrators second.


Comments (39) RSS

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Sargon Bighorn 1
Dan, you know what would really help, and I think I just might do this, is show up at the PTA meeting of the local school and demand accountability. Gay folk, those with out kids, often feel the PTA is ONLY for parents and teachers. It's for all citizens. Hell Gay folk pay the same property taxes to support schools as others.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on October 26, 2011 at 1:13 PM · Report this
-B- 2
Rick tells it like it is in these segments from his show. Thanks for posting one of his back alley walkabouts. This is a good one.
Posted by -B- on October 26, 2011 at 1:26 PM · Report this
TortoiseTurtle 3
I think his stats are wrong.
"Each day, there are approximately 12 youth suicides." -American Association of Suicidology
Posted by TortoiseTurtle on October 26, 2011 at 1:27 PM · Report this
I'm not sure locking up the bullies is really the strategy we want to pursue.
Posted by RDM on October 26, 2011 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Canucky Yank 5
To the best of my knowledge, Rick Mercer has never said the words "I'm gay" on CBC. He's out in the queer press but never where his little old lady fans in Halifax might see it. Like John Baird, Anderson Cooper and other "don't ask, don't tell" types, the silence leads to a continued persecution.
Posted by Canucky Yank on October 26, 2011 at 1:30 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 6
@4 - Would you propose instead a public beating without trial? That could be problematic.
Posted by MacCrocodile on October 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM · Report this
I agree Dan, and believe bullying that leads to suicide should be charged a hate crime. Short of that, bullies must be ajudicated and their parents held accountable.

Posted by gracey on October 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM · Report this
@4 -- and just out of curiosity, how do you deal with bullies? Rehab programs?
Posted by ankylosaur on October 26, 2011 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 9
When will Seattleblues crash this post w/ a diatribe on how Dan is a liar & a bigot, beating up on all those poor widdle bullies?

I predict it'll be post #25
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on October 26, 2011 at 1:55 PM · Report this
saxfanatic 10
@5: Personally I was always disappointed that Wayne and Schuster never once declared: "We're Straight."
Posted by saxfanatic on October 26, 2011 at 2:17 PM · Report this
Simone 11
I love the graffiti alleyways in Ricks rants.
Posted by Simone on October 26, 2011 at 2:34 PM · Report this
@3 "this country" refers to Canada.
Posted by agony on October 26, 2011 at 2:58 PM · Report this
What a brutally hypocritical rant. I respected Rick Mercer until now. How disappointing. "If you're gay and in public can't be invisible. Not anymore." Sure, Rick, sure. Get off that high fucking horse and show your own colors, hmm?
Posted by LateBloomer on October 26, 2011 at 3:05 PM · Report this
I certainly don't think bullying should be tolerated, but responding to every school yard fist fight with arrests and prosecutions seems like overkill. Would Dan want to see DJ locked up over a scuffle on the play ground?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on October 26, 2011 at 3:09 PM · Report this
Jennifer in Chicago 16
I had this EXACT conversation with a teacher who came to one of our occupy group's assemblies. I've always wanted to go back to the middle school where I was bullied and talk to them.
Posted by Jennifer in Chicago on October 26, 2011 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Vince 19
Kids should have the right to get restraining orders. Let's see a bully deal with that.
Posted by Vince on October 26, 2011 at 4:23 PM · Report this
Why is he walking so much while he talks? Is he going somewhere? It is a silly thing.
Posted by LJM on October 26, 2011 at 4:32 PM · Report this
You're right. Until someone gets killed - or kills themselves. That's when the police should come in. It's not ok to place the blame on the victim, to insinuate that the poor kid couldn't stand normal playground fist-fights. Police should come in so those bullies know it's not just fun and games. If my kid bullied someone to suicide, I'd both think I'd failed as a parent, and if I was so dumb, I think a visit from the police might make me think what we'd been doing wrong.
Posted by =8)-DX on October 26, 2011 at 4:38 PM · Report this
Woah. "If you're gay and in public can't be invisible. Not anymore." That is exactly what Mercer was doing. He, as someone in the public was using their media presence to raise awareness of the issue. Yes, Mercer is gay, but just because he doesn't shout it from the rooftops doesn't make him a hypocrite. His sexuality is his own business. Period. If he would rather base his career around his talent, intellect and political observations and not on his sexuality than he has every right to do so. He is in no way obligated to be Rick Mercer, gay political satirist, as opposed to Rick Mercer, political satirist.
Posted by junelilly82 on October 26, 2011 at 5:51 PM · Report this
Is there anything stopping bully names from being made public? Put up a web site where bully names , phone numbers and addresses can be put up. I was watching Rachel Maddow's show on the bullying of abortion providers (…) and how the guy finally got sick of it and started his own web site called Voice of Choice ( to contact the anti-choice protesters to stop harassing him.

