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Obama to victims of bullying: 'Things will get better'

President Obama recorded a video as part of the "It Gets Better" video series started by Dan Savage.

The president speaks directly to the camera saying, "I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay, but I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong." The president calls for an end to the bullying-as-right-of-passage attitude and tells young people that "things will get better."

The full transcript:

Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives. As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart. It's something that just shouldn't happen in this country.
We've got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage - that it's some inevitable part of growing up. It's not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe forall of our kids. And to every young person out there you need to know that if you're in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.
I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong. It's tough. And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart - I know can just wear on you. And when you're teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself - for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else.
But what I want to say is this. You are not alone. You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you're getting down on yourself, you've got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it's your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You've got to reach out to them, don't feel like you're in this by yourself.
The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you're going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You'll look back on the struggles you've faced with compassion and wisdom. And that's not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.
It will mean that you'll be more likely to help fight discrimination - not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you'll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it's so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people's eyes and stand in their shoes - that we never lose sight of what binds us together.
As a nation we're founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves. That's the freedom that enriches all of us. That's what America is all about. And every day, it gets better.

The White House posted the video Thursday night after the Pentagon announced that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy had been revised, making it tougher to remove openly gay soldiers.

Watch more 'It Gets Better' videos here.

Correction: This post briefly stated that President Obama wrote on the White House blog that he considered suicide. The post was actually written by Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Brian Bond.

By Emi Kolawole  | October 22, 2010; 6:26 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

I believe the coming out process for those whom are gay is often volatile, because we live in a society where the lifestyle is culturally demonized. The hate that has been spewed by individuals here toward President Obama just shows how they are driven by this vehicle of pure animus and venomous ideology.Bullying in any form should be condemned, but unfortunately school yard bullying manifests itself in the child, whom one day becomes an adult, if not corrected by the parent early in that child's life. Being gay, lesbian, black, latino, chinese, white should not upset the social order. As President Obama has stated, we live in a country where we all are equal and given the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness.

Posted by: delontae1979 | October 26, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I believe the coming out process for those whom are gay is often volatile, because we live in a society where the lifestyle is culturally demonized. The hate that has been spewed by individuals here toward President Obama just shows how they are driven by this vehicle of pure animus and venomous ideology.Bullying in any form should be condemned, but unfortunately school yard bullying manifests itself in the child, whom one day becomes an adult, if not corrected by the parent early in that child's life. Being gay, lesbian, black, latino, chinese, white should not upset the social order. As President Obama has stated, we live in a country where we all are equal and given the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness.

Posted by: delontae1979 | October 26, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

If Obama knows what it's like to feel that he doesn't belong, here's a suggestion: Release your all documents and we'll tell you if you belong or not and why!

In the meantime, how about acting like a president and get some action going on the murder of an American citizen on Falcon Lake by Mexicans! It's been 24 days since that happened and it poses the threat of and international incident, yet Kenya Boy is still AWOL on this issue. The One and Napolitano tell us the borders are secure while he's putting up signs warning Americans to stay out of a national park south of Tuscon!

We feel so secure!

Posted by: TexRancher | October 24, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama, "It Gets Better for gay teens"
-------------------------------------

How so? Gay marriage? No, Obama is against that. Military service? No, Obama is challenging the ruling.

CHANGE, gays can believe in! LMAO

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 23, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

So, is he speaking for/to all children who are bullied or just the gay ones? We know his DOJ wants to prosecute white on black voter intimidation, only, and not black on white. As this newspaper reported earlier today on the New Black Panther voter intimidation case, "Interviews and government documents reviewed by The Washington Post show that the case tapped into deep divisions within the Justice Department that persist today over whether the agency should focus on protecting historically oppressed minorities or enforce laws without regard to race". So, does the president want to protect non gays from gays, or just gays from non gays? What about gays bullying other gays? Gee, this gets really confusing. If only there was a way to protect everyone from bullies--oh wait there is, but the Obama DOJ isn't sure if that is a good thing or not.

Posted by: coffic | October 22, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I taught public school for 43 years- I never saw a "gay kid"! Have any of you- talking about gay kids-ever seen or talked with one?
I very much doubt it! Oh sure there were some effeminate boys and tom-boy girls- but they, at that age did not claim to be gay! Perhaps those tendencies gave them encouragement to "try certain acts" later in life-but their nature and nurture all played a part in their decision to claim a particular "sexual orientation"
We do not need open gays in our elite military. They have enough pressure to conduct a safe and secure war!

Posted by: lyn3 | October 22, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama's words do not match his actions. His appeal of the DADT ruling sends a very clear message to our youth that he still thinks gays and lesbians are second class citizens.

Posted by: PNWMainah | October 22, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Obama's words do not match his actions. His appeal of the DADT ruling sends a very clear message to our youth that he still thinks gays and lesbians are second class citizens.

Posted by: PNWMainah | October 22, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. President. I hope your message gives hope to the gay kids out there feeling alone. Now please make good on your promises to overturn Don't Ask Don't Tell and repeal DOMA, and things really will get better for those of us who are gay or who believe in equality for everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

Posted by: adlynn24 | October 22, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I think the President should be applauded for
his words of hope to some teen out there, perhaps contemplating suicide.

