With adults, it’s a fight for laws like marriage equality. It is not so much laws with the kids; it is economics. It’s a fight for resources. That’s what our community hasn’t quite gotten yet; we have to fight for resources to protect our kids. How dare we say ‘it gets better’ to the kids if we are not willing to fight to make sure they have what they need.
– Carl Sciciliano
Good point. Plus, fighting for laws that affect adults right now is (marginally) easier because they are graspable. People can understand the effect of laws like marriage equality laws. Many people, especially opponents, still do not understand the reality of civil rights like that, but they are by and large more tangible.
Things are different when we talk about securing resources for our children. That reality is not concrete. It is not easy (if not nearly impossible) to visualize the immediate and long-term pros and cons. I think that is the case for gay rights communities like Sciciliano’s, progressive movements and conservative groups alike.
In addition, I think it gets even more complicated (and important) when we talk about LBGT youth. The Othering by the mainstream hetero/cissexist that affects LGBT adults also affects the young. People need to be taught and need to understand that LGBT kids (by extension also other marginalized youth) are the same as white middle-class heterosexual well-protected children, equally deserving of love, respect and the tools to grow. At the same time the problems of LGBT (and other minority) children are unique and not identical with the (also valid) problems of other children. Due to the societal position of gay/lesbian/bi and trans* people, gay bullying is not the same as “regular” bullying, for example.
I was a white, cis, middle-class boy who was bullied, and it was brutal. How worse must it be, if you’re not only the victim of schoolyard bullying but also have to experience that your sexuality and/or gender expression is negated in society?