For those of you who have been living under a rock, the It Gets Better project started in late September 2010 when columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry posted a video on YouTube hoping to inspire GLBT youth facing bullying, in response to a slew of gay teenage suicide, that life does get better. The next thing you know, the video project has gone viral! We see various vigils, fundraisers, concerts, walks, etc. in support of the project. Personally, I started a weekly viewing of the It Gets Better postings every Saturday morning for some good cry and inspiration. Here are a couple of my favorites.
Currently I’m producing the Vancouver Men’s Chorus’ It Gets Better video (I’ll post it here when it’s done) and most of the responses I got from the guys were “That’s such a great cause” or “I’m all for it, when do we start?” but I also got some responses like “Uhm, isn’t that a bit too late?” and “That’s so last year”. That really got me thinking, is it so last year? Uhm… NO! See, the problem is that our culture is so fast to jump to supporting a cause or it is “cool” to post a video but we are forgetting the actual cause. We are losing lives, people! Just because teenage suicide isn’t being reported as often as it was in September it doesn’t mean that it has stopped! Gay bullying still happens in school! If we can save just ONE life, isn’t this a project worth continuing for?
When I was 15 my best friend came out to me. I was a questioning teenager who was one of the popular kids. I freaked out and bullied him in front of everyone at school. He became the school fag. Eventually, I accepted my sexuality and I had my own share of bullying from church and family. Karma’s a bitch. Years later, I apologized to my friend. We haven’t talked in over 5 years and I completely understand his reasons to refuse my apology, but what hurts me the most is the fact that I ruined his high school years and potentially his life. In October 2010, I found out that he had been a prostitute for years and died of drug overdose.
Since I graduated from high school 10 years ago I have grown into someone who believes in karma and I continue trying to make a difference in the world. Cliché but nonetheless it’s something that I want to do for the rest of my life. So, is It Gets Better totally last year? No. If I could tell my 15-year-old self anything, I would tell him to accept myself, accept life challenges, and be an inspiration to others. It’s never too late to post your video on www.itgetsbetter.org. Out athlete Gareth Thomas posted a video on January 4, 2011 and I am hopeful that this is a sign that the cause hasn’t been forgotten. As Harvey Milk says, “You gotta give ’em hope!”