Of the 10,000-odd video messages recorded across the globe as part of the It Gets Better campaign, Sydney video blogger Tristen Jackson is one of a little more than 100 to be selected for an upcoming book on the project.
Edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living features transcribed video messages from the likes of US President Barack Obama, talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres and three Australian contributors — singers Sia and Darren Hayes, and Jackson.
Unlike the unbridled positivity of many of the It Gets Better videos, Jackson’s entry stands out for the anger he still feels, a decade on, towards those who bullied him in high school.
He spends much of the video directly addressing those who bully gay teens. An excerpt:
“Soon enough, high school will end, and the people you torment will be free of you. But you’re stuck with you forever, and you deserve it. Fuck you. OK. Bye.”
“I was watching a lot of the [It Gets Better] videos and I was moved by them. I wished I’d seen them when I was 15,” Jackson told the Star Observer.
“I thought about how I felt when I was 15, and all I wanted to do was scream and shout ‘fuck you’. I thought, you know what, sometimes we need to say ‘fuck you’ to the people who have made our lives hell.”
Jackson’s video stirred up some controversy, with YouTube commentators split between those applauding his raw honesty and those who felt his entry brought a note of bitterness to what was intended as a positive campaign.
Jackson said he hadn’t anticipated the strong reactions the video elicited.
“I didn’t think that far ahead, to be honest. It was more about the fact that I never got a chance to say that ‘fuck you’ when I was 15.”
Jackson said he had resisted the urge to contact those same bullies with the news that the kid they once teased is now featured in a book alongside the President of the United States.
“I don’t have any desire to show the people who tormented me — really, I’m putting it out there as a call to all the bullies.”
info: It Gets Better is available from www.Amazon.com from March 22.