I can’t even tell you how much I adore the It Gets Better Project campaign on Youtube, I think it’s one of the greatest effing things I’ve ever heard of, and if you haven’t heard of it get ready, because I’m about to blab your ear off.
The background for the IGBP is a sad one. A young kid, only fifteen years old, named Billy Lucas was the subject of intense and horrific bullying and harassment by his classmates with a homophobic small town mentality. They called him gay, fag, you name it, and repeatedly told him to kill himself. Which he did, by hanging himself in his grandmother’s barn. He was found by his mother.
When IGBP founder Dan Savage (author of the Savage Love column, which you need to read if you get a chance – I hope he’s going to John Stewart‘s Rally to Restore Sanity) heard this, he was deeply upset. He wished that he had been given the chance to speak with Billy for a few moments to let him know that this phase of torment does end, and life can be great – in other words, he wanted to let him know that it gets better. The problem is that homophobes in the school system and PTA would never allow something like that – to have a happy, well adjusted but openly gay man talk to kids about their lifestyle doesn’t sit well with them, and they’d likely not let the children take any advice even if it were able to be given.
But after all of this happened, instead of doing what many do and sitting on his thumbs Dan took matters into his own hands. He made a PSA wherein he explains to anyone who needs to listen that he’s living proof that it does get better. Only a few short months later and the movement is huge, over 100,000 public supporters including the likes of President Obama (video below) and a footlight parade of celebrities, as well as regular Joe’s making their own videos to try and reach out to not only LGBT but also to anyone who’s suffered from such awful bullying that they felt they couldn’t go on.
I can’t tell you how much I support this project, so much so that I’m considering making my own video and I’ve already taken the IGBP Pledge to continue to speak up against intolerance wherever I find it – I hope you do the same! Below are Dan Savage and his adorable guy Terry, and President Obama. If you can, please do make your own video or share your stories – or better yet, contribute to the cause. Dan, you’re my hero!