Gay high schoolers have a pretty rough go of it. Bullying, harassment, and feelings of isolation are all too common for a lot of gay teens, and many of them live in situations where they don't have access to queer-friendly organizations. Last week, a gay high school student in Indiana named Billy Lucas took his own life, reportedly because of the torment he experienced at the hands of his peers.
In response, Dan Savage and his husband Terry have launched the It Gets Better Project. Says Savage:
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.
The It Gets Better Project is a YouTube channel where older GLBTQ folks can speak to younger ones and let them know that life gets better after high school. Here's the first video from Dan and Terry:
The project has only been in existence for one day, and already there are dozens of other video testimonials. If you've got a message to share with LGBTQ youth, get thee to YouTube and upload your story! It's projects like this one that are giving hope to those who might otherwise feel hopeless.