It Gets Better

20 Oct

It’s no secret that I am a proud LGBT ally. Fighting for equal rights for the LGBT community is something I feel very strongly about. Treat all people equally, that’s the bottom line and that’s partially what drives me to support this cause. The main reason however, is that my life has been affected by many AMAZING LGBT individuals (I can’t even express this adequately in words. My best friends, my mentors, my co-workers- you know who you are and what you mean to me). They’ve been there for me through the worst and best parts of my life, and it kills me to think that they don’t have the same rights that I do as a heterosexual female.

LGBT teenagers cannot express their sexually for fear of being bullied and isolated and disowned by family and friends. Later in life, they fear discrimination in the workplace. And worst of all- if they find that one person who they want to be with for the rest of their life, they are not able to express it in the same ways as straight individuals. Now this isn’t the case for all LGBT individuals, but the fact that it happens at all just breaks my heart.

Here’s some statistics for you:

  • 9 out of 10 LGBT students have experienced harassment at school.
  • LGBT teens are bullied 2 to 3 times as much as straight teens.
  • More than 1/3 of LGBT kids have attempted to commit suicide.
  • LGBT kids are 4 times as likely to attempt suicide then our straight peers.
  • LGBT youth with “highly rejecting” families are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them.

That’s why when I first heard about the “It Gets Better Project,” I got goosebumps. The “project” began as a YouTube channel started by Dan Savage this past September in response to recent suicides commited by LGBT youth. Savage said that he founded the project because he wished he could have told the victims that as hard as life is growing up as an LGBT teen, eventually things get easier and better. In an article in the New York Times, Savage explained that he gives talks at colleges regularly, but not at middle schools or high schools where kids are often most in need of help. “I would never get permission,” he said, blaming a system of “parents, preachers and teachers” who “believe they can terrorize gay children out of being gay as they grow up.” His realization was this: “I was waiting for permission that — in the era of YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook — I didn’t need anymore.”

The YouTube channel had over 200 videos uploaded in its first week, and by the end of the second week it was up to 650 videos all featuring messages from gay and straight adults (including some celebrities). All of the videos deliver  the same previously unheard and all important message: IT GETS BETTER.

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.

Dan Savage-Founder of It Gets Better

Secretary of State- Hilary Clinton

Adam Lambert

Tim Gunn

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