ONTD Political

Stephen Colbert (Out of Character): 'It Gets Better'

10:30 am - 07/21/2011
He might be a little late to the game, but Stephen Colbert has uploaded a video message to the It Gets Better Project's YouTube channel.
The project, which was started last fall by writer Dan Savage in response to a wave of very public LGBT youth suicides, has had a bunch of comedian contributors, but it's good to see Colbert drop character for a minute and use his mass appeal to reach out to his younger fans.



Source HuffPO
barnbat 22nd-Jul-2011 05:49 am (UTC)
Lots of bullied straight guys are violently assaulted and sometimes that can lead to death. That's based on research statistics and my personal experience. I knew lots of straight guys in school who had their asses beaten badly by gangs of other straight guys. The gay boys who everyone knew were gay got harassment but not those kind of violent beat downs, although they kept out of the path of assholish guys as much as possible and stuck with female friends. The threat of random violence hung over guys who looked different, seemed weak, or any sort of gender non-comformance like weird long hair and those categories included lots of straight guys.

Figures on male/male sexual assaults are difficult because the stigma means it is really under reported, and straight guys are less likely to report when they've been victim of that kind of assault than gay ones.
mswyrr 22nd-Jul-2011 05:58 am (UTC)
...

I don't even.
mswyrr 22nd-Jul-2011 06:06 am (UTC)
Setting aside the question of beatings and whether straight boys beating the hell out of straight boys is different/less likely than straight boys beating on gay kids, I specified murder and rape in my original comment, things specifically targeted at gay kids.

To pick one example, recently a young man was shot by a schoolmate. It was a hate crime. And people asked "oh, was the murdered kid doing something? Was he bothering the straight murderer?"

You don't fucking see that happening among straight boys and you certainly don't see people saying "oh, BUT HOW WAS IT THE VICTIM'S FAULT?"

When a straight boy like Colbert talks about standing up to a bully, he's speaking as someone who, as a bullied kid, was far far far far FAR less likely to get MURDERED.

FFS
barnbat 22nd-Jul-2011 06:43 am (UTC)
Do you actually have academic research that shows LGBTQ kids are murdered and raped more than straight ones? I find it highly doubtful gay boys are raped more than straight girls, for instance. Or that lesbians are murdered more than straight boys what with males being the most frequent recipients of male non-sexual violence according to the research I've seen.

Beyond that, restricting things to murder and rape ignores that most of the time, as with Matthew Shepard, kid on kid bullying killings are of the manslaughter variety where violence like beating results in death without necessarily specific intention to cause death. It also ignores that there is a broad range of serious physical and sexual interference bullied kids are subject too, and that very few bullying cases gay or straight involve the very most extreme forms like murder.

People DO ask questions like that when a boy is straight. They assume there must have been some motive so they ask what he might have been doing, and especially think he might have been pulling something if he looked poor or weird. Moreover, with straight guys authorities tend to laugh or shrug off violence as "boys will be boys". One of my best friends, a totally peaceful sweet little straight guy, was attacked alone outside of a high school dance and beaten so badly he has a permanent boot mark above his lip. He went to the police and it went absolutely nowhere even though he could identify the guys for them, and he was upset that the police were incredibly dismissive.

Dan Savage who started the IGB campaign has said his highly intelligent nerdy straight brother was bullied far worse than he was in school. Dan wasn't able to explain his own situation to their parents or church, but his brother got worse abuse at school.

Colbert's friend could have been murdered. He was announcing he was gay. Nerdy kids are already perceived by bullying kids as possibly gay. Being gay perceived has the same sort of results whether a guy is actually gay in fact or not.
mswyrr 22nd-Jul-2011 06:58 am (UTC)
I'm not saying that horrible, inexcusable violence don't happen to straight boys who are bullied. I'm saying that bullying is simply more dangerous in general for people who don't have straight privilege.

I find it highly doubtful gay boys are raped more than straight girls, for instance.

Even if young gay men are raped at a similar level as young straight girls, that's still hugely higher than straight young men.

