May 30, 2017
Turns out, Dan Savage isn't just inappropriate -- he's ineffective. That's the conclusion of the University of Arizona on the controversial sex therapist's "anti-bullying" program. The LGBT activist, who's probably best known for his vulgar attacks against conservatives Christians, became a familiar face in 2010 when the White House touted his "It Gets Better" campaign for kids identifying as gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Everyone from President Obama to Hollywood's Anne Hathaway taped videos for teens who feel picked on because of their struggles with sexuality. Given his history as a self-described "potty-mouthed political pundit," it was somewhat of a shock when the White House decided to give Savage a platform for his one-sided, hate-filled assault against anyone (including high schoolers) with different beliefs. Now, the one campaign that gave Savage a scrap of legitimacy is being called into question after research showed that his "It Gets Better" advice may actually make kids' problems worse.
After a survey of 245 teens who call themselves gay or bisexual, Professor Russell Toomey found that "Cognitive-based strategies, such as the 'It Gets Better' approach, were associated with poorer adjustment and less likelihood of high school attainment." In fact, he went on, "Our findings question the 'It Gets Better' narrative that's been given to LGB youth. Asking youth to accept negative experiences as the only coping strategy potentially exacerbates stress."
Obviously, FRC is opposed to bullying for any reason. But people like Dan Savage are putting so much attention on homosexuality that it's actually preventing society from dealing with the real problems of bullying. Even liberal surveys show that "students are more often bullied, called names, or harassed because of 'the way they look or their body size' than because of their sexual orientation." Russell's findings grabbed plenty of headlines, especially in liberal circles. But interestingly enough, the Left didn't rush to defend Savage. Queerty, an LGBT website, let the study speak for itself. "It gets better ... Or does it? Study finds anti-bullying catch phrase may do more harm than good."
The Stream's Tom Gilson thinks it's significant that Savage's own community isn't rallying to his side. "[G]ays, lesbians, and their allies have a history of battling science that doesn't support their agenda," he writes. "Their usual claim is that the research is 'flawed.' (George Yancey wrote on this recently for The Stream.) For some reason they didn't do that this time. Instead they're practically throwing Savage under the bus... Have they perhaps noticed his extreme profanity and his blatant hypocrisy, along with his failed promises of life getting better? Are they embarrassed by Dan Savage? They certainly should be."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.