November is anti-bullying month. In 2010 there were a few high profile cases of gay teens committing suicide as a result of homophobic bullying both in school and in their communities in the USA. Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller uploaded a video on YouTube titled ‘It Gets Better.’ The aim of this video, as you may have guessed, was to encourage gay teens to hang in there, as it does get better.
From this sprang the It Gets Better Project, an international campaign that aims to communicate the ‘it gets better’ message to gay teens to give them hope. The It Gets Better Project also aims to inspire and bring about change, so that there is less homophobia, more tolerance and more acceptance of gay teens.
Celebrities have voiced support for the It Gets Better Project with the likes of Zachary Quinto and Adam Lambert making their own ‘it gets better’ videos.
Zachary Quinto in his emotional video said: ‘The are countless other teens and young adults that are struggling to find a sense of identify and belonging in a chaotic and often unforgiving world…and to you I say it gets better.’
Adam Lambert in his upbeat video said: ‘You have to be strong…and you have to pay attention to the positive… and in doing so you will push through and you will rise up and you will live your life to the fullest. It gets better but its up to you.’
President Obama, other American politicians and employees from the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Dell have added their videos. Employees and students from Universities, Sports Clubs and other institutions have added supportive videos.
Thousands of people have used their webcams, video editing software and internet connections to uploaded their own individual videos aiming to give hope to gay teens.
The success of the ‘It Gets Better Project’ has been phenomenal. Seth Levy, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the project says that they’ve had success, but recognises that there’s still much more work to be done:
‘The It Gets Better Project works globally to share message of hope with LGBT youth and to make things better for them. The Project has already had great success through its international efforts in the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and the Carribbean. We are now beginning to work in more regions where, at times, the circumstances for LGBT youth are especially challenging and LGBT-focused resources are scarce. Moldova has historically been such a place. We are very excited to have partnered with our local affiliate, Egali, to help improve things for LGBT youth in Moldova. ‘
To learn more about the It Gets Better Project, visit their website: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/ .
Published by: The Gay UK on Friday 8th November 2013.