Time we start doing the same thing with the bullies. Post up their addresses - we can go Occupy the sidewalk in front of their houses with stop-the-bullying signs.
Posted by wooflikeabear on October 26, 2011 at 5:53 PM · Report this
runswithnailclippers 24
and for you Americans not aware, look up "talking to americans" and rick mercer on YouTube.
Posted by runswithnailclippers on October 26, 2011 at 6:10 PM · Report this
@5: Rick Mercer has been out for nearly a decade. He's very private about his personal life, but he's hardly a "don't ask, don't tell" type, and he's public about his activism.

You don't have to gush on Oprah or its Canadian equivalent in order to be out.

An interview from 2004 where he discusses being outed in the Globe & Mail, a national newspaper:…

A news article and photo of Mercer demonstrating against Catholic schools refusing to allow gay-straight alliances (note: this is a fully funded Catholic school system in the province of Ontario):…

Posted by MediGeek on October 26, 2011 at 6:46 PM · Report this
How many times does Rick Mercer need to come out?

This is Canada. TV performers don't get asked about their personal lives in interviews - does anyone know who any of his former colleagues from 22 Minutes are dating/married to/living with?

He came out in an interview in the Globe and Mail - a national newspaper. He also spoke about it in Maclean's - a national newsmagazine - but this is still Canada. Do you really think eTalk or ET Canada were going to breathlessly report that Rick Mercer has been partnered with Gerald Lunz for the last 20 years? No one cares if our celebrities are gay because they aren't really celebrities in the first place.

As Mercer said in the article accompanying the video in the Toronto Star when he came out: “There was a big collective shrug. No one cared.”
Posted by RealityBites on October 26, 2011 at 6:51 PM · Report this
@22--I never suggested Rick Mercer base his career on anything. But now that you mention it, yes, his talent etc will do just fine. And I couldn't give a rat's what his sexuality is. But he chose to go on a rant about gay public figures needing to be more open about being gay, so that they can be good role models for depressed and bullied kids--at least, that's how I interpret his comment "you can't be invisible. Not anymore." And fair enough.

But ask your average Canadian, they haven't read some article published in the Globe in 2004, and they probably don't sit around randomly thinking, "I wonder if Rick Mercer is gay? I better look that up on Google." Most people don't know he's gay. Does it matter? According to him in this rant, it does. And the fact that he's haranguing others for being invisible while not mentioning his own sexuality, that's a bit much.
Posted by LateBloomer on October 26, 2011 at 8:28 PM · Report this
@14: I just don't see the basis for your criticism. There's a difference between never having publicly admitted to being gay at all, and simply never mentioning it on his show.

If you want to find Mercer on the record saying he's gay, you need look no further than his It Gets Better video. Even in the Mercer Report clip from 2007 where he first discusses the subject of teen bullying it's clear from the way he jokes about the perks of being gay that is speaking from personal experience. I've thought it was understood he was gay for a long time now, is it really necessary to declare it outright now?
Posted by saphorr on October 26, 2011 at 10:35 PM · Report this
@5, 16/22

