It definitely got me thinking back to my school days. Things were very different in the 80s. Someone could write your name on a bathroom wall and call you something bad, but we didn't have the internet so that a video of you could get thousands of 'hits.' In those respects, today's youth have it so much worse than we did then. But I also didn't have the internet to connect to other teens struggling with their sexuality and the issues I was facing. Like today's youth: I felt alone and completed isolated. The outside world saw me as the carefree, fun-loving guy that marched to the beat of his own drummer - at times acting crazy and being an 'individual' (and I'm sure many of them called me all sorts of names behind my back) - but inside, it was a fearful place as I believed the feelings I had were wrong. My church told me it was. Society told me it was wrong. There were no gay people on television letting me know I was normal. I would find myself hiding in the public library trying to read up on books about homosexuality - never checking them out due to fear. I came from a family that would discuss anything and everything - but that topic was off limits in my mind. I wasn't about to share it with anyone.
And then my sophomore year of high school, while working in a community theatre production - an adult reached out with a lifeline that blew me away. I knew the man was gay so I would constantly ask him questions until he felt the need to write me a letter about homosexuality. The letter said he could tell I was dealing with it (from my questions) and the three page letter answered many questions for me about my feelings behind being gay. Most importantly, he assured me that no matter what: God loved me. No matter what others said and the fear that filled my brain - I should hang on to that. I kept that letter hidden under my mattress all through high school; at times pulling it out for reassurance. I never know what became of him nor did he ever know what that one act of kindness did for a scared young Christian who was afraid of 'what he was becoming.' But it meant the world to me. That letter was my "it will get better" video - long before they were making them and I only hope I can do the same for someone now. One youth. One at a time. If adults could find at least one teen to mentor and not think in terms of addressing the masses, perhaps that would help some of them before they are at the end of their rope.
Oh - and btw: I have an amazing family who are the most supportive Southern Baptist, God loving people you'd ever meet. They love me and my partner of ten years and open their arms to us. It only took a few years to get past the fear of outting myself and the family coming to terms with it - but in the end - to have the relationship I have with them all now: it was well worth it. We're back to being a family that can talk about "anything" again...and it did get a lot better.