“Over the last few months there’s been a string of bullying incidents and suicides involving gay and lesbian youth. Right now there may be some of you out there who feel that there’s no hope, or that you’re not wanted. Well I have a message for you. New York City wants you. New York has always been the place where anyone can go, and be who they’re supposed to be, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual identity. We need you.
We need your enthusiasm, your ideas, your passion and your talents. And so do lots of other places around the country and the world. The struggle for equality has always been ongoing, but we’ve come so far in the last twenty years. And the next twenty? They will be so much better. You’ll see for yourself, as long as you don’t give up. I know life can be hard and painful, but life can also be wonderful. Be there for the good parts. It’s really worth it, and so are you. It does get better.”
Sure, come to NYC all of you queer youth out there! It’s the city of dreams, where no one gets bullied or discriminated against (bullshit, by the way). But you better be independently wealthy, because here is what Mayor Bloomberg didn’t say in his video: NYC only wants you as long as you’re not homeless. This might be a big surprise to all the kids who, after seeing this recent video, are hopping on greyhound buses all over the country to make it to NYC. With the incredible housing shortage in this city, along with the incredibly high rents, its likely many of them won’t have a place to live.
It’s appalling that Mayor Bloomberg, the 23rd richest man in the world, can say that ‘It Gets Better’ to LGBT teens out there after pulling the rug out from under his city’s organizations that support them.
From Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center:
Two days after slashing support to homeless youth programs in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has the gall to release a video telling LGBT youth that ‘It Gets Better.’ Mayor Bloomberg, your cruel and reckless cuts to the meager support system for homeless LGBT youth in New York City just made things for them much worse! On January 1st, Bloomberg cut support for outreach to homeless youth in half, cut most drop-in centers for homeless youth by a third, and cut support for the two LGBT homeless youth drop-in programs in half. In New York City there are over 1,000 LGBT youth suffering on the streets every night without access to safe shelter. The drop-in centers and outreach are their only support. Homeless LGBT youth are at incredible risk of suicide with 62% reporting that they have considered or attempted suicide.
I think the ‘It Gets Better’ project is great, but I’m tired of seeing politicians, who actually have the power to MAKE things get better, choosing this route instead. And Bloomberg is actively MAKING THINGS WORSE via his city government’s budget cuts for LGBT homeless youth. Disgusting.