Have you heard about Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project?
Upset by yet another gay young person committing suicide, Savage used his relationship column to call on gay adults to tell their stories and assure teens that if they can endure the persecution they’re experiencing, life will get better as adults.
There was so much I hated about high school. I wasn’t struggling with sexual orientation but I was a misfit and I feel like this message is pretty universal: kids can be so cruel, especially if you are different in any way, but eventually you’ll escape that high school pressure cooker. If you’re lucky, you’ll find your tribe, like I did when I met the other freaks and weirdos at Central.
Here’s Savage talking about it in his own words, and a few other examples of videos from the project.
“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…. 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.”