Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Gotta Give 'Em Hope


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.


Savage writes:
"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.


8 comments:

kayce. said...

i hope you don't mind that i put this on my tumblr... i absolutely ADORE dan ~ he gives some of the best advice i've ever heard. he pulls no punches, but says everything w/ love & is well-versed on gay, straight, trans, queer, etc. etc. issues. thanks for sharing, david!

froggy said...

We loves Dan Savage. Now we loves him more.

Mechadude2001 said...

That's a great idea!

Lee said...

This is an absolutely fantastic idea and I hope it really takes off.

I was bullied mercilessly through junior high (now called middle school I think). By the time I got to high school, I had gotten better at hiding my differences. It makes me incredibly sad to know that others are having to go through this and don't see any light at the end of the tunnel.

It does get better. I hope Dan can help.

Kyle said...

David, I think the Dan's campaign can really help many of us at a time when we feel most alone and vulnerable. A little hope at that time could literally mean the difference between life and death. Thanks for spreading the word.

Jennie said...

This is such a vital thing for young people. Even those children who have understanding and supportive parents need to hear from caring adults that have gone through the struggle that it WILL get better. Sometimes, parents (especially straight ones) don't have the credibility to make their sons and daughters believe things will be okay, someday.

Owen said...

Could Dan and Terry get any more adorable and downright sweet?! I absolutely love them!!!! As for what they are doing? Couldn't agree more and the advice I'd give to LGBT teens in high school hell? You can do like I did. Drop out, get your GED, go to college and get your Masters!!!! Dan and Terry are right on the money! It gets better and my life is beautiful and what Terry said, "Living well is the best revenge" is so true! The a$$wipes who tormented are still in that god forsaken town, and life has gone downhill from high school. As for me, I travel and have found love on three continents. I have wonderful friends all over the world and can't wait to see what will happen next!! Dan and Terry, you rule and you don't know how many lives you will save.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

I love the concept of "It Only Gets Better". I think I may encourage my local Community Health Service (I kinda have an "in" with them lately" to consider an outreach program.... hmmmmm, wonder who would head that up for them????
I was MISERABLE though most of high school. It got MUCH better during my college years!!!

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