David Nielsen, president of the Capital City Men’s Chorus, shares why the It Gets Better Project is important. You can see the Capital City Men’s Chorus perform alongside Conspirare and the Amphion Youth Choir in “It Gets Better” September 20 in Dell Hall.
It’s been over 30 years since I was in school, but some of my most vivid memories of that time were when I was bullied. That is why it is important to me to be part of the It Gets Better Project performance in Austin. I will be singing with the Capital City Men’s Chorus as part of the community chorus which includes Conspirare and the Amphion Youth Choir.
I can clearly remember being attacked by an older boy in gym class. I thought I was the only one in the locker room when I was grabbed and thrown against the lockers. He then grabbed my throat and started choking me. He called me ‘weak,’ ‘sissy,’ and a ‘fag.’ I was terrified. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this situation. A couple of boys entered the locker room, saw me and pointed and laughed. Then they left. I didn’t know what to do. It was becoming difficult to breathe. It seemed like like forever before another boy entered the locker room. He saw what was going on and pulled the bully off of me. I ran and didn’t look back. Incidents like that made me think it was not a good thing to be different and to try and fit in and deny who I was. It took many years to finally come to accept myself for who I am. It took many years even to be able to say I was gay. However now I have a loving relationship of 16 years with a wonderful man, Scott, my parents have accepted me and Scott, and I am at peace with myself.
The It Gets Better project has multiple messages. To the bully, the message is that what he was doing is wrong. To the boys who pointed and laughed, the message is that bullying is not acceptable or funny and they can act to stop it. To the boy who came to my rescue, the message is you can stand up to what is wrong and you can make a difference in another persons life, more than you may realize. And to me the message is, that was an act by an ignorant person, I am not defined by what others think of me, I am responsible for my destiny and worthy of being loved, and It DOES Get Better.
-David Nielsen, member of the Capital City Men’s Chorus in “It Gets Better”