Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dan Savage's "It Gets Better Project"

Last week an Indiana teen committed suicide thanks to merciless anti-gay bullying at his school. It stings that it's from my home state, but it hurts more that this isn't shocking. Gay teens are four times more likely to commit suicide, especially if they don't live in urban areas. Which is why Dan Savage thought of this wonderful project:
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. [...]

Today we have the power to give these kids hope. We have the tools to reach out to them and tell our stories and let them know that it does get better. Online support groups are great, GLSEN does amazing work, the Trevor Project is invaluable. But many LGBT youth can’t picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can’t imagine a future for themselves. So let’s show them what our lives are like. Let’s show them what the future may hold in store for them.

I faced a lot of anti-gay teasing in middle school and high school even though I was straight. Because, dontcha know, anyone who's friends with gay people must themselves be gay. I can't imagine how bad it would have been if I actually was a lesbian, or if I hadn't had boyfriends. Not to mention the fact that our principal fought tooth an nail against us forming a Gay Straight Alliance my senior year. Heaven forbid we form a safe community for harassed students.

If you're a GLBT adult, please consider uploading your own video and submitting it by emailing Dan (mail (at) savagelove (dot) net). This may be our best chance to reach kids who need to hear that life is worth living, yes, even if you're gay.

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