Gay and lesbian teenagers have had a lot of heavy messages to digest lately – from Dan Savage's optimistic It Get Better Campaign to Rick Mercer's recent rant that gay public officials need to step up and speak out.
Now, Canadian comedian Scott Thompson had added his fiery two cents to the discussion. His message: Forget efforts like It Gets Better. Instead, be ready to fight.
In a piece for Pridesource.com, Mr. Thompson was asked, "You've addressed bullying before, specifically how the It Gets Better campaign is basically a lie – it might not get better, you say. What would you tell bullied kids then?"
His answer: "Grow a pair. Here's the thing: The world is not kind to us; it never really will be. The gay male is always going to be at the bottom. I believe the things that happened to me as a child scarred me terribly, and I wish somebody would have helped me with some of the things that happened.
"But you have to fight back. So much of these bullying campaigns are part of the trend that we were just talking about – the recasting of gay men as eternal victims and it's like, fight back! Fathers should start teaching the boys how to punch. He does that to you, here's what you do: You ... punch him in the face."
A piece on the Onion's avclub.com site repeated the message, saying it was either "... incredibly bold. Or wrong?"
Writer John Semley asked, "Should gay kids have to fight back when bullying is attributable to, you know, overarching cultural problems? Or at least to mean, homophobic bullies?"
A number of readers agreed, including Craig, who wrote: " ... in order to avoid looking in the mirror, people say, 'just fight back, you pansies!' and people like Scott Thompson enable them to do that by being That Gay Guy Who Says The Same Thing."
But others defended the funny man. One Boba Fett put it this way: "Telling kids to keep their heads down and wait for things to get better is doing them a disservice. The victimizers aren't going to change."
Do Scott Thompson's fighting words add a useful perspective to the recent discussions over how to empower gay and lesbian teens?