Awesome “It Gets Better” Project
September 23, 2010

There is a new video project on YouTube that I found through Facebook via The Trevor Project and GLSEN posts – how’s THAT for Social Networking!

So here’s the deal (directly from the description on YT): “If you’re gay or lesbian or bi or trans, and you’ve ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, “Fuck, I wish I could’ve told him that it gets better,” this is your chance. We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them….”

http://www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject

Here’s the background from Dan Savage, as it appears in his column “Savage Love” at http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=4940874

I just read about a gay teenager in Indiana—Billy Lucas—who killed himself after being taunted by his classmates. Now his Facebook memorial page is being defaced by people posting homophobic comments. It’s just heartbreaking and sickening. What the hell can we do?

Gay Bullying Victim Who Survived

Another gay teenager in another small town has killed himself—hope you’re pleased with yourselves, Tony Perkins and all the other “Christians” out there who oppose anti-bullying programs (and give actual Christians a bad name).

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.

So here’s what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.

I’ve launched a channel on YouTube—www ­.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don’t dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we’ve gone and things we’ve experienced—that we would’ve missed out on if we’d killed ourselves then.

“You gotta give ’em hope,” Harvey Milk said.

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.

The video my husband and I made is up now—all by itself. I’d like to add submissions from other gay and lesbian adults—singles and couples, with kids or without, established in careers or just starting out, urban and rural, of all races and religious backgrounds. (Go to www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject to find instructions for submitting your video.) If you’re gay or lesbian or bi or trans and you’ve ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, “Fuck, I wish I could’ve told him that it gets better,” this is your chance. We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them.

They need to know that it gets better. Submit a video. Give them hope.

mail@savagelove.net

So if you have a message you want to get through to our young people to give them hope for getting through their school experience, get a YouTube account and submit your video! -MsQueer

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. (Note: Quoted material from other authors and websites remains the property of the original authors. )

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A Word About Gay Teen Suicide and Someone Who Can Help…..
February 21, 2008

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst [all] young people 15 to 24 years of age.  It is the sixth leading cause of death amongst [all] children 5 to 14 years old.  According to the Center for Disease Control/Massachusetts Department of Education Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1999),  33% of gay youth will attempt suicide.  In fact, gay teen suicide attempts are four times that of heterosexual youth.” 

(sources: http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/emotios/behavior/suicide.html, http://privateschool.about.com/cs/students/a/teensuicide.htmTeenSuicide, http://gaylife.about.com/od/gayteens/a/gaysuicide.htm

Teenage years are crazy and emotionally charged enough with hormones racing through the bloodstream, urges coming over you like there’s no tomorrow, everyone’s expectations setting up seemingly impossible standards of questionable import , etc….add to that mix the confusion of questioning one’s sexual orientation and you have a recipe for disaster!

I can remember having feelings and attractions for my girl friends as early as elementary school. We’re talking the mid to late 1950’s here, folks — there were no campy TV shows like Queer as Folk or The L Word; there were no Ellen Degeneres’ or Rosie O’Donnell’s, or any of the countless other performers and celebrities who can serve as positive role models for youth today.

I grew up afraid of my feelings – and terrified to share what I was feeling and thinking for fear that if I did, I might be taken away from my parents (or sent away) and locked up somewhere forever! I grew up afraid of myself. I didn’t understand, and there was no place, no one, to go with my questions. Such was the pain, the shame.  In some ways, even with the visibility of “out” public personalities today, the pain and confusion can still be very real. And the stigma. Face it, you can walk by any playground in America and what is the favorite insult?  “Oh, he’s so gay” “She’s queer.”  (Elevate the playground to the workplace breakroom and the atmosphere can seem identical).

Gay kids get bullied, harassed and beaten routinely. Even if a kid is suspected of being gay .. you know, because of all those tell tale signs that mark a “queer” — they’re likely to come under fire. Peer insults and intent to hurt can be relentless. Confusion? If that’s all they’re feeling, they’re lucky. More often it leads to alienation and self-contempt. Nobody deserves to grow up under that kind of stigma.

Fortunately there is a 24/7 helpline that kids can call where they will receive confidential counseling from peers who understand.  This is the only such national helpline specifically to help gay and questioning youth. -MsQueer

Call 1-866-488-7386  (1-866-4-U-TREVOR)

Learn more about The Trevor Project:Trevor Project Queer As Folk PSA 
The TREVOR Trailer 
Here! Focus – The Trevor Project 
Ellen Degeneres Honored by The Trevor Projec t 


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