Valentine: Bullying affects heterosexuals, too

Friday, May 13, 2011

So, there I am watching the NBA playoffs when this commercial for Google Chrome pops up on the screen. Google Chrome is a new Web browser but you wouldn't really know that from the spot. It was all about the 'It Gets Better' campaign about gays and bullying.

The ad started with a bunch of newspaper clips about gays being bullied and gay suicides. Then it went into YouTube videos of gay men talking about how they were teased and bullied when they were young but "it gets better."

Then a series of regular people, sprinkled with celebrities, repeat the mantra, "It gets better," including Woody from Toy Story. Woody's gay? Jeez! Is it Buzz Lightyear? No, I bet it's that darn dinosaur.

'Oh, yeah, Phil. Go ahead and make fun. That's the problem.'

You really want to know what the 'problem' is? Too many people bellyaching about being bullied. Quite frankly, I'm sick of it. Grow up, people. A lot of kids get bullied. At 4'9" in the ninth grade I got my share. I didn't grow to be 5'11" until my senior year. People always love to pick on the short guy.

I can guarantee you that far more straight kids are harassed on a daily basis than gays but somehow gays have cornered the market on being bullied. Are there gay teen suicides? You bet, but there are straight teen suicides, too. And far more of them.

I'm no psychologist but I would presume that there's a lot more that leads to a teen suicide than just teasing and bullying. There's inner conflict; deep inner conflict. Teasing oftentimes follows because the person is already acting so out of the norm from the others.

My wife once asked me if I wished I'd married someone different. I said, "I did." There's nothing wrong with being different. I love different. I'm different. I was the class clown. Some folks don't like clowns. Sometimes you get slapped around.

You have to learn to deal with it, not whine about it. Once a bully knows he or she is getting to you it's just the beginning of the harassment.

I recently read a story about a teenage girl who moved with her family across the country. She blogged that the people there were mean and she wanted to go back home. She hanged herself.

Tragic, indeed, but that young lady was obviously deeply disturbed. I'm not trying to paper over it and make it okay. It's a horrible thing; the most tragic thing I can think of. But it's not because of bullying. Not that I'm defending bullying but, good grief, if everyone who got bullied decided to end their lives there'd be none of us left.

But, back to the Google ad campaign. I really have grown tired of hearing how heterosexuals are responsible for all this pain and torment gays are experiencing. For the most part, gay folks are left alone. I don't care if they're gay. But tolerance is not enough. What many gay activists long for is acceptance and there's a big difference between tolerance and acceptance.

They wish for heterosexuals to accept homosexuality as normal. It's natural, we're told, yet they refuse to accept the 'natural' tendency of heterosexuals to find homosexuality repulsive. What happened to tolerance? Can't you tolerate heterosexuals for who they are? After all, it's only natural.

If you want to "blend in" then here's some advice. It may sound a little crass but here goes. Stop being a bunch of sissies and man up. Command respect, not pity. Nobody likes a whiner.

Phil Valentine is an author and syndicated radio talk show host. His website is