LGBT activist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller have started a storytelling movement. The “It Gets Better Project” on YouTube, begun in response to the recent highly publicized series suicides of gay teenagers, has inspired hundreds of people to tell their stories on camera.
The concept is simple and very effective. Savage and Miller sat in front of a camera and started talking. They told about their awful experiences being bullied as teenagers, how it got so much better and about their lives together today.
Then they invited other people to send in their video testimonials. According to the October 9 Los Angeles Times, “Since Sept. 21, the channel has clocked more than 1.2 million views. More than 650 people young and old, gay and straight, religious and atheist, have submitted their own stories”.
Several celebrities have made videos telling their personal stories including Neil Patrick Harris, Kathy Griffin and the cast of Wicked. Ellen DeGeneres said that four teen suicides in a row should be considered a crisis and that this needs to be a wakeup call for all of us to help our teens.
You can go to the It Gets Better Project website where you can post your own video story.
There are several supportive communities on Facebook including the It Gets Better Project that quotes Harvey Milk, “You gotta give ‘em hope,” and the Make it Better Project. Even the White House is talking about teen suicide. From the official website, “Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett spoke at the annual national dinner of the Human Rights Campaign to directly address the recent tragedies surrounding youth who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”
This is an amazing example of the simple act of telling our stories being one of the best way to reach out to people.
If you are a teen being bullied or know one, reach out for help. In Tucson contact Eon, Wingspan’s youth program, 520-624-1779 ext 127 or email@example.com. Nationally visit The Trevor Project or call its national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth at 1-866-488-7386.