Dan Savage has launched a YouTube channel called the It Gets Better Project, in which adults can post videos aimed directly at LGBT youths who are facing harrassment at school and/or at home. Savage was prompted to take action after the recent suicide of 15 year-old Billy Lucas (below) - who hung himself after being tormented by his classmates for being perceived as gay.
"My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas," a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. "I wish I could have told you that things get better." I had the same reaction: I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.
But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.
Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don't have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids. So here's what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better. I've launched a channel on YouTube to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one...
I think this was a fantastic idea. I was bullied a little bit in elementary school for being a "sissy", but by the time I got to middle school I had figured out how to mask it just enough to fly under the radar and I retreated into the closet. But it would have been so reassuring to hear from actual gay people telling me that it'll get better.
And it DID get better. I went to college, and although I spent most of that time closeted - I made a ton of friends and slowly began to creep out of the closet and into the light. And by the time I moved to New York City a couple years later, I felt downright FABULOUS.
Anywhore, kudos to Dan Savage for this great idea. I hope there are gay kids locked in their rooms watching these videos right now - and learning that it DOES indeed get better.