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It Gets Better

Heartfelt thanks to those who are doing all they can to prevent more suicides due to bullying of gays, lesbians, and all others who are treated inhumanely because of differences.

I could write for days on this, but instead, I ask that you watch the following videos and share them with those who may need support.

Many thanks.

From Dan Savage (in the video above):

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

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 - It Gets Better Project — 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, "...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.

It Gets Better Project at YouTube.com

 
 

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Comments

This is a good message for ALL suicidal young people. As we get older, we get greater choice about the people we are surrounded by. Abusive co-workers? Change jobs! Abusive neighbors? Move! Kids don't really have these choices yet. Yet! But if they hang in there, they will soon enough.

I'd like to see another campaign to get adults to reach out to these kids. Parents, teachers and other adults who work with kids must know about this bullying. And it is cowardly to allow bullying to continue. If your child is so harassed by other kids that s/he is depressed and suicidal, for God's sake, rescue your child. Do not tolerate it for one minute. Move her/him to another school.

Thank you so much for your timely comments and promotion of the "It Gets Better" campaign on YouTube. We need to remember the Golden Rule: Treat others in the same way you would like to be treated - very simple yet very profound. Thanks again for your terrific newsletters - I always look forward to reading them. Radiant health to you and yours!

I am not an American, nor am I of the Third Gender. However, I support their right to live and love in their own way.

THank you for this, Dr. Kim.

Peace and Blessings to All.

Thanks so much for sharing this campaign. I hope it reaches a young person who needs to know that no matter whether you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend or neither, there are millions of people who will think you're perfect just the way you are.

 

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