It is kind of terrifying me that you don't get that people who are LGBTQ and women are in more danger of being killed and raped by straight men than other straight men.

I do not currently have fucking academic studies to cite, I am terribly sorry. I thought the really basic fact that hate crimes are, you know, a big fucking deal was obvious.
mswyrr 22nd-Jul-2011 07:38 am (UTC)
And what academic studies are you citing exactly besides anacdata and unnamed sources?

I've never seen anything to suggest gay youths are raped by their peers at anything even remotely resembling the rate of straight girl youths. Not in crime statistics or victimization studies.

So suggesting that I was saying the rates were higher for gay youths was a strawman argument, then?
barnbat 22nd-Jul-2011 08:32 am (UTC)
Anecdotes and facts drawn from findings of sociological research findings, victimization reports and crime statistics are SOMETHING even if they aren't a compendium of individual citations. You are providing literally nothing but preconceptions. You are even giving the impression that you think nothing more than preconceptions should be expected of a person in a debate about the features and handling of a social phenomenon.

So suggesting that I was saying the rates were higher for gay youths was a strawman argument, then?

No, just that (1) evidence based reasoning and argument is good, and (2) your pronouncement that LGBTQ kids are raped and murdered more than straight kids as a broad category is dubious as it stands and represents a peculiar narrow focus on two specific extreme crimes that don't appear to figure in most school bullying experiences straight or gay.

Beyond that, assessing the number of gay and straight boys raped by straight peers is problematic. Many gay males do not identify as gay at that age or even later in life. The boys have no real way to know the sexuality of assaulters for sure. "Rape" is usually thought of as bodily penetration, but there have been many cases of bullies sexual assaulting victims with objects and that is obviously sexually violent and highly traumatic. As said previously, male rape is very under reported, and even more so by straight victims.

What we started talking about was the video anyway. There was lots of possibility for something really violent and shitty to happen to those young men in Colbert's story. Maybe just because one of them was challenging dominance by getting confrontational. Maybe because they were perceived as gay, which comes under the hate crime category. The guys who are bullying them don't know they are straight, especially since one of them is declaring he isn't, so "straight privilege" isn't really relevant when talking about the potential dire physical consequences for them.
mswyrr 22nd-Jul-2011 10:38 am (UTC)
You are providing literally nothing but preconceptions.

You're providing, if I recall correctly, anecdotes from your life and an anecdote you've heard reported to you from the life of one Dan Savage. Also, you mentioned studies that you left unnamed.

My preconceptions are based on my own anecdotal evidence and on the fact that trends of power and privilege indicate in general who is considered more available to abuse within a society and who is not. Behavior tends to follow privilege, in my experience and in studies I've read about things like rape statistics. I don't believe there's a biological reason why far more women are raped by men than men are raped by women, for instance. It's cultural. It's historical. It's about social power and narratives of worthiness.

My knowledge that violence follows privilege in this way combined with my own anecdotal experience convinces me that, in the case of gay men, because they are in an oppressed minority and because they're associated with "femininity," their likelihood of danger from rape is higher.

The guys who are bullying them don't know they are straight, especially since one of them is declaring he isn't, so "straight privilege" isn't really relevant when talking about the potential dire physical consequences for them.

I'm not talking about that specific moment. I'm talking about Stephen Colbert, as a man who's grown up and spent the majority of his life with straight privilege--both the social privilege and the privilege of having his feelings and desires match up with his outward performance, a privilege that someone who is gay and closeted does not have--he's speaking to kids who are in danger in a way that, barring one moment, he is not and never was imo and giving advice from his position of comparative safety.
barnbat 22nd-Jul-2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
You aren't providing anecdotal examples even. You are providing no evidence at all. Dan Savage is someone in a good position to know about the experience of being a gay boy, and he designed the whole initiative and was explaining its logic and purpose. In mentioning his brother's ongoing situation and their relative bullying levels he was talking about the fact he knows straight kids also face severe bullying and it's the circumstances outside of school that really motivated the campaign.

