President Obama’s new video clip supporting gay teens who are victims of bullying has been viewed by critics with some cynicism.
The video is part of the “It Gets Better” campaign to highlight the recent spate of homophobic bullying which has led to a number of teen suicides.
“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 like sometimes you don’t belong,” says Obama in the clip.
“It’s tough and for a lot of kids the sense of being alone or apart can wear on you. If you’re teased and bullied it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself for being different or not fitting in with anybody 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’s 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 … The other thing you need to know is things will get better.”
While lauding the content of the message, some see the video as a cynical attempt to regain the support of LGBT voters ahead of new elections, despite the Obama administration’s failure to secure LGBT equality in a number of areas.
The government has been criticised in particular for continuing to support two anti-gay laws in court – the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ban on gay personnel in the military and the Defense of Marriage act, which limits the federal definition of marriage as being between heterosexual couples.