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Hollow, shallow words

Thu Oct 20, 2011 Miss Vicky 

I have watched this video a couple of times now, with Conservative members of parliament participating in the It Gets Better Campaign. And the more I watch it, the more upset I get. What hollow, shallow words from members of a government that has done absolutely nothing to make it better for LTBTQ kids, and in fact have passed numerous policies and perpetuated attitudes that contribute to our society's rampant homophobia and transphobia. They want to tell kids who are suffering from homophobic and transphobic bullying that it gets better? How they heck would they know?

Show me a video of a Conservative Member of Parliament recounting their own experience with bullying, with coming out as a teen - or, say, with being deeply closted and not able to come out at all for fear that it might negatively affect your political career. Let me see a video of a Conservative Member of Parliament who struggled with being so tormented by their peers that they considered ending it all just to stop the pain. Let me see a video with a Conservative Member of Parliament speaking from their own heart and soul and not the same words off the same script that all the other Conservatives in the video are reading.

Or better yet, don't show me a video at all, Conservative caucus members. Show me some real action to make it better. Support NDP MP Randall Garrison's private member's bill on trans rights. Or heck, have the courage to take it on as your government's contribution to strengthening our human rights legislation to cover gender identity and gender expression. And make sure it passes the Senate this time. Put real funding into mental health supports. Restore funding for the Court Challenges program and Pride celebrations. Forget the misguided notion of ending the long gun registry. Support the introduction of relevant sex ed curricula and Rainbow Alliance groups in your community's schools. Sever your ties with the Religious Right. Fight homophobia and transphobia by speaking out openly and honestly about it, and by refusing to tolerate it in your own caucus and your own party.

If you really want to put an end to bullying, Conservative Caucus members, then stop doing it in the House of Commons. End the childish heckling during Question Period. Treat committee witnesses and advocates who hold positions different than yours with respect and try listening to them for a change, instead of pretending you're on an episode of Law and Order and you're the prosecutor that's going to nail them. Think about what you're doing and what kind of message your behaviour sends to young people about what is acceptable.

Now I don't want to rush to a conclusion that the CPC MPs' video is a cyncial attempt to capitalize on a tragic event that has captured a lot of public attention. More than likely these MPs really think they are participating in the campaign in a meaningful way. I can't be angry about what are likely good intentions. I'm just profoundly disappointed that this is the best they can come up with. Bullied kids deserve better.

Some people were moved to reply

adavidso Oct 20, 2011 09:29 PM said:


Nat Oct 21, 2011 12:08 PM said:

Cheap and opportunistic.

On the one hand we have MPs who want to tell me what do to with my body, who have regressive social policies, pretty much anti, any policy that could actually help the folks in need... and don't get me started on a crime bill that is just stupid and bad news.

Might have meant something if someone like Baird, for instance, would have talk about his experiences as a gay man in politics... or something like that.

maraobj Oct 23, 2011 09:27 AM said:

Well said, Vicky. As usual. This video is so ridiculous I wonder how they thought that this wouldn't backfire?? @Nat totally agree and had the same thought myself.

rsoucie Oct 31, 2011 09:12 AM said:

In fairness, one of the points of the campaign is that we don't always know which youth or which adults identify as LGBT. You ask 'how the heck they (the Conservative politicians in the videos) would know', but isn't that making an assumption that they were never bullied themselves?

I wonder if forcing people to publicly speak about their personal and private experiences is really the only or best way for us to take them seriously. Insisting on standpoint politics as justification for participation seems a bit old-fashioned.

Also, it may come as a surprise that there are plenty of LGBT youth and adults who support the Conservative party. Don't they deserve to see their political leaders publicly supporting them?

Obviously, I would like to see real political action on this issue, but I also think that LGBT youth have a right to hear from a diverse range of adults on this issue, whatever we think of the artistic value or true intentions of the figures in the videos.

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