Rick Mercer has been openly gay for as long as I can remember. I've stood in the streets of Toronto during the pride parade and watched him ride by on a float in his underwear shooting off his water gun proudly. I don't know what more you expect from the guy. Should he grant the CBC permission to televise the sex he has with his husband? Here's the rant @31 mentions where he clearly describes some experiences he's had as a gay public figure. The man's out. Get over it.…
Posted by Amanda on October 26, 2011 at 11:54 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 33
@28- Does Elton John announce his queerness at every public event? Does Ellen start every show with Hi- I'm a lesbian? Does Neil Patrick Harris share his 'secret' during every broadcast of his sitcom? Even Dan Savage doesn't start every conversation announcing he's a GAY advice columnist.
The same is true for Rick Mercer. Do your homework.
Posted by OutInBumF on October 27, 2011 at 6:40 AM · Report this
OutInBumF 34
I meant @27. Sorry.
Posted by OutInBumF on October 27, 2011 at 6:41 AM · Report this
OutInBumF 35
Nope- @29. I'll never post this early again, promise.
Posted by OutInBumF on October 27, 2011 at 6:44 AM · Report this
-B- 36
Thursday Oct 27th: The Current on CBC radio one: Rick Mercer on Bullying.
Comedian Rick Mercer explains why he believes much of the bullying of young gay people could be prevented if more prominent gay Canadians publicly came out.
Posted by -B- on October 27, 2011 at 8:07 AM · Report this
Hey Dan,
Here's Rick Mercer this morning on CBC's The Current Talking about bulling, his sexuality and the suicide of Jamie Hubley.…
Posted by silvertears on October 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM · Report this
@5: Mercer has certainly been unequivocal about his gayness on CBC now:…
Posted by saphorr on October 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM · Report this

How many times does Rick Mercer have to come out. Here is is on National TV in Canada over a year ago telling a funny story about coming out of the closet. I don't think he appears as someone who is not open about his sexuality.…
Posted by SHPM on October 27, 2011 at 1:39 PM · Report this

How many times does Rick Mercer have to come out? This is a clip of him from a year ago on National TV in Canada. He doesn't seem like he is hiding very much, but really? People think this is hiding his sexuality.

I've heard him tell this joke before on radio and TV…
Posted by SHPM on October 27, 2011 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Huh. Thanks for the link SHPM. I stand corrected, and retract my disappointment. Sorry, Rick. Way too harsh.

But for the record, I met him and his partner one day at work. And whenever I mention this to someone, rather than being awestruck by my famous friends they invariably say: "Really? I never knew he was...." Maybe we all live under the same rock.
Posted by LateBloomer on October 27, 2011 at 6:53 PM · Report this

As a parent I find the supposition that parents would ALLOW bullying just crushing. It sure as he'll isn't that way here (because we know better by experience that given an opportunity, everyone can get along?). In this time of economic insecurity I think it is important to note: taking interest and supporting public education quality is a great way to keep your housing investment value high. Or, to put it another way, "stupid is as stupid does". Everyone loses when this kind of bullshit is ignored.

It makes me wonder what kind of hell the perpetrator is passing along from home.

Posted by Married in MA on October 28, 2011 at 6:57 AM · Report this
Latebloomer, earlier this year I saw The Smurfs with my aunt and afterwards mentioned that NPH was expecting while filming this movie dealing with impending fatherhood. And my aunt asked who his wife was.

If there are people unaware that Neil Patrick Harris is gay, then surely there can be people unaware of Rick Mercer's sexuality. There's a huge segment of the population that isn't remotely interested in the sexual orientation of celebrities.

Canada has a unique attitude towards celebrity. I'll share a story from a few years back. I was at the local butcher, and one of the other customers was Scott Thompson, from The Kids in the Hall. All the customers and staff put on a fine show of ignoring him. Once he'd been served and left, we all started talking about him. One of the employees hadn't recognized him and asked her colleague why she hadn't pointed him out.

Her response: "I was afraid you might say something to him."

My aunt, incidentally, had the same response when I asked her why she hadn't pointed out Malcolm MacDowell to me in a hotel lobby.

This is not a country where it's easy to come out and have anyone notice.
Posted by RealityBites on October 28, 2011 at 8:59 AM · Report this
...and that's a good thing, I figure. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if it turned out Scott Thompson is gay too.

(Joke, people. Stand down.)
Posted by LateBloomer on October 28, 2011 at 11:47 AM · Report this
@29: And what, exactly, do you think he's doing in this video? Sitting on his ass and not saying anything about bullying?

@46: He is? OMFG! Next thing you know, Elton John will come out!
Posted by gromm on October 29, 2011 at 10:50 PM · Report this

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