Sunday, October 17, 2010

It Gets Better: My Tribute to Joel Burns

Earlier this morning, I was browsing for interesting videos on the internet.  I watched several versions of Andrea Bocelli's Con te partirò and The Prayer.  The linked videos in the text are my favorite versions--the first song a duet with Sarah Brightman and the second with Celine Dion.  I watched, I don't know, at least 7 versions of each song before finally deciding which ones to add to my favorites.  That's obviously not why I'm blogging, so enough about that.

I clicked the big YouTube button on the upper left corner of the last video page I was in to return to the home page.  I was kind of hoping to find an additional video or two in my subscriptions pane.  Sadly, though, there wasn't any.  I had already seen everything so I checked those recommended for me on the pane below it.  I was looking at thumbnails of pro-wrestling clips, cooking clips I had already seen, and music videos I was more than familiar with.  One video, however, stood out.  My account had recommended one entitled "Joel Burns tells gay teens 'it gets better'."  Below it was italicized text saying "Because you watched 'Lea Salonga -- Everybody Says Don't'."

I already had the inclination to watch the clip just from reading the title, but the suggestion source was a total omen telling me that it was something special.  I clicked the thumbnail and I was sent to a page where I spent 12 minutes and 55 seconds of--of--I don't know what adjective to use for those minutes.  It was an eye-opener, nonetheless.  It was also nothing short of inspiring.

Joel spoke advocating against the trend of early teenage suicide in American public schools as the result of bullying.  He ran pictures of young boys who chose to end their own lives simply because they did not know how to handle being in the identity crisis stage and being put down for showing signs of being different.

Joel, in turn, told his own story.  He was one of the lucky ones in his time.  He himself contemplated suicide at one point, but had the strength to push himself through his dilemma.  He chose to keep in mind that he had a more advanced consciousness compared to those who didn't know any better.  He made a choice to keep living.  Look at him now--a successful politician happily married to his husband, J.D.  And more than all that, by giving his brave speech which now echoes all over America, he has saved countless lives.  He is living proof of his own statement saying, "it gets better."  Mr. Burns is no longer just a politician.  He has become a hero.

It's depressing to learn that America has a very bad case of mass homophobia despite its reputation as a liberal country.  I guess different evils are found wherever you turn.  Heck, the people causing these deaths think they're the so-called benevolent forces.  I don't care if they're religiously motivated in this case.  I've always been an advocate of religious freedom, but then again I've always stressed that if your beliefs involve the degradation of women and men who identify themelves differently, I will speak up against them!

The Philippines actually has lesser cases of teenagers killing themselves because they're being bullied for their gayness despite the fact that we are a predominantly Catholic-influenced country.  If general gay population suicide incidents are all counted, the majority of cases are caused by broken hearts--and there aren't even that many.  Gay kids are celebrities here because they're always recognized for their talent.  As for the less lucky closet-pushed ones...  They don't go to extremes.  I never tried to kill myself.

What's going on in America that makes being gay in certain states so utterly daunting?  What are parents over there teaching their children?  Why is there so much hate?  Well, this just leads me to conclude that the U.S.A. is as much a medieval country as it is a modern one.  I mean, the Ku Klux Klan exists, too, doesn't it?

Why can't the world just learn to accept people for who they are and the choices they make?  Why do some have to meddle in other people's lives?  Is it because of the belief systems they conform to?  Very likely!  People should just keep their beliefs to themselves.  Not everybody has the same concept of God--even people in the same religion.

It is important for us to realize that every single one of us is special and God-made (if you will).  Why create war?  All we are tasked with in our lives is to thrive lovingly and peacefully.

And then some would retort!  What?  Biological roles?  Procreation?  Haven't you seen what too much conformity to that has done?  Hunger everywhere!  Overpopulation!  Poverty!  You name it!  These are the things that happen when people impose on each other!  Everyone should be free to make his/her own choices in life as long as no other being is harmed.  I'm not saying I'm against reproduction.  It's just that if you want to reproduce, go ahead and do it.  Don't force others to do it, too, just because you see it as the right way things should function in the world.  That's BS!  Heterosexuality is not the only right way human beings should couple, whether you accept it or not.

"I believe that every single human being has the fundamental right to marry whoever they want."

-Lea Salonga
UN FAO Goodwill Ambassador