The whole point of the “It Gets Better” campaign is to affirm young people who may be questioning their sexual orientation and gender identity that even though they may be bullied or made to feel less than, they will be able to grow strong and live healthy fulfilling lives. But Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission wants folks to know it does not get better; in fact, he calls the tens of thousands of It Gets Better videos “deceitful,” and he is all too eager to encourage young people to be afraid and to hate themselves for possibly being gay:
…The commercial is intended to leave viewers with the feeling that there is a hopeful future for those who live as homosexuals. But, unfortunately, the facts tell a very different story. [...]
Social acceptance of homosexual behavior doesn’t bring individuals peace or eliminate its tragic consequences. [...]
Homosexual behavior is a terrible health risk. [...]
They may believe it’s getting better, but it’s really not.
Plenty of research shows that many of the mental and physical health disparities the LGBT community experience are the direct result of minority stress and stigma. Some of the “facts” Cass cites about rates of suicide, cancer, and HIV are true, but are actually direct results of the very stigma Cass reinforces in this video. For example, gays and lesbians are more likely to smoke cigarettes because of minority stress, which would contribute to higher cancer rates.
In his accompanying article, Cass cites debunked “research” from ex-gay organizations such as NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality) and Exodus International that suggests that a person’s sexual orientation can be changed. Most major medical organizations condemn such therapy as harmful and ineffective, and one study demonstrates that the actions of the ex-gay movement constitute four of the United Nations’ five definitions of genocide against the LGBT community.
Cass and others want to enforce their anti-gay evangelical perspective on others, and the consequences extend far beyond political inequality. The takeaway from this video is that Cass does not want it to get better for gays and lesbians. He wants them to continue to be depressed, to hate themselves, and to spend their lives never accepting their identity or finding happiness. Unfortunately for Cass, his point of view is less popular than ever.