Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is
A lot of the criticism has been valid. I wrote about it myself here.
In response to the backlash Dan Savage has had this to say:
To the angry folks: I admit that IGBP doesn’t do the impossible. It doesn’t solve the problem of anti-gay bullying, everywhere, all at once, forever. The point of the videos is to give despairing kids in impossible situations a little thing called hope. The point is to let them know that things do get better. For some people things get better once they get out of high school, for others things get better while they’re still in high school.
Nothing about letting kids know that it gets better excuses or precludes us from pressing for the Student Non-Discrimination Act, demanding anti-bullying programs,confronting the bigots who are making things worse, or supporting the Trevor Project. But we’re not going to get legislation passed this instant or get anti-bullying programs into schools in rural areas—particularly private Christian schools—before classes start tomorrow. Doing all of that is going to take years of hard work and dedicated activism. In the meantime, while we work on all of that, we can get these messages of hope in front of kids who are crisis right now. And we must use the tools we have at our disposal right now—social media and YouTube and digital video—to get these messages of hope to kids who are sufferingright now in schools without GSAs and kids who are trapped schools that will never have GSAs and kids whose parents who bully and reject them.
There’s nothing about this project—nothing about participating in this project—that prevents people from doing more. Indeed, I would hope that participating in this raises awareness and leaves people feeling obligated to do more.
He makes a good point.
The other day, I was reading my local newspaper during some down time at work and I read a small article about a Suicide Hotline that is looking for volunteers and that is also offering training. I’ve been toying lately with the idea of volunteering with some sort of organization and this one just sort of fell into my lap. I’m definitely interested.
I’ll be honest though, I’m afraid of the time and emotional commitment this kind of endeavor might require, but I’m also committed to being the kind of person that lines up their beliefs and core values with action. In part, that is one of the reasons why I started blogging. Because I was sick of thinking or talking about the idea of maybe one day being a writer and always putting off action in favor of just letting life pass me by.
Nope. I ain’t gonna do that no more, I said to myself.
I’m putting a lot of value in action these days. So with all that in mind, I’m going to get more information on this volunteering opportunity and go ahead with it. There’s something scary about committing to this publicly. What if I change my mind? What if I don’t follow through? What if I find it too hard to handle? What if I’m just no good at it? But that’s why people do things, to find out the answer to these questions instead of wondering about them their whole lives. You gotta give yourself permission to try and fail, and have that be ok.
That’s what I’m getting out of this anyhow. I’m gonna put my money (err time) where my mouth is.
And I would like to encourage other people to act upon the things that they care about as well. Think about what that might be for you.