Rise Against Encourages Young Gay Fans That 'It Gets Better'

In Rise Against's music video for "Make It Stop (September's Children)", the band used the opportunity to tell young gay fans that "It Gets Better".

Rise Against Encourages Young Gay Fans That 'It Gets Better'
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When punk band Rise Against made the transition from underground clubs to arenas, frontman Tim McIlrath noticed something upsetting. He would meet fans of the band and then later learn that they were afraid to tell him they were gay. "They didn't know if their favorite band was going to condemn them or not", McIlrath tells Billboard.com. "I didn't want our fans to think that their favorite band wouldn't accept them for who they are." In Rise Against's music video for single "Make It Stop (September's Children)", which debuted on June 21, the band used the opportunity to tell young gay fans that, yes, "It Gets Better". Partnering with the Dan Savage-helmed project of the same name, Rise Against traveled to McIlrath's high school alma mater in Rolling Meadows, Ill. and shone a light on LGBT students who, even through merciless bullying, have chosen life over suicide. "Make It Stop", Rise Against's second "Endgame" single, handles the issues of bullying, homophobia and suicide in an explicit way - a more literal interpretation of the "It Gets Better" than past musical contributions to the campaign, including Katy Perry's "Firework" video. "I was putting the song together as the same time it began to trickle out what 'It Gets Better' is all about", McIlrath said. "It's exactly what I want to do in song form and they're doing it in tangible form." McIlrath views the song as a road that will ultimately lead people to "It Gets Better Project", but there is a personal element to the band's involvement as well. "I was bullied when I first got to high school", he said. "I got really lucky thought because I found other freaks and we got each other through high school... I did have some gay friends and I even had a gay friend at school who committed suicide. That hit me really hard."
Thanks for the report to Billboard.com.

32 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    HazeSpace
    tons of respect for this. Bullies just bully cuz they're afraid to get bullied. Just some fake though guys.
    BK202
    And that's why I'm annoyed when people call Rise Against sellouts.
    slaveskinJACKET
    mathiaes wrote: why would his fans tell him that they're gay?
    Because, for some reason, a lot of gay people feel the need to broadcast this information, as they seem to feel it is a vital piece of information, without which you can't really know who they are. That's kind of dumb, though. Just be yourself, people will figure out who you are for themselves. I hate to say it, but some, not all, kind of ask for it. Some people seem to think that, because they're gay, they're obligated to dress like a sparkly fairy and act like prissy drag queen. That just reinforces stereotypes and draws negative attention, especially if it's not even who they really are. If that really is how a person is, by all means, prance away, but don't act/dress/talk/carry yourself a certain way just because you think people expect you to. Be who you are. But announcing your sexual preferences to anyone and everyone who will listen just makes you seem weird. You don't need to tell people if they didn't ask. "Hi, my name is Bill. I like pussy." See? That's just weird.
    Anarchojoe
    I don't think there will ever be another band like Rise Against who actually STAND for someting.
    ..... Really?
    slaveskinJACKET
    I don't really like the song, but I like the message. Bullying is senseless, not just against gays. Sometimes, it makes the victim a stronger person for having endured it, but it always puts them through unnecessary torture. And usually, the one doing the bullying has deeper self-esteem issues than the one getting bullied.
    Philip_pepper
    BigMikeBDD wrote: bullying is wrong no matter what. I don't agree with the gay lifestyle and I refuse to have it shoved down my throat but bullying is not right.
    Did anyone else lol?
    rechris06
    headbang123 wrote: I don't think there will ever be another band like Rise Against who actually STAND for someting.
    HAHAHA that actually made me lol Also i have to agree with everything that everyone says on here, i don't have a problem with gay people, i just don't like it forced upon me in ways that make me feel uncomfortable.
    BigDrK
    I think homosexuality is wrong. I also think bullying is wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right.
    kezman442
    Dont you people get it?? they are ashamed for being gay because of the way society views them, like it's a disease, It's about, I hope they dont hate me for it, because it's a big part of who I am, ffs talk about looking with your eyes shut.
    Wes 5
    "Hi, my name is Bill. I like pussy." See? That's just weird.
    Hi, I'm Nolan. I also like pussy.
    Gibson0516
    I know I'm pretty late to comment on this article, but God I love this band. All of their songs have a deep message behind them. I like how they're political too.
    riseagainst420
    i love rise against because their music actually means something..... i hope that sometime they will come tour in the south US so i can go see them in person
    guitaruboy
    Wes 5 wrote: "Hi, my name is Bill. I like pussy." See? That's just weird. Hi, I'm Nolan. I also like pussy.
    nobody likes pussy but me!
    owllover
    im glad rise against is standing for gays because of how bad there being treated
    metalmaniac90
    People broadcasting that information over the years is what has brought acceptance. If everyone kept it secret we'd still be in the 50's where you get killed for it. Yes. People are obligated to dress how they want to. If I wanna wear a leather jacket, tats, long hair, ripped jeans and cowboy boots, I can do it no matter what some redneck asswhipe thinks. If they wanna wear dresses N' glitter, they can do so no matter what some dumb ass on Ultimate- Guitar thinks.
    slaveskinJACKET wrote: mathiaes wrote: why would his fans tell him that they're gay? Because, for some reason, a lot of gay people feel the need to broadcast this information, as they seem to feel it is a vital piece of information, without which you can't really know who they are. That's kind of dumb, though. Just be yourself, people will figure out who you are for themselves. I hate to say it, but some, not all, kind of ask for it. Some people seem to think that, because they're gay, they're obligated to dress like a sparkly fairy and act like prissy drag queen. That just reinforces stereotypes and draws negative attention, especially if it's not even who they really are. If that really is how a person is, by all means, prance away, but don't act/dress/talk/carry yourself a certain way just because you think people expect you to. Be who you are. But announcing your sexual preferences to anyone and everyone who will listen just makes you seem weird. You don't need to tell people if they didn't ask. "Hi, my name is Bill. I like pussy." See? That's just weird.
    evilmusic
    [quote]BigMikeBDD wrote: I refuse to have it shoved down my throat[quote] Hilarious!
    drhammertime
    BK202 wrote: And that's why I'm annoyed when people call Rise Against sellouts.
    +1000. You can't be sellouts when you do amazing things like this with your new popularity.
    BigMikeBDD
    bullying is wrong no matter what. I don't agree with the gay lifestyle and I refuse to have it shoved down my throat but bullying is not right.
    John37fold
    it was a very tasteful video, and it doesn't matter if good charlotte has done this.. there are still gay-haters attacking for no reason... if us straight fans support them, the message will be recieved and hopefully bullying will come to an end
    BigMikeBDD
    Philip_pepper wrote: BigMikeBDD wrote: bullying is wrong no matter what. I don't agree with the gay lifestyle and I refuse to have it shoved down my throat but bullying is not right. Did anyone else lol?
    I nearly wrote "no pun intended".
    sheriff_nein
    umm, i think that if i met a band, i wouldnt really bring up my sexual preferences, no matter what they were...
    raka09
    awesome video and song,people can call them what they want their music has been awesome from the start to now!...funeral for a friend also did a video against bullying (roses for the dead)
    hadookin
    why wouldn't they tell him if they were gay... You're kind of insinuatin that theres a problem with it...it can have the possibility of coming up in general conversation especially if it's a big enough of a deal for rise against to actually write and release a song about it.
    headbang123
    I don't think there will ever be another band like Rise Against who actually STAND for someting.