In the spirit of Jamie Hubley and trying to
make a difference, a gay former Conservative staffer put together an It Gets
Better video that features a number of Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers.
The video touched off a storm over the
Twitter Machine, with queer activists decrying the utter hypocrisy of the
participants: John Baird, whose “out” status depends on which crowd you happen
to be in; Vic Toews, who led the fight against same-sex marriage and who
opposed the inclusion of gays and lesbians in hate speech legislation; and
Senator Don Meredith, who believes that being gay is a choice. It did also
include Shelly Glover, who despite being the most intellectually bankrupt MP in
this country, does also fight for the rights of trans people because of her
experience with them when she worked as a police officer in Winnipeg.
Some of the more mainstream elements in
Ottawa defended the move as baby steps – saying that at least they didn’t stay silent.
I will grant that and agree with those who say that the outpouring of rage
that followed said baby steps are why one doesn’t see too many people marching
under the blue banner at Pride parades. That’s fair. And it was an attempt by a
gay former staffer to get the MPs he knows to at least do something. We can’t
deny that the intention to do something positive was there.
But half the point of the It Gets Better
campaign is getting some really visible and high-profile
people who’ve been through hard times to share their stories, and to give a
heartfelt message about how they got through it, and this video didn’t have
that message. There was a sense of earnestness from the two staffers at the start
of the video, but where the MPs and senators were concerned, they each just
read a script into the camera. And it was couched in this “whether you’re gay
or straight” attempt at universality; it was just words. Nobody, gay or
straight, shared their own experiences of how they went through really hard
times and got through it so that they could be proof that life does get better.
There was no heart to the video – just faces saying the same thing, over and
over, to script.
It’s all well and good to mouth the
sentiments, but give people a reason to believe what you’re telling them,
regardless of your past political positions. This video didn’t do that.