Thursday, September 30, 2010

It Gets Better Project

Thanks to a link that Mary's sister provided, I was directed to this blog entry about the "It Gets Better Project." As the entry says:

"Stunned by the rash of LGBT youth suicides, Dan Savage has launched a YouTube channel called the It Gets Better Project in which adult LGBT folks can send the message to gay youth that while times may be tough right now, they will eventually see the light at the end of the bigoted tunnel."

On his blog, Dan Savage writes:

-----excerpt start-----

Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother's property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body.

Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids.

"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.

-----excerpt end-----

Since that entry, there has now been another suicide, that of 13-year-old Seth Walsh. My heart goes out to everyone who has known and loved these kids, and to those who are suffering because of the hatred of others.

The "It Gets Better Project" has an extraordinary array of videos from all over the world; click here to see them.

As soon as I heard about the project, I knew I would do something. I've watched dozens of videos and they are beautiful and loving and gutsy. Over the weekend I put mine together (it's just shy of 15 min.), which marks the first time I've actually done a video of myself -- been learning my way around Movie Maker in the process:

In case the embedding code doesn't work, you can view it here.

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Blogger Bramble said...

Elissa, I was so moved by your video and by Dan Savage's "It gets better project." In fact, just yesterday afternoon, I was thinking that what the world needed was a social networking site where they could go when they needed to hear that exact message. Not just for LGBT or LGBTQ individuals, but for all. Because, really, aren't we all at times in that spot where we just don't think we can go on? When we just can't see ourselves making it past a certain point? There are so many voices of reason and comfort like yours that could speak to those who have experienced abuse, job loss, fear, low self image, substance abuse, loss of a child, and so much more if they were just given the venue. Thanks for giving something GOOD back to the world you live in!

12:42 PM  
Blogger e_journeys said...

Thanks so much, Bramble!

3:22 PM  

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