Posted by: Catherine Lugg | October 22, 2010

Obama, “It gets better”

So, President Obama has finally cut a 3-minute clip for “It gets better.”

Things might get better, but it won’t be because his administration has done a god damned thing to protect queer kids. This is the moment when the “It gets better” campaign has dissolved into a heartwarming and SAFE Hallmark greeting card for non-queer consumption. Check out President Obama’s lightly lavender tie: A washed out color for washed out queer support. HOW symbolic.

And please notice what he didn’t say: No call for passing any pending legislation. No calls for any new legislation. As I said on October 3:

Yup, he’s horrified too. But there’s no call for ANY tangible changes in federal education policy to ensure the bullying, harassment and abuse STOP, and that districts and states actually track this specific form of anti-queer bias. … they’re NOT going to do ANYTHING for US queer kids in public schools who are being harassed, bullied, beaten and driven to suicide.


If Obama and company weren’t gutlessly homophobic, they’d use these horrifying deaths as a “policy window” (see John Kingdon’s work) to DRIVE the legislation through Congress. They’d be holding educational summits on anti-queer bias in public educational settings, appointing high-profile blue ribbon commissions to investigate, making speeches around the country, and Obama himself would be calling members of the House and Senate, twisting arms to make the Safe Schools Improvement Act law.

But that would demand that Obama put his Presidential Prestige (TM), on the line for queer kids. Nope, not going to happen. As I noted on September 26:

Yup, there’s your fierce urgency of now in action folks. Kids will continue to literally swing from the rafters with Obama as US President. Because in this administration’s world, it’s politically BETTER to be a dead queer kid (or one who is perceived to be queer) than to be a queer kid who is actually counted in a federal education data base.

It’s just so much safer to put on a lavender tie and spout safe nostrums about bullying for the video cameras. Gee, thanks! I feel SO much better, Mr. President. Glad to know you care.

Hat tip: AMERICAblog gay:



  1. Exactly my thoughts. What an empty message from a gutless man. There’s an old adage that comes to mind when I think of him: “When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody.” I’m afraid that might be his legacy.

  2. I agree. Sympathetic words alone don’t create long lasting change. Unfortunately, neither does wearing purple while you say those words. I’m amazed by the broad calls for “hang in there” when there should be no need to “just survive” your mandatory time in schools in the first place.

    But this might help:

    Maybe a lot more resource providing and a lot less generalized rhetoric? Just a thought.

  3. I’m afraid it’s gotten beyond safe – it’s now fashionable. We’re the new breast cancer campaign. : ( What a world.

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