It Gets Better

This will be a long post today, please bear with me.

Last month Dan Savage and his partner started a YouTube project called It Gets Better.

After hearing yet another story of a young gay person committing suicide  after being bullied, and followed by four more within a month, Dan and his partner wished they could have just told them that it really does get better.  And then they realized that in this age of the internet, they (and we) can do just that.

The idea is for adults who faced homophobia and harassment as teens to post videos talking about life after high school. Hopefully it will help some kids out there get through what is often the hardest part of being gay.

Hundreds of diverse people – individuals, groups, celebrities, businesspeople, workers – have answered the call and have recorded their stories, and the youtube site has passed 2 million page views.  It has become so wildly successful that the youtube page created for uploading videos is the #1 most subscribed to channel this month, and has already reached its 650 video limit.  They have had to set up an “It Gets Better” website to help the project continue to grow.  Dan and the project have received worldwide media attention.

Of the hundreds of deeply moving videos I’ve chosen just a few to post here.  The rest, of course, can be seen on the website, and they are worth seeing.

A video from the streets of San Francisco:

Professor Stephen Sprinkle:

A group video by actors who are currently performing on Broadway:

Young Canadian Adamo Ruggiero:

Rock stars, TV stars, parents, schools, corporations.  Many mention the Trevor Project,  a 24-hr hotline and site to help LGBTQ youth cope with the stress and feelings of isolation.  Many have volunteered to support this site:

Fort Worth, Texas  Councilman Joel Burns has become a celebrity after this city council meeting was broadcast and immediately exploded into an internet sensation.  (I could say that I didn’t cry, but I’m not that good of a liar…)

GLAAD sent an offer of support, which the councilman accepted, and he is rapidly becoming a spokesperson against the bullying.

Keshet, a Jewish group whose mission is to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Jews are fully included in all parts of the Jewish community, has established The Jewish Community Pledge with the message  Do Not Stand Idly By, and to commit to ending homophobic bullying or harassment of any kind in our synagogues, schools, organizations, and communities.

As of October 15th, 3600 individuals and 450 organizations have signed the pledge.  Their goal is 18,000 signatories.

There is a drive in the public, and on facebook, to raise awareness of the whole issue tomorrow, October 20th.  People are being asked to wear the colour purple to work, and all during the day.    Lesbian author Karin Kallmaker has invited everyone to change their facebook profile to this badge tomorrow,  to show support for the Trevor Project.

Come on, people, let’s turn the world purple for one day.  The media has finally noticed that gay and lesbian children are dying.  From bullying, from harassment.  Let’s take it up a notch.  If we can save one kid’s life, we have saved a world.  If we can make one oblivious adult aware that bullying is not OK, that is it not just “kids being kids”, that it is not acceptable, that it’s a serious matter that must be taken care of, then we have made giant strides.

Actor Chris Colfer, whose gay character deals with the issue of bullying on the show glee:

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