Your statements have huge flaws in terms of social science. You are dealing with the idea of murder and rape rates far far too broadly and then extrapolating wildly from your impression of what those rates might be. In the first place, once someone is dead they can't tell you their sexual orientation and many gay youth are closeted so knowing how many murdered kids are gay is difficult. Further, many murdered and raped people aren't murdered or raped by their age mates, so even if you could tell how many gay kids had been murdered or raped in a year it wouldn't be safe to assume those murders or rapes had been performed by their school peers. A lot of people are murdered or raped by family members, family friends, dates, sexual hook ups from the internet, and life partners for example. Gay kids are way over represented among homeless youth and it is common for homeless gay youth to resort to prostitution to survive. Both the homeless and prostitutes have elevated rates of murder and rape victimization.

The video was about that specific moment, and you were talking about that specific moment when you said Colbert and his friend were acting without allegedly being at the same rape and murder risk. We don't know Colbert's friend wasn't gay. The bully couldn't know either one of them weren't gay. We don't know the bully wasn't gay and bullying to cover it up. Looked at from another view, the bully was at some risk of death himself considering that aggrieved kids who feel bullied have been known to show up with a gun and commit mass murder at school sometimes.

Colbert can't relate to having suppressed sexual feelings like that, but he was reaching out to kids about the part he CAN relate to which is what most human beings do when they are trying to offer support. He has experienced being bullied and it included homophobic behavior directed against him and friends of his, and from that and his perspective looking back on it he has some insights that may be of use to other people being bullied. He's not claiming his own experience matches theirs in every way and every level.
barnbat 22nd-Jul-2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
And there are some gay people who are able and willing to pass as straight in school and are privileged to have traits like good looks and strong athletic ability that would allow them to avoid the sort of bullying Colbert was victim to. Colbert would be better situated to understand the experience of being bullied and talk about dealing with it than some gay people, although not situated to understand the experience of being gay.

There's more than one sort of privilege, and sometimes people can personally relate with only part of another person's pain regardless of whether they belong to a same group.

It's good to have a wide variety of videos kids can sift through to find whatever speaks to them and whoever they want to hear from.
barnbat 22nd-Jul-2011 07:36 am (UTC)
I'm saying that bullying is simply more dangerous in general for people who don't have straight privilege.

Based on what? If a straight kid is beaten, sexually assaulted or killed that kid is beaten, sexually assaulted or killed. You haven't backed up anything with evidence, and "straight privilege" was no help to my straight friend in his attack or when the police were shrugging the whole thing off as another amusing "boys will be boys" incident.

Even if young gay men are raped at a similar level as young straight girls, that's still hugely higher than straight young men.

I've never seen anything to suggest gay youths are raped by their peers at anything even remotely resembling the rate of straight girl youths. Not in crime statistics or victimization studies.

It is kind of terrifying me that you don't get that people who are LGBTQ and women are in more danger of being killed and raped by straight men than other straight men.

You are making "factual" pronouncements based on your assumptions and preconceptions with no apparent evidence at all and getting pissed off if everyone doesn't just go along with it. THAT is terrifying, and it leads to lots of bad things in a society when people operate like that.

You are confusing two different things. Hate crimes aren't important because hate crime groups are victimized more than non-hate crime groups, and they aren't serious because the assaults against individuals who are members of hate crime groups are more numerous or grievous. Hate crimes are so important, serious and distinct because of the nature of the crimes and intent involved. They are motivated by a specific malice towards the group and with an intent to terrorize the entire group which makes them an violent action against a whole category of people and give them an extra layer of gravity.
mswyrr 22nd-Jul-2011 07:48 am (UTC)
... I replied to your original post of this comment, which you inexplicably deleted.

I just... wtf.
barnbat 22nd-Jul-2011 08:33 am (UTC)
I deleted it because once posted I noticed one of my sentences was fucked up.
mswyrr 22nd-Jul-2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
My point is that LGBT kids are, overall, in a riskier situation re: having to fear the people bullying them will kill or rape them. In the same way that LGBT people are at more risk for crimes like that as adults. The position of the other person is that that is just not so.

Neither one of us has studies to cite, so... it's unspeakably pointless.

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