The It Gets Better Project has become a national phenomenon with celebrities, massive corporations like Google, and even the President speaking out with messages of hope to struggling LGBTQ youth. Many of the It Gets Better videos pull at heartstrings and provide inspiration for teens battling bullies, feeling alone, or contemplating suicide. The media frenzy surrounding It Gets Better has heightened attention to bullying, bringing the tragedy of the recent teen suicides to the forefront of public attention. It is vital that we don’t leave the action solely to our public figures, but that we all do our part to make It Get Better.
Columnist Dan Savage and his partner started this wave by posting their own heartfelt story on YouTube. In a New York Times interview published the day after, Savage explains that celebrities are “good folks and important public figures,” pointing out that, “what kids have a hard time picturing is a rewarding, good, average life for themselves.” Savage further emphasizes his point by explaining that while “becoming Ellen DeGeneres is like winning the lottery…there are a lot of happy and content lesbians we don’t see or hear from ever. Those are the people teens need to hear from right now.”
The words “It Gets Better” have spread like wildfire and a multitude of posts have saturated Facebook. There is a constant stream of celebrity It Gets Better Videos popping up, from Adam Lambert to Khloe Kardashian, Eve to Jake Shears, Cyndi Lauper to Nancy Pelosi, and the list goes on. While it is remarkable and commendable that notable figures are backing the cause, it is essential that we continue to make new videos that LGBTQ teens can relate to. Celebrities have been a catalyst for media attention, but they may not be the inspiration that will save a life. The lesbian doctor, gay attorney, or transgender software engineer sharing how they overcame and persevered are necessary stories that are integral to the success of It Gets Better.
We live in an amazing time, when everyone from the President of the United States to major celebrities are stepping up to the plate in defense of our LGBTQ youth. The tide is certainly changing, and I am so proud of the strides we have made as a country. But each of us can still do our part. If celebrities can come to our aid, every LGBTQ adult can take the time to commit his/her story to video or print. We must not forget that the It Gets Better Project is not about status or celebrity, but rather about one LGBTQ person sharing experience, strength, and hope with another that will ultimately save a life. In sharing, each of us will be doing our part to actually make it get better.