In response to the recent suicide of Billy Lucas, a fifteen-year-old Indiana teenager who was taunted for being gay, Dan Savage has launched a new initiative, the It Gets Better Project, to communicate to young gay kids that their lives are not hopeless despite the bigotry and hatred they may encounter in their communities and from their families and so-called friends. As Dan tells it:
"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 to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one.
Watch the beautiful, funny, touching, and hope-filled video above, and then go to the YouTube page and see how you can submit your own video message to gay kids. It will be noticed. It is necessary. Dan Savage quotes the man himself: "You gotta give 'em hope," Harvey Milk said.
It Gets Better Project (YouTube)