Those critizing this, surely doesn't have a
Empathetic bone in their body!

Posted by: wave06 | October 22, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Word, gays! Obama is in your corner (unless you want to join his army).

Posted by: waltonr1 | October 22, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Obie wanted to commit suicide because he grew up in a middle class paradise where the main prejudice was against mainlanders?

If he is that mentally unstable he should resign.

Posted by: illogicbuster | October 22, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

he should be sending an anti-welfare, anti-deadbeat mortgageholder message. I'm sure there is bullying, and school administrators should put a halt to it wherever possible. but this is about as noteworthy as a beer summit to condemn a police officer who did nothing wrong.

Posted by: brianguy1 | October 22, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

AS QUOTED BY OBAMA; " It means you'll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it's so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect."

###########################################

Well he means everyone except those he treats disrespectfully like conservatives, tea partiers and republicans.
HE is supposed to be setting the tone.

This is the definition of two-faced.

Posted by: tjmlrc | October 22, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The 14-year-old boy who killed three girls and paralyzed 15-year-old Missy Jenkins for life was bullied by kids and even called gay in his middle school newspaper. Missy, at missyjenkins. com is fighting bullying in schools through her work as a counselor, speaker and her book "I Choose to be Happy." Take a look. It's changing lives.

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Posted by: itkonlyyou331 | October 22, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Windrider- Obama's actions are just that- "an act!" He is building excuses and implementing his actual plan to TRY and pass the ban on DADT!
However,every chance I get I point out the false "sexual orientation" claim of all those who practice the destructive life style of sodomy! From where did they get this orientation? No study has proved it is immutable! The diseases and AIDS, and substance abuse and violence in the gay community are rampant! Why would any sane military leader want that mixed in with the intensity of fighting war?

Posted by: lyn3 | October 22, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

All of you are so blinded by your hate of the President that you can't see anything he says objectively. When you say the President doesn't belong, what do you mean? He doesn't belong to the human race? All of who have posted are bullies and cowards. You use this forum to spew your hate and the only person you're hurting is yourself. I really feel sorry for all of you. It's okay to disagree with the President's policies, but it's not okay to attack him personally. You don't even know him. Is it racism that drives you to this hatred? Or is it something else? What has he done to you personally that makes you say such ugly, bullying things? What has he done that has effected your lives to the point of this much hatred toward this man? Is it that when he talks about bullies, you feel he's addressing you?

Posted by: denise4925 | October 22, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Two things...

1) When i was in high school we had three guys in the class who wee always first to shout "Homo!" Funny thing is, they all turned out to be gay. They had everyone sure that one guy was a homosexual. He became the father of five...decidedly effeminate, yes but not gay. There were others they went after...some with greater results than with others.

But the point is, this bullying was done by gay students...these were gay guys. Funny thing is the lesbians didn't make the charges, they just persevered silently.

So, if we are to have anti-bullying regulations are they going to cover guys like these?

2) The Obamanation says, "... I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong."

Is that like right now Mr. Zero, is it right now you can feel you don't belong...because you don't belong.

Posted by: joelinpdx | October 22, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Yeah right, Obama will fix everything. He is now going to appoint a "Bully Czar" to protect everyone from feeling insecure.
This way our next generation will be completely unprepared to face the realities of life. Some of these realities include being able to accept the fact that not everyone wins, and no one wins all the time, some people are better at certain things than others, you will always face someone who disagrees with you and you may be intimidated. We don't need our government running every aspect of our life.

Posted by: brooklynborn1 | October 22, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

As bully to bully this is a good move on the part of the President. But his example needs some fixing. His bullying behavior from of all things the bully pulpit sends the wrong message to the young. He raises vindictiveness to a new high. Not a good example.
Isolating the bullies and putting them in separate classes all by themselves so all they have to pick on is one another might help. But if the bullies cannot be controlled at the very least the bullied must be protected.

Posted by: mlbduffy | October 22, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

This is what happens when you let monsters out of the closet.

Most people accept that this is a necessary evil, but now the group wants accolades.

C'mon people. Get over yourself.

Posted by: tjmlrc | October 22, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Yeah right! This means absolutely nothing.

On the very day that millions of Americans were remembering the most recent seven victims driven to suicide by anti-gay bullying, this President went to court to get the DADT injunction lifted so that his administration could resume discharging gay and lesbian soldiers.

Anything that comes out of Obama's mouth with respect to homophobia is a lie. His actions this week speak far louder than this video ever will. Because so long as he keeps anti-gay policies in force, he is affirming and encouraging anti-gay bullying and anti-gay discrimination.

No, it does not get better when the President of the United States defends anti-gay policies in court.

LGBT people need to realize that Obama is NOT their "fiercest advocate" as he promised. He is just another enabler of legalized discrimination and he will never do anything concrete to establish equal rights for LGBT people in any aspect.

Posted by: windrider2 | October 22, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

obama and the dems are bullies...
they have resorted to intimidation and violence in their quest for power...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 